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The Enthralling Show That Is Kitchen Nightmares

I was over at my friend's house tonight (she has wonderful things she shares with me like a washing machine and cable) and I got completely caught up in this show, Hell's Kitchen. It's probably a show you've seen 100 million times but hey, it's new to me so I'm writing about it!

Chefgordon The premise: In each episode, Gordon Ramsay (famed chef of Hell's Kitchen) visits a failing restaurant and through tough love, ingenius ideas, and a few F-bombs, tries to help improve the establishment in just one week. Ramsay revisits the restaurant a few months later to see how business has fared in his absence.

So what I like about the show is it's much more about running a business and psychology then it ever is about food.

Motivating Wait Staff
Gordon made it a game for the wait staff to get their tables to try everything on the menu and even put a little money behind it. Because an idle mind is one that starts goofing around in the kitchen. Like most people, the staff worked better when they had 1) a goal and 2) an actual stake in the outcome.

Seeing Where You Are Throwing Money Away
Too big menus and too big portions meant keeping at lot of ingredients on hand that eventually got thrown away. Gordon tightened up menus as much for sanity as for keeping food waste to a minimum.

Making Sure Your Manager Has Their Head On Straight
Just showing up and taking $200 from the register? Uh no. (I wouldn't even think of doing that, even with my tiny business!) Not only can you not tell why you are going thousands of dollars into debt when you do this and, well, it's kind of illegal.

Fixing Broken Things
Because constantly hassling with something that doesn't work is costing you money in productivity. Plus it's usually easier to fix what you've got then buying new, am I right?

Setting A Mood
Do you want to eat at your own restaurant? Do you want to do business with yourself? When faced with the question, the owners/chefs said no. And the changes made, even if small, can really change the mood and attitude.

The Same Old Thing Will Keep Getting You The Same Old Results
Try something new, gosh darn it! A new recipe or a new sign just might help.

"Don't take it personally, just take it seriously."
Both Sarah and I looked at each other when Gordon uttered this and agreed this was pretty true, whether you were the one doing the managing or being managed.

I know, don't you love it when I write about television? It probably sounds like I've come off a deserted island or something. Does anyone else love this show?

Some Random Life Updates

Yeah, these posts are a little boring but sometimes some house cleaning is in order:

Henna Follow-up 
So after several showers and airing out my apartment on Saturday, I must say the Great Henna Experiment of '09 has been successful. (The post was also apparently cool enough to get linked on Blogher. Nice!)

My hair doesn't feel gritty but the texture is noticeably thicker. I've also gotten a few compliments on my hair, which doesn't happen normally. Oh, and the gray hair is gone. Mission accomplished, and for three dollars nonetheless.

Taxes Are Done or Nicole Outsourcing Part One
My taxes are done and my refund is essentially going to pay for my accountant. As I was sitting with my accountant, he looked at me and said "You know, you could do this yourself." but as I told him "I know I am capable of doing this, but it stresses me out so much I'd rather pay you to do it." Still, flattering that my accountant thinks I'm smart!

Web Content Migration or Nicole Outsourcing Part Two
One year and a half year's worth of blog posts to move manually plus one bad case of carpal tunnel equals a lady frustrated that her new website isn't ready to go yet. But I've sunk money and time into this thing and it's time to finish. I'm hiring one of my friends to do some copying and pasting for me while I use my energy to do formatting. Yay teamwork!

I'm Getting Out Of Town
I booked my friend Robby to visit my friend  Laura in New York City. We are going in two weeks. I am so excited at the prospect of getting out of town, even if it is for a long weekend.

Tomorrow's post: Do you actually know what your friends do for work? Neither do I! An experiment involving our perception of other people's jobs versus what they actually are. . .

The Great Henna Experiment Of ’09

Many people in my life (myself included) often forget I was a science major in college. That's right, if you want to talk asymmetric boudinage or magma mixing, I'm your gal. Of course, I don't talk geology much in my daily life but my course of study is has maybe appreciate the scientific method.

Hennabanda I posted a couple weeks ago over my battle with grey hair and a lot of people recommended henna. And who says I don't listen to commenters! Initially I was a bit nervous about potentially making myself look bad (everyone's chemistry is different), but I found myself more excited in thinking of this whole thing as an experiment.

I know, how exciting are my Friday nights!

Materials
Henna
Coffee (apparently it helps the brown develop better then plain old water. You can also add things like lemon (to play up blonde) or olive oil (to make hair soft)
Plastic bag
Hair elastic
Towel
Paintbrush (optional but it does help get those harder to reach places)
Two short movies or one long one

Procedure

Henna-inprogress 1. Make coffee. (Oh and know that you've got to start with clean hair so do that if you need to.)

2. Mix coffee with henna according to package directions. Notice the weird green color. Decide the "test portion" will be your entire head.

3. Put green gunk all over your head. Note: Make sure you are wearing an old dark T-shirt when you're doing this, or of course, you can go topless. Take your time and apply the gunk carefully with the paintbrush or your hands. Don't splatter henna all over your white bathroom. Secure whole situation with hair elastic. Cover head with plastic bag.

4. Watch a really long movie, in my case "The Women". The color needs to set for at least an hour. Tip: Might as well do all that other stuff you always mean to do like dishes or giving yourself a facial.

