Monday, December 15, 2014

Trying to grow some hair-- applying new Women's ROGAINE Foam

Sooo... If you read my last post, you now know that I'm working with The List South Florida TV show as they follow along to find out if new Women’s ROGAINE Foam with 5% minoxidl will work for me.

A no-makeup selfie?! Phew, I'm keeping it really REAL here!! Hope this doesn't frighten you away, but I wanted you to see what a fresh application of the product looks like. It does not drip... It's kind of almost like a mousse. The foam dissolves into the hair, and when I wake up my strands are a little crunchy-- just like a mousse. I can brush it out and the product disappears. Love that. 

DISCLAIMER: Rogaine is providing me with the product for free in exchange for my honest review, and for publicizing my results with The List. Do I hope the product really works? Yes-- not because the company wants it to work, but because *I* want thicker hair!!!

The List went with me as I met with a dermatologist whose name is totally escaping me as I type this blog post on my cell phone... All I remember is that she is really knowledgable, super nice -- and she gives good sound bites, lol! TV newsies know what I mean! ;)

She asked about my hair loss history, and I told her there have been times, even fairly recently, when I would be shampooing my hair and so many strands would come out, it was practically clumps. My husband did me a favor this weekend and cleaned my shower for me... Hope this isn't TMI, but he said it looked like I killed someone in the shower by banging their head against the wall until all their hair fell out! 

Ok, I'm totally giggling remembering that-- and he and I shared a genuine laugh at the silly moment-- but it's definitely no laughing matter when I look in the mirror and see straight to my scalp. 

The dermatologist recommended I get blood work done, which I did today. When I go back for my routine physical in a couple of weeks, I'm going to ask for (per her advice) that they test me for alopecia. She also said hormones can play a role in hair loss, and she said perhaps hormones are a reason I always struggle with acne-- even though I'm in my 30's! 

She also explained that my level of hair loss is about a 2 or a 3, and the chart goes up to 10. That made me feel better. Hate to say I felt ENCOURAGED when she showed me the chart, but it did put into perspective that my problem could be sooo much worse. I can easily mask my thin hair, and even when I don't bother, most people probably wouldn't really look at my hair and say "Oh, that girl is going bald."

To grow hair, I have two months until February sweeps, when this story airs nationwide. Yep, you read that right-- I'm sharing my balding head with the nation-- and that feels really quick to try to grow some noticeable hair. Will it be the proudest moment of my life when this story airs? Not really, but I keep reminding myself that somebody has to show the struggle for more people to be inspired to figure out ways to deal with it. So this is me laying it all out there. :) I'm feeling optimistic.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Living with Thinning Hair: AKA "Fighting the Good Fight"

I remember the first time I felt self-conscious about the thinness of my hair. It was back in my Miss Louisiana beauty pageant competition days, when I was up against girls with naturally luscious, full locks. My mother eventually invested more than $600 in a set of Great Lengths extensions to give me more volume—but even that did not mask the thinness on my actual scalp.

Thick ponytail full of extensions— but still thin at the scalp part-line

Growing up as a young girl, it was hard not to compare that my older sister had a very large amount of hair. Her ponytail thickness was about three times the size of mine!

I was probably wondering why I was born a bald-headed baby

When I became a news anchor in my hometown NBC affiliate at KTVE, I felt even more pressure to look my best. My mother, who commiserated with me about having thin hair, would call me after I finished a morning show to say, “Your scalp is shining through on camera. Put some makeup on your head.” So I figured out that using an eyeshadow brush to apply MAC “carbon” black eyeshadow on my hair part-line was a simple, effective method to hide the thinness.

I figured highlights would make my hair look thicker, so I tried that in the anchoring days

Eventually, I became a client of a laser center in West Monroe, Louisiana, where a hugely magnifying scalp camera proved that I DID sprout baby hairs when I used men’s Rogaine foam plus sat under a special laser-for-your-scalp chair for 30 minutes three times a week. I was thrilled, especially since my mother had paid $1,000 for the therapy! My mom was the one who had urged me to go, because she was tired of seeing me struggle with washing and drying my clip-in hair extensions for when I anchored.

You can see where the hair extensions didn't blend with my natural hair on my wedding day

It was there at the laser center that I also began to use Toppik, which covers your scalp with keratin hair fibers. I still use that product to this day to mask the thin spots, and I also will use Joan Rivers’ hair makeup, as well. Toppik is quicker to apply, but more expensive. I also learned to take Biotin supplements, and I still have them as part of my daily vitamins dose. I even bought my own mini hair laser, but I have not been that great about keeping up using it regularly.

