I am going to Vegas….Worman Style!

I am heading to Vegas to meet 4 of my college girlfriends and to celebrate the Year of the 40!  Good times will be had by all and there will definitely be lots of eating, drinking, dancing and laughing. Everything will be in excess! Which is all Vegas Style, right?!

Vegas is the land of excess.  It’s full of non stop lights, sounds and sights. It’s an overload for your senses.  There are  All You Can Eat Buffets, restaurants which are open 24 hours, lights that never shut off, lights that flash, ringing sounds, dinging sounds, thumpin’ music, rotating doors, spinning doors, elevators, and escalators and the list goes on….  The place is just on fire!

I have mixed feelings about  Vegas….. America’s Crazyville, America’s Place of Indulgence and in my opinion, One of America’s Most Wasteful Places. Yes, I realize I am participating in this waste and supporting Vegas with my cash.  This isn’t my first rodeo either.  This will be # 4.  #1 was when I got married to my Carlos!  #2 was a get away with my Carlos and #3 was another get away with my Carlos.  My Carlos loves VEGAS!

This visit will be a bit different for me.  Of course, I am going to party my butt off, but I am also going there with a mission….a Worman Mission.  I am going to record a few things…things like trash cans and restaurants.  I may even ask the hotel manager how much they pay for utilities and if they compost!  lol….Geez, I can’t even begin to imagine the cost to keep the lights on and the water running!  Now, I am really curious and really excited to get my butt there!  Wooohoo!  30 min and ticking, dinging and ringing………

One step at a time

I am not a girly, girl for sure.  I have my moments where I dress up and put on some extra make-up, wear some heels and go out on the town.  For the most part though, my daily make-up routine consists of some blush and mascara.  If I am going out to dinner, I may add some lip gloss and a touch of eyeliner and call it good.  Honestly, I don’t know how to wear makeup and frankly I don’t care too much for it!  It takes time and a steady hand to put it on, and it takes a lot more time to get it off.

Oddly though, I love the spa.  At first, I could take it or leave it, but after my facial at Jinsei Spa I crave it often!!!! Jinsei is literally right down the hill and within walking distance. In September, I finally used my facial gift certificate from my super loving Carlos and kids.  They were so awesome and gave me this treat for my birthday in June.  I was holding off until the kids went back to school so I could spend a lot of extra time enjoying the amenities without having to rush to pick them up or drop them off.   I arrived about 30 minutes before my appointment and was escorted to the locker room.  I changed into a super, comfy robe and headed to the steam room.  That was heaven and definitely a mind and skin cleanse. After about 15 min, I drank some delicious cucumber and lemon water in the Relaxation Room while waiting for my facial person to arrive.  The music was calm and the lights were dim.  I was truly relaxed. Summer arrived and we strolled to the facial room.  Boy, when she opened the room, the aroma was delightful. Again, I was in heaven and wondered, “Why don’t I do this more often?…then I answered myself “Cause it costs a lot of $$”

I hopped up on the super, comfy massage table and assumed my position. Summer began by shinning a bright ass light on my face to do her pore examination.  She then asked, “What types of products do you use?”  I started to laugh inside and began my quick internal monolog “Products?! I don’t use products” …..I then told Summer I use Ivory Soap and body lotion.  She took the news really well and schooled me on those products and of course recommended the Arcona line.  Internal monolog…..”yeah, yeah, I am sure this costs a butt load of money.  I am fine with my 99% pure Ivory Soap and Oatmeal lotion”.

But as she started her facial routine, I noticed she was taking some time on my cheeks and schnozzzz.  She told me she was going to do some extractions to unglogg my pores.  Not that I have zits or anything, but I have noticed the pores on my nose were rather large.  As she was squeezing the heck out of my nose and as tears were streaming down my face, she explained what was going on.  Basically, the soap has dried my skin and the lotion has clogged my pores.  She recommended the “Arcona Basic Five for Normal Skin”.  She explained all of the ingredients, but unfortunately there are too many for me to remember so I copied this directly from the website…..

We believe everyone’s skin can and should look beautiful at any age regardless of their history. We believe lasting beauty comes from within and understand that whatever you put on your skin, goes into your body. Therefore, we use only the finest quality, all natural ingredients in products that penetrate deep into the cellular layers of the skin to effect real change, resulting in glowing, healthy skin at any age. We at ARCONA are dedicated to offering the highest quality, most effective skin care for both home and professional use. Enzymatic-based ingredients in ARCONA products include high concentrations of antioxidants, plant lipids and extracts, sea vegetables, essential oils, vitamins and minerals. Our ingredients are processed and products manufactured according to state-of-the-art, chirally correct technology. ARCONA products do not contain petrochemicals, binders or fillers, chemical stabilizers, parabens, sodium lauryl sulphates, perfumes, dyes, or any other caustic, toxic ingredients. There is no scientific evidence that such additives support more than a brief, cosmetic change in the skin, and there is proof that these substances clog the pores and block the restoration of healthy, balanced skin.

After she completed the facial, I got myself dressed and met her in the lobby.  During that time, I debated about the Arcona line…..”should I or shouldn’t I?, yes or no?…is it worth $80?..is my skin worth $80? Yes it is!”  So I decided to go for it!   Well now after using this product for 4 months, I am hooked!  I love the aroma, the routine and the results.  My skin does look clearer and my pores less clogged!  I am happy to recommend this product because there are no parabens, dyes, or perfumes. I am trying to embrace a more natural lifestyle with my household and food products.  I have also embraced the fact that I am somewhat of a girly, girly when it comes to my facial cleansers.  I am willing to spend the time on the routine to make my skin smoother and my pores less clogged.