5. Once color is set (I waited an hour and a half) rinse in the sink, first with hot-water followed by cold water. Towel dry.

Results: Hair looks darker and grey is covered, feels gritty though (I am supposed to shower after but I'm going to wait until tomorrow morning). Smells like I've been in a pond all day.

At six dollars for a little pot of this henna stuff (I only used half of it), this is a pretty good bargain and it's all natural. But it does take a freaking long time.

Conclusion: Henna is a good way to cover gray hair if you have a lot of time and inclination to sit around your apartment with a plastic bag on your head. You may want to do some pre-color smell prevention though. Clearly though the most important conclusion is that the commenters on this blog know what they are talking about!

The Great Henna Experiment Of '09

Many people in my life (myself included) often forget I was a science major in college. That’s right, if you want to talk asymmetric boudinage or magma mixing, I’m your gal. Of course, I don’t talk geology much in my daily life but my course of study is has maybe appreciate the scientific method.

Hennabanda I posted a couple weeks ago over my battle with grey hair and a lot of people recommended henna. And who says I don’t listen to commenters! Initially I was a bit nervous about potentially making myself look bad (everyone’s chemistry is different), but I found myself more excited in thinking of this whole thing as an experiment.

I know, how exciting are my Friday nights!

Materials
Henna
Coffee (apparently it helps the brown develop better then plain old water. You can also add things like lemon (to play up blonde) or olive oil (to make hair soft)
Plastic bag
Hair elastic
Towel
Paintbrush (optional but it does help get those harder to reach places)
Two short movies or one long one

Procedure

Henna-inprogress 1. Make coffee. (Oh and know that you’ve got to start with clean hair so do that if you need to.)

2. Mix coffee with henna according to package directions. Notice the weird green color. Decide the “test portion” will be your entire head.

3. Put green gunk all over your head. Note: Make sure you are wearing an old dark T-shirt when you’re doing this, or of course, you can go topless. Take your time and apply the gunk carefully with the paintbrush or your hands. Don’t splatter henna all over your white bathroom. Secure whole situation with hair elastic. Cover head with plastic bag.

4. Watch a really long movie, in my case “The Women”. The color needs to set for at least an hour. Tip: Might as well do all that other stuff you always mean to do like dishes or giving yourself a facial.

5. Once color is set (I waited an hour and a half) rinse in the sink, first with hot-water followed by cold water. Towel dry.

Results: Hair looks darker and grey is covered, feels gritty though (I am supposed to shower after but I’m going to wait until tomorrow morning). Smells like I’ve been in a pond all day.

At six dollars for a little pot of this henna stuff (I only used half of it), this is a pretty good bargain and it’s all natural. But it does take a freaking long time.

Conclusion: Henna is a good way to cover gray hair if you have a lot of time and inclination to sit around your apartment with a plastic bag on your head. You may want to do some pre-color smell prevention though. Clearly though the most important conclusion is that the commenters on this blog know what they are talking about!

Battling The Gray Area

Ahhh! I'm Aging!

It is something about our company bathroom's combination of natural and fluorescent lighting… okay, scratch that. It's something about the way I look in any light, or more specifically how a certain part of me looks.

My gray hair is really starting to come in and it's kind of scary.

Genetically it was bound to happen. My father was salt-and-pepper on his mid-20s. I was lucky to have held out this long, as in two months shy of the big 2-8. (Related but unrelated, my boss found an article about gray hair being a build up of hydrogen peroxide. Now what can I do about that?!?)

Whether chemical or genetic, I'm not quite ready to let it all grow out yet. I'm looking at some options, some of which I've tried:

Tried: Professional highlights(beauty school $10-$15, everywhere else $40 plus)
Highlights seem to have the added benefit of changing the chemistry of gray hair by making it lie flatter. But unless I take an afternoon off every 6 to 8 weeks to go to beauty school half an hour away, I cannot afford to maintain them.

Tried: Glaze ($8-$10)
Nicole-grey-hair Glaze is an over-the-counter method to tint and deep condition your hair. It works alright but it washes out, is a little messy to apply, it takes at least three minutes to soak into your hair whenever you use it (ie each time you shampoo). If I don't rinse off the walls of the shower well, it looks like I murdered someone in there when I'm done. Coverage is light to moderate at best.

Tried, though not recently: Boxed haircolor (around $10)
Most people I know in my situation just end up dying their hair. I personally never trust myself to pick out the correct color; I usually instead end up picking the woman on the box that I want most to look like. A more permanent solution than glaze but less maintenance than professional highlights.

Not tried: Henna (around $4)
According to the Internet, I can use henna to cover gray. It seems nice and natural but I found one article that said it would take up to 6 hours(?!). Now that's dedicated vanity!

Do I have other options here folks? Clearly I'd like something inexpensive that won't ruin my hair, bonus if it isn't terrible on the environment. Thanks for any help you can give!

Sadie Update: Malignant But Probably Gone

The vet called Sean's house and the poor guy got to relay me the news about Sadie's growth. The good news? It's not bad, well, not really.

Essentially, Sadie's tumor is malignant (which is bad) but usually when tumors like this are removed, the sickness is gone (which is good).

Not definitive news but news nonetheless. . . I guess it's one more part of my life where I am waiting and seeing…

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