I would have kept it all up after the success of sprouting new hair at the laser center, but—I got married and moved away! With the stress of starting a new job in a new city with a new marriage, I let my hair regimen fall by the wayside. So for years now, I have been struggling with this thin hair issue—and I’m ready to tackle it, literally by the roots, as I begin a new regimen using new Women’s ROGAINE Foam with 5% minoxidl. I already love the product and have been religiously applying it to my scalp every day. :)

A typical hair day—after a thorough styling routine, including four different hair products, blow drying with four different round brushes, and finally teasing for volume

PROS of the new Women's ROGAINE FOAM with 5% minoxidl:
--Easy to use! 
--Does not show up in your hair so you can literally put it on your head and walk out the door -- this is my FAVORITE THING about this product
--Does not drip, like the previous women's product did because it was so watery
--You only have to apply it once per day! With the old formula, you had to apply it twice per day

--Takes a bit of time to work, you can't just magically sprout hair overnight -- you ain't a Chia Pet!
--A dermatologist told me that once you start using the product, if you want to maintain your results you can never stop using it... but I don't know about you, I want to have hair forever! ;) 

Disclosure: I'm working with The List TV Show South Florida as they follow along with my journey using this product-- hopefully it works! 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

"Zippy," my smart car, is representing! #SmartCarLove

I have been driving my smart car ForTwo Passion Cabriolet since my mom and I picked it out brand new in 2009. I remember the first time I drove it to work, back in my morning anchor days at KTVE in Monroe, Louisiana. The morning show's meteorologist at the time, Jarod Floyd (who's actually now anchoring there), teased me, "You do realize you're driving a roller skate?" I recall how the engineers were SO EXCITED about my smart car. They really wanted to take it apart, LOL!

After we bought it, I nicknamed it Zippy. I still love driving my smart. It's small and easy to park, plus it's a convertible-- so it works out well for sunny South Florida. Also, I truly believe people are nicer to me on the road!

It actually costs about half the amount in gas that it takes when I drive my husband's Chevy Captiva Sport (like a small SUV). Although I wish Zippy had cruise control, I think it's great for any drive that's an hour or less. I joke that it's the more affordable version of a Mercedes-Benz, since the company manufactures smarts.

I was proud to be featured by the Palm Beach Post in this article: "Driving Smart and Helping Animals," in which I talked about how I first came to own my smart car. I tweeted that article with a shout-out to smart USA, and the next thing I knew-- the company contacted me and asked if I would like to be featured in the "owners stories" on their website. 

Of course I said yes-- I really do love the car! So this is what you see when you click the smart USA website's owner stories section.  

This opportunity also allows me to promote my employer, the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society, and our carbon fuel reduction initiative. This photo featured on the smart car website was actually taken INSIDE the Zoo in our Tropics of the Americas section.

We have been encouraged to commute to work through carpooling, biking, walking, etc. Zippy and I have driven a zookeeper and another coworker to work. Our overall Zoo goal is to reduce our harmful emissions, and we have collectively saved more than 785 gallons of fuel, traveled more than 4,000 miles without using any fuel at all, and made more than 2851 eco-friendly acts. I am glad that as a vehicle, Zippy is ahead of the curve in saving gas!

I tweet about Zippy all the time, having fun and posting where I park easily, or if I'm having an adventure.

I'm definitely looking forward to many more adventures and miles driven in my mostest-favoritest car ever! YAY ZIPPY!!!

Palm Beach'in' it

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My friend bought me a Lilly!

Although I agree that "it is more blessed to give than receive," it's undeniable that getting a gift can feel great. That was proven to me today, when I was over the moon for a super-thoughtful present from one of the nicest people ever.


Here is my reaction face, after immediately putting it on... I literally could not even wait to go upstairs to try it!

Now Mogwai's Lilly collar can match at least ONE of my outfits! He fully approves. Too bad he sat on the dress and I had to shoo him off. "Don't you dare get dog hair on the Lilly! No treats for you if you do!"

Rikki Klaus is a friend I count myself lucky to have, who has been a great role model for me with her kind spirit and positive attitude, even when she faces adversity. I'm proud of her -- I literally just wrote then deleted an entire paragraph about how amazing of a person she is, and this post is supposed to be about her gift instead of her resume, LOL. Although I do want to mention that she is currently reporting and even anchoring in a top 20 news market... I just have to leave that in. 'Cuz that's a big deal, y'all. :) 

And WHAT a gift she blessed me with! As much as I love Lilly Pulitzer style, I have never purchased a "Lilly" (iconic shift dress) because I just couldn't justify the cost. "Children are still starving in the Philippines, so my money would be better spent on them," I would rationalize, despite the secret hankering to wear one of those dresses so I could pretend to be an affluent Palm Beach socialite, just like Lilly Pulitzer herself. 

