Saturday, May 29, 2021

One-Subject Art Challenge

The idea is simple:

Choose one subject and draw that subject every day. You will get better.


I'd heard about this idea from my mom who read about it somewhere - a professional artist picked just one subject and created an artistic variant of that subject every day for a year.

My subject:

The toucan. Why? Because I like its comically large nose. And I do tend to like tropical things. And I didn't like the toucan artwork available for sale, so if I ever do get good, I think I could find a niche market for this.

How it's going:

I'm getting better. By posting these I am clearly not afraid to show that I didn't start off with a mastery of this subject.

Continued drawings:

#artwork #art #toucan

Friday, May 28, 2021

My Absolute Favorite Summer Products


Every product in this post is something I personally have tried and would buy again.

First up, sunscreen for summer sun safety fun!
  1. Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Spray, Water-Resistant and Oil-Free, Broad Spectrum SPF 70+
    • This is good for not just kids but adults too, and it goes on very quickly!
  2. Banana Boat Kids Sport Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Stick with SPF 50
    • This is great for kids' faces, and it doesn't run into their eyes.
  3. Banana Boat Hair & Scalp Defense Reef Friendly Sunscreen Spray, Broad Spectrum SPF 30
    • If you've ever gotten a sunburn in the part of your hair, you know why I'm recommending a spray sunscreen specially formulated for hair.
  4. The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow-Protect Lotion SPF 30
    • This is what I use on my own face for daily wear, and I like the extra hit of Vitamin C.

Sunscreen aside, what else is important for summer skin? I'd say moisturizing properly is important.
  1. Too Cool for School Egg Mellow Cream
    • I've been using this moisturizer for years. What I like most about it are that it doesn't break me out, and that the packaging is very convenient and hygienic (no tub to dip one's finger in).
  2. Sheamoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Body Lotion
    • This is a relatively new product for me, but if you're looking for an affordable all-over moisturizer that smells nice, try this hibiscus-scented one.
  3. Pre de Provence Artisanal French Soap Bar Enriched with Shea Butter, Starflower
    • Personally, I love this bar soap, but what's important is to find a soap that won't dry you out.
  4. Panama Jack Burn Relief Gel - After Sun Topical Analgesic, Cools & Soothes Sunburns, Insect Bites, Cuts & Scrapes, Contains Aloe and Menthol
    • I found this product on a vacation and the more fair-skinned members of my family can attest that it helps if despite your best efforts you've gotten a shoulder or neck sunburn.

Here are some products my children use throughout the year, but especially during the summer.
  1. It's a 10 Haircare Miracle Leave-In product
    • I use this on my own hair, but also on my long-haired daughter and my wavy-haired son. It works well and has a pleasant scent.
  2. Bed Head Curls in Check 1875 Watt Diffuser Hair Dryer
    • It seems like summer is one long cycling transition from dry children to wet children, whether it be from a sprinkler, the pool, or a water gun. I find this hair dryer to be reliable and affordable, and use it myself too.
  3. Kids UPF50+ Safari Sun Hat Breathable Bucket Hat
    • A brimmed hat is a wise choice for anyone, young or old. This hat fits my three-year-old daughter, but she'll need a larger one next year.
  4. Crocs Kids' Classic Clog Slip On Shoes for Boys and Girls
    • Whether we're at the beach, the pool, the splash park, or just walking the dog, these amphibious shoes are great.

And here are some products I use on my own hair during the summer in order to combat the humidity and add moisture. In addition to the items that follow, I'd also recommend a wide-toothed comb for detangling, and some gentle hair ties.
  1. Foxy Curls by TIGI Bed Head Screw It Curl Hydrating Gel
    • I wish the packaging were better - it can and will leak. I can add a dab of this to my hair after a shower and it will be more behaved.
  2. Spa Life Shea and Avocado Nourishing Hair Mask
    • I use this mask in the winter too, but find that chlorine and saltwater are really punishing to hair and this helps to mitigate their deleterious effects. I also like using olive oil hair masks.
  3. L'Oreal Paris Studio Line Overworked Hair Putty
    • I use this hair putty to tame flyaway hairs. I have heard that you can use clear mascara for the same purpose but haven't tried yet.
  4. Conair Color Match Bobby Pins, Brown
    • Using a few bobby pins to effortlessly pin up an asymmetric hair style is a quick way to add a bit of visual interest and height to your hair.

