Suave Sleek Shampoo and Conditioner Review

1 Comment

Since when did shampoo and conditioner get so expensive? I don’t mean to sound like a cheapskate, but I remember the days when the “really awesome” designer shampoos were about $10, “pretty good” shampoos were about $3, and “I smell good but don’t do much for you” shampoos were 79 cents. (Where is the cent sign on my computer?? You know, the sign that looks like a C with a line through it…Is nothing less than a dollar anymore?) I digress…it seems now that “really awesome” shampoos can cost around $30, and the cheap ones have gone up the ladder to the $2 and $3 ranges. Maybe because nobody can find the cent sign on their computers anymore…they have to make them cost more. I’m sure that’s not the reason, but it’s an interesting theory.

I bought Suave Sleek Shampoo and Conditioner from Target for about $3 each. Maybe they were $2.50. I’m not really sure. I looked at so many different shampoo options while I was there that I can’t remember the price of what I actually bought. But I’m sure it didn’t use the cent sign…

I tried out the duo in the shower tonight and….amazing! I was able to comb through my badly damaged hair without any problem! Why is my hair badly damaged, you may ask? Because I’m addicted to straight ironing it. I’m a straight iron addict. Since I’ve gotten past the stage of denial now, I am on the road to recovery. Well…maybe.

With this “Sleek” new shampoo and conditioner, I may not need to use the straightener on my hair as much. Sadly, when you have fried your hair to a crisp, it looks better if you keep frying it straight. Otherwise, your hair is dry, damaged, frizzled AND waving all over the place. At least by straightening it, the hair appears to be a little less out of control. And so, it’s a vicious cycle.

Ah yes, I’m supposed to be writing about this fantastic shampoo and conditioner. Well, it’s really good. It smells nice and clean – not too fruity or flowery. The smell is more on the “fresh” side. I would call it “soapy” smelling, but that sounds like a bad thing. And it’s not a bad smell. Tons of aroma doesn’t emanate from my hair after it’s dry, but that’s ok. My deodorant is scented. My laundry detergent is scented. My perfume is obviously scented. My lip gloss….you get the idea. I’m just one walking scent-bomb. As long as the shampoo doesn’t smell bad it’s not an issue.

So, my review….it’s good stuff for straight-haired people struggling with tangles. And under $3. Yay!

Change of Focus

No Comments

I had so many interesting things I wanted to write about this week. However, the only thing I can think about at the moment is my little angel sleeping next to me. It’s so strange. I had so many thoughts about interesting blog topics…but then when I sit down to write them, everything fades away. And all I’m left with is the constant thought of her. Maybe it’s because I am slightly anxious that at any moment she may wake, and then I will have to click “Move to Trash” on this blog, as I have with so many other entries this month. I used to save my drafts…but that made my website’s homepage a wreck, so I decided it’s either “Publish” or “Trash” with no in-between.

Baby Zoey is about 4 1/2 months old now. She has grown so much in these past months…it’s unbelievable. The whole process of growing a human being is pretty amazing in itself. I remember very clearly the feelings that overwhelmed me that first week with her. I had seen her on ultrasounds almost every week as she developed – it wasn’t like I didn’t know there was a baby inside me. I could feel her kicking me, responding to my music and the music my students played on the piano. I was fully aware that there was a little person growing inside of me. But it wasn’t until she came out that this feeling of “oh wow” took over. I mean…inside my body, there was only me…and then from one of my eggs and her daddy’s “seed”…another whole human being was formed! That is SO cool!

I have a newfound respect for my body now. Before this experience, I spent more time cursing my body for not being perfect than admiring all of the cool things it does without my conscious mind ever controlling it. My body formed this little human being…this perfect little person. My body knew when she was ready to be born, and began the process of labor to bring her out of the womb. And even when I thought “I don’t think I can do this” in the middle of it all…my body proved me wrong. It was nothing special that my brain did. Usually, my mind is the stronger of the forces…I’m a musician, a songwriter, an artist. Not an athlete.  I like to work with my mind and my hands, and the rest of my body is usually just there to provide a base for clothing and to transport my mind from one place to another. But…this time, my body showed me that it is of use too…and the stuff it can do far outweighs my brain’s ability to make my fingers play diminished 7th chords in 2nd inversions.  The birth of Zoey was like a spiritual awakening and realization of just how amazing and precious life is. I’m not saying that every person on earth’s sole purpose for being here is to bring another person into the world. But at this moment, being Zoey’s mother is the most defining characteristic about me.

And so, it seems funny now that I have written so much music about tragic love, partying, heartbreak and cat fights with girlfriends. I don’t regret those 200+ songs that all seem to fall into one of those categories. They tell a story of where I’ve been, like a photograph in time. And oddly, as soon as that first album was completed, a new chapter of my life had begun – a chapter that included this new little character, Zoey.

It seems that many of my songs now are about and for her. I haven’t been writing as many songs now – probably 1 or 2 a week – but the feeling is so different to write songs about where I am at right now rather than where I have been. I treasure my old songs, and I believe in their quality. I worked hard arranging instrument parts and revising the lyrics over and over again, and I feel excited about presenting them to the world because they are my best songs thus far.  But these new songs, they are something from deeper in my heart. A place where the lyrics need no revision, and I don’t need layers and layers of instruments to show any technical mastery. Most of them I “wrote” in my head while caring for Zoey. They have become our everyday songs that I sing to her while we are playing/eating/bathing etc.

As I said…I have so many interesting things to write…but for now, this little one is the most important of all.