What are VOCs?

Little a loves to paint, sew, draw, cut, glue, run, skip, hop, sing, skate, snowboard, twirl, run, skip, hop, paint, sew, paint, run, bike, and paint some more.  She could possibly do all of these activities in one day.  No joke, this kid is on fire every single day of her life.  She has more energy in that little body than….I will sound a bit cliche here…but more than the Energizer Bunny!  So for a while now she has asked to paint her room.  We finally dove into the project a week ago and are still doing some minor touch ups.  We let her have full reign of the colors…not one color but two.  Carlos, the creative one, has a Pantone color book and let Little a flip through to pick her color.  She decided on a very, very bright blue and green!  I kept my mouth SHUT.  They left to get the supplies while I moved the furniture.  I had confidence in her selection because she’s Little a, the mini creative one!

They came home rather quickly with a bunch up supplies.  I realized they went to the local hardware store rather than the mega one.  Carlos was pleased to show me his selection of paint.  Pure Performance by Pittsburgh (Go Steelers…was rooting for the Jets..NY baby…but went to Penn State so will support the Steelers) Paints is in their line of Ecological Solutions.  I was happy to see this because painting stinks, and sometimes the smell gives me a terrible headache.  As you can see on the can, there are Zero Vocs and minimal odor.  So off they went to tackle the room.  Little a was so excited she could barely talk.  Carlos told me later, while painting she said, “Dad, I am so happy to have you!”  Dang that little girl can grab your heart and squeeze it!

Max and I worked on the closet doors in the garage (even those were painted!)  While in the garage, we listened to some music and chatted about Science and paint and video games and Science and molecules and video games and the song on the radio and video games.  Max loves video games!! I love Max!

The room wasn’t completed that night so Ana got to sleep on the camping mattress on the floor in our bedroom.  She was cool with that!  The next day while the kids were at school, Carlos and I finished the room!  It looks cool!  The walls are blue and there are green shapes on one wall…..pictures to follow.  I actually love it sooooo much!

So…..What are VOCs and what’s the deal?  VOCs are Volatile Organic Compounds!  Yuck that sounds awful.  I did some research and this is taken directly from the EPA’s website…

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors.  VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands. Examples include: paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper, graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers, and photographic solutions.

The website lists the side effects in more detail but basically it effects your eyes, nose and throat and can make you dizzy.  Check out the site.

Some paints are plant based and all natural.  I’m not completely sure about Pure Performance.  It is made from 100% Acrylic Latex.  Doing the research on line, a lot of the sites mention the resin within the latex could be plant based and some say they are synthetic so I am still researching this fact…..very vague.  I would highly recommend this paint not only for the low odor and no VOCs, but for it’s high quality!  It covers well and cleans up without a problem.

What if I have mites?

See the white specks on the decomposing leaf?  They are mites. Mites are part of the decomposition cycle and are also members of a worm bin, too. They will not harm the Red Wigglers as long as there isn’t an explosion in their population. Mites feed on decaying matter and are usually found on the surface but may go deeper depending on where the food is located.

Cause: Typically an explosion is a result of too much food and possibly too much moisture.  This usually occurs on the surface where the food scraps are placed.  If there is an explosion in the mite population, the Red Wigglers will avoid the food and move to another area in the bin.  I usually see an explosion of mites when I put in too many cantaloupe rinds.  The Red Wigglers can’t handle the amount of scraps and the mites take over.  If that happens, then the Red Wigglers will not be able to get the food and may starve.

Treatment: If there are too many mites in your bin, then you’ll want to make some changes.  I suggest doing one or maybe all of these ideas.

1)  Remove the food source where the explosion is occurring.  Usually it will be covered in mites to the point where you can barely see the food.  I would toss it into your yard or bury it.

2) Remove the top few inches of bedding.  Sometimes the mites are covering the top of the bedding.

3)  Leave the bin open and expose it to light.  This will help dry out the surface.  Mites do not like a dry area.  The sun light will also help to control the mite’s population.

4)  Add some dry newspaper to absorb the excess moisture.

5)  Stop feeding for a week.  Freeze any food scraps that you are producing in the meantime.

Happy Wormin’

What if I have mold?

These moldy fruits look very nasty and if eaten could make you feel pretty nasty, too!  Mold springs up in damp places like your basement, bathroom and even on your food.  These spores are airborne and find that perfect, damp place to multiply.  In the case of composting, they like to feed on the decaying food scraps.  The strawberry and ortaniques above are infested with different forms of mold.  When you find moldy fruits and veggies in your fridge or on your counter top, you can feed these to your Red Wigglers.  Normally, I don’t feed my Red Wigglers copious amounts of citrus fruits.  When the fruits develop mold, the wigglers with eat the fruit.  The mold must change the chemical make up of the fruit…acidic to sweetic! lol…  I have seen a lot of Red Wigglers all over lemons and oranges once the mold has set in!

If you have mold developing in your bin (on the top layer of the composting food),there could be a few things going on in the bin….

1)  You could be feeding your worms too much and may need to back off until they have eaten what is left. In the meantime, freeze any scraps that you are producing.

2) Your bin could be to wet so add more shredded newspaper.

3)  Bury the food so new air borne spores won’t attack the food.

4)  Remove the moldy food if there is a nasty smell…..You’ll know…blah!

There really isn’t a threat to they worms, but may bother people with mold allergies.  Mold is another decomposer that is present in the decomposition cycle.