All of the above being said, do what works for you, your family, and your budget.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Shared Boys Bunk Bedroom

I was going for a vaguely tropical vibe with does of colors found in nature, specifically, greens and blues. I was also on a relatively tight budget.
I particularly liked these two photos for inspiration: bunk room with turquoise walls and T-Rex poster, and bunk room with black and white.

My goal was not only to create a space for restful sleep, but also a place where the children could participate in virtual school via laptops connected to an online classroom.

Shopping Links:
  1. White photo frame
  2. Wood photo frame
  3. Bunk beds
  4. Desks
  5. Bed canopy
  6. Monogram alligator art
  7. Monogram whale art
  8. Submarine sheets set 1
  9. Alligator sheets set
  10. Submarine sheets set 2
  11. Multi-colored square pillow (no longer available from CB2)
  12. Multi-colored rectangular pillow
  13. Beige rug
  14. Pair of koalas art
  15. Single koala art
  16. Shark art
  17. Cockatoo art
  18. Pair of chairs
  19. Stars blanket (no longer available from Target)
  20. Coat hangers
  21. Curtain rings
  22. Wall shelf for books
  23. Wire bin for closet
  24. Whiteboard set
  25. Math notebook
  26. Drawing pads
  27. Wooden storage box for office supplies
  28. Gray wall shelves
  29. Teal mason jars for storing whiteboard markers
  30. Weighted blanket
  31. Superhero curtains
  32. Blue sheets set (no longer available from Walmart)
  33. Fleece blankets
  34. Warmie microwavable heating pad
  35. Hamper
Individual details - Each boy got his own desk, chair, and bunk bed. The curtains feature The Hulk, because that's what they wanted, and I don't think it's bad to let their personality shine through too. The blank wood boxes were customized by the boys - each decorated his own with acrylic paint.

Installation - There was only enough room for one boy to have a bed canopy because of the window placement. I actually hung the gray shelves side by side to create a longer shelf. I hung the art in clusters, although the whale and koalas are for one boy, and the alligator and sharks are for the other.

This post contains Amazon Associates links.

#bunkroom #boysroom #sharedbedroom #kidsroom #virtualschoolsetup

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

How to Make $1,000 in Only 6 Weeks


Recently, in a budget group I'm a member of, someone asked this question:
How can I make an extra $1,000 in 6 weeks? Besides get a job, or get a second job.

My answer:
  • Cancel all subscriptions: gym, magazines, Hulu, etc.
  • Avoid all delivery and convenience services: Grubhub, Doordash, Ubereats, etc.
  • Revise your transportations situation: downsize your car, or stop owning a car, which will also save you on car insurance

Here are some other ideas, organized by short versus long term:

  • Participate in paid wellness initiatives through your job, e.g. weight loss or smoking cessation
  • Use up your pantry or freezer stash
  • Sell items around your home
  • Proofread on Fiverr
  • Shop around for a better rate on your insurance or utilities, and/or ask your current providers for discounts
  • Temporarily scale back the amount of your income that you devote to retirement or kids' college savings (we're talking about doing this for a few months, not forever)
  • Refinance high-interest loans
  • Become a paid research test subject
  • Sell plasma (not something I would personally do)
  • Cancel anything with a recurring membership fee, e.g. credit cards with an annual fee
  • Become an influencer - get endorsements and earn commissions
  • Cook at home and eat leftovers - avoid dining out
  • Write a book and self-publish - earn passive income for years
  • Fix your items and/or buy secondhand instead of buying new - a penny saved is a penny earned
  • Never borrow money - don't pay interest on your purchases

You may wonder, "Where's the tip to use coupons?" or "Where's the tip to buy in bulk?" Coupons rarely net enough savings to merit the time it takes to clip them. Unless the purchase is quite large, like a refrigerator, coupons or rebates may not be worth it. As far as bulk purchases, the upfront cost to purchase would probably not net you savings in the short (6-week) timeframe.

Note that this post is not advice; this post is written for reader enjoyment only.