Opinions…Everybody Has One

No Comments

You know the riddle: Everybody has one…and some of them stink. (Opinions) During my recent visit back home to Indiana, the preacher’s sermon on sunday was about opinions – and how as faithful people we should look to the Bible for our answers rather than the internet. While I appreciate his opinion…the Bible doesn’t say much about breastfeeding, getting your child to sleep through the night, or what to expect in the first week of life. After having my first baby, I’ve done a lot of searching Google for various reasons – Why is my baby crying? Should I co-sleep? When should baby (insert skill set here; hold a bottle, crawl, roll over, smile, laugh).  What I’ve found is that everyone has a lot of opinions. While one person will passionately advocate for the benefits of co-sleeping, another will say that it’s a risk for SIDS. Breastfeeding is a very heated debate among women. Many doctors and “experts” say that “it’s rare for women to suffer from low milk supply”. But then if you research “increase milk supply”, you find many women who are trying to do just that – and of course, a plethora of opinions about how to achieve it.

I’ve been baby-wearing Zoey nearly every day for the past 2 months. Baby-wearing is the practice of putting your little one in a sling or other carrying device and taking them along with you everywhere you go. This doesn’t work for everyone. Some mothers have back problems because of it, some babies hate it, and there is also a community of moms of the opinion that it neglects the child’s development of independence. I was told by some that it is “great” and that I’m “spoiling the child” by others. Baby-wearing worked for us until the hot weather of summer came along and we both found it uncomfortable to be wrapped up with so much extra fabric.

When an opinion is directed toward a specific person, it is called advice. . . .

The musical crowd of today is more opinionated than ever. I recently went to a music conference in Lancaster, PA where they played songs that were submitted and the panelists discussed whether the song “sucked” or not. In their opinion, most of the songs did suck. Their reasons were sometimes very technically sound, and other times based upon personal preferences. Music is one of those artistic expressions that begets preference and opinion from its audience. You develop into a listener who likes certain sounds and has certain expectations for songs that you listen to in order for them to be accepted into your realm of what you find enjoyable. Even if one person hates what you are creating, another person will find it to be wonderful.

I’ve read so many independent artists’ T shirts, comics and bumper stickers that “bash” on the popular music of today that I’ve finally begun to see how silly it is. Most of what they say about the popular music of today is true – “It’s all autotuned.” ..Well yes, it is. Vocals are edited on every commercial release of every genre of music released after 1990. They have been tuning vocals for years, and the technology has gotten so good that even LIVE autotune is affordable for everyone. If you are reading this, you probably have an opinion about whether this is good or bad use of technology. It’s a heated topic.

They also say of today’s pop music – “It all sounds the same.” ..Right again. That’s the idea of music fitting into a specific genre. It has characteristics that make it similar to other songs of the same genre. You could say that all classical music sounds the same, and all rock music sounds the same, and all techno music sounds the same…because in some way, they do.

I hear this a lot – “The stuff they are playing on the radio is crap.” What an opinion! If all music is just self-expression, can we really call one song “crap” and another song “art”? You could say that the major label artists aren’t choosing songs that focus on self-expression but rather making money…but isn’t that also a reflection of self? (See Madonna’s Material Girl) …

The bottom line…whether the musical opinions are right or not, is that everyone has an opinion. As a musician, it is your own opinion that matters most. Don’t let the opinions of others prevent you from making your own choices.

This goes double for parenthood.

Teaching Children How To Play The Piano

No Comments

I have been teaching private piano lessons for the past 8 years or so… I am often asked what my techniques are for teaching children this seemingly difficult instrument. I always reply that our focus is on the areas of repertoire, theory, and technique. This is partly true. But I think parents are REALLY asking me how I plan to motivate their easily-distracted little angel to practice and therefore learn to play the piano. If the question were worded so bluntly as that, I would answer just as bluntly. Bribery.

That’s right…children often operate on a system of trade-offs, commonly called “bribery” in adult dialect.

When I was younger, my teacher had a system in place where if the student couldn’t play the assigned piece perfectly, then you would not “pass” that song…and you would not get a sticker. I loved stickers! I wanted very much to have a sticker…..and even more to have my entire music book FILLED with stickers. I worked very hard for each of those stickers, from “The Merry Farmer” to “Fur Elise” and beyond. I spent agonizing hours at the piano fumbling over the same few notes in songs and growing ever more frustrated.

Now that I’m grown, I still have a fondness for stickers, but I love playing my piano much, much more.

Categories: Music Blogs

The Naming and Renaming of Songs

No Comments

After doing my weekly research of the Top 40 Chart for this week, I started thinking about song-naming. Most of the songs on the top 40 were fairly easy to find in YouTube. You just type the song name and sometimes the first part of the artist’s name and Voila, the song is there in YouTube’s drop-down list of the most searched phrases. This was true for most of the songs for this week’s Top 40…except Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are”, which has the same title as a very popular Billy Joel song. When I first saw it on the list, I even thought it might be a remake of the popular song – but no, it is a very different song. A likable one.

At first, I was under the impression that an artist should try to find a unique song name so that when people search for it they can easily find it. But what about all of those other people that will just “bump into” your song because they are searching for the other song? That’s something to think about. Maybe they will click on your YouTube link because they think it will be a cover version of their favorite song…and find that it is YOUR song…and maybe they will LOVE your song! Maybe. Or maybe they will be disappointed that it wasn’t what they thought it was and close the browser, giving you 1 extra “play” on your counter, but not bringing you any closer to the sale of a CD.

It’s a tough decision to make…does it HELP or HURT a song to have the same title as a much more famous song by a much more famous artist?

Categories: Uncategorized