I could go on and on, but I do want to say that it's not about the actual gift-- though goodness knows it's obvious that I adore it and am super-excited for it. What overwhelmed me was that the extravagant, sweet gesture was so well-thought out. Rikki and I have had many discussions about how much we love Lilly, and she even kindly stopped me from purchasing a yellow Lilly at a gently-used shop because it was too snug ("I'm a size 8! No, really, the 8 fits! Um, I'll breathe later..."). She knows how much I enjoy the designs, but she is also aware that I'm highly unlikely to get my own. So the fact that she got me this present just makes me beyond grateful!

Rikki does everything with flair, even just writing a simple note, and gift-giving is no exception. Last year, I was also so happy because she got me a book I had been admiring, as well as other books that were clearly targeted toward my interests, PLUS a peplum shirt that I still wear to this day. I always tell her how much I like peplums, so she paid attention and remembered that. She obviously puts so much thought and love into her presents, and that can't be measured by a price tag.

I am just glad and grateful that she is my friend, I would never need any gift other than that. But I will admit -- you can expect to see me wearing this dress in some future #LillySelfies. :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Foray into photography -- from Clematis Street to Worth Avenue

I finally caved in and purchased a 50mm 1.8 lens for my mom's Nikon D90, which I've been using at the Zoo for several months. I'm more of a point-and-shoot, just-wanna-take-pretty-pictures kind of photographer, and so far I've been able to avoid having to understand f-stops and the ISO system. I've checked out books, read websites, asked photography friends and watched YouTube videos. Right now I'm reading Digital SLR Photography All-in-One For Dummies, which is somewhat of a beast at nearly 700 pages.

But everything started coming together in my head today, when the Zoo's events manager explained, explained and explained again the correlations. There was a lot of bracketing going on (when you take several shots of the same subject using different camera settings), and it helped me to better understand how to achieve the look I want.

I sent myself on an excursion to the Palm Beach Photographic Centre to purchase a protective filter for my new-to-me 50mm lens, and I also enjoyed visiting the National Press Photographers Association's BEST of PHOTOJOURNALISM 2014 exhibition. Those were some amazing photos on display! Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of the pictures, but I highly recommend you check it out if you are in South Florida.

Here I'm sharing some photos of Clematis Street, which is billed as the "historic heart of West Palm Beach."
 Who else loves the trolley busses decorated with marine life?
 'Cuz it's my favorite... get that wheatgrass, y'all!

Next, I wanted to try some beach scenes, so I went to the extravagant, iconic Worth Avenue on Palm Beach. 
 Time for the beach shots!
Zippy is a happy beach car, and says "Thanks for stopping by this blog!"

Monday, September 15, 2014

2-ingredient easy coconut cake! (4 ingredients iced)

I got on a horn and decided that, by golly, I was going to bake a cake. So I whipped open my cookbook from Our Lady of Fatima Church in Monroe, LA (where I used to be the organist) and consulted some recipes. 
Is it just me, or do church cookbooks have better recipes?! #SoCountry

The coconut cake recipe that I had all the ingredients for only called for four total ingredients, with just two for the cake itself. Sounded like it matched my level of culinary expertise.
Box of cake mix + can of coconut milk = cake
Container of Cool Whip + coconut flakes = frosting

Oh, and let us have a sad throwback shout-out to the coconuts left over from a friend's brunch, when we all discovered that her backyard palm tree was overflowing with the goodies -- too bad we've let them go to rot!
This is why we can't have nice things

Anyway, forging ahead with my recipe... you blend a box of cake mix with a can of coconut milk. 
I can work that mixer, ya heard?!

Then you bake it at 350 degrees for 25 minutes... and out comes a delicious, perfect cake!

You're supposed to let it fully cool, but unfortunately I was impatient and wanted to EAT IT. So I stuck it in the freezer, which helped but didn't fully cool it since I only left it in there for 10 minutes. #TimeToFeedTheFatKid
 Top it with Cool Whip and coconut flakes to dress it up...

This is the easiest-ever coconut cake recipe! I ended up sharing mine with my neighbor Michelle. If you knew how much of this cake I ate by myself tonight... *shakes head* It's bad juju. But the recipe is good!!! YUMMY!