Saturday, November 12, 2011

How you were *supposed* to use LUSH's Brimstone

, we hardly knew ye.

LUSH came out with a new line of exfoliating scrubs earlier this year, including an odd little lump of sulfur-laden gunk called Brimstone. I've always been an Ocean Salt junkie, but I decided to give Brimstone a shot. The fact that Brimstone is WAY cheaper than Ocean Salt may have had something to do with my decision, but I was also curious to see if the sulfur would be beneficial for my psoriasis.

Ugh, it was amazing. From the first time I used it, I noticed a drastic improvement in the scaly parts of my skin. Even the texture of the normal areas of my skin looked smoother and healthier. I gave Brimstone my official seal of approval and vowed to always keep a block on hand.

As it turns out, not everyone shared my enthusiastic joy. Brimstone is a divisive product, one that was loved or hated with extreme passion on either side (also know as the I Heart Huckabees phenomenon.) It seems the hateful side won out, because LUSH recently announced they would be discontinuing the product. I know that LUSH must discontinue products from time to time, not unlike Ben & Jerry's or Kool-Aid, but dammit, I'm going to miss it.

I can't help but think that this product may have inspired less vitriol if they had provided better instructions on how to use it. LUSH doesn't offer any kind of instructions with their packaging-free products (instruction cards are, presumably, responsible for depleting 99% of the world's rainforests), and all the website states is, essentially, "rub it on your skin" (there's even an instructional video which is exactly as unhelpful.) So I guess I can't really blame people for letting a product that was meant to break up and dissolve in water sit in a puddle in their shower and then getting upset when it was destroyed. Not that it'll do much good now, but here's how you should have been using it:

  • Break the block up before your first use. Depending on the humidity in your home you may be able to crumble it with your fingers, but if not, use a butter knife. Don't worry about keeping it in blocks. Smash it into crumbs if you like.
  • When you're ready to use it, put about a 1 inch block (or a couple tablespoons of crumbs) into a bowl and bring only that piece to your bath. Keep the rest in a dry place (so, not the bathroom.)
  • Draw a bath. Yes, a bath.
  • Do whatever it is you normally do in the bath. That is, shampoo and wash normally. After that, give yourself at least 10-15 minutes to use Brimstone.
  • Pick up a chunk (or pinch of crumbs) and start applying to your skin. It's going to be weird and clay-like. Roll it, smash it, smear it. It's not going to "scrub" like salt or sugar scrubs do. Deal with it. Don't worry about dropping bits into the water.
  • Leave the smeary bits on your skin for a few minutes. Then submerge yourself in the bath completely. Gently slough off the product with a washcloth (or use your fingertips, but it's faster with a cloth.)
  • This is the best part: remember all those bits that fell in the tub? Swirl the water around a bit to dissolve them with the product you just rubbed off your skin. Then just soak for awhile.
  • Drain the tub and rinse off briefly with cool water from the shower.

This takes a bit more time and effort than most people are willing to devote to their skin, but it was really worth it. My only hope now (other than trolling eBay for old stock) is to pray LUSH develops another, easier-to-use product with the same ingredients (like a bath bomb??)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Spine Health, Skin Health, Soap Shopping

First thing's first: LUSH is having a giveaway! Enter to win a set of 15 new winter products! They are giving away 5 sets a day for 15 days (!) and it's open to anyone with a Twitter account in the US and Canada (you just have to authorize LUSH to send a tweet on your behalf.) Oh, and it asks you to input the name of one of the Winter Warmers gifts. The page that shows them is a little hard to find, so here it is.

In my constant pursuit of natural, holistic treatment options for psoriasis, I've started seeing a chiropractor. I am super privileged to happen to be living with one (the same roommate who does the creature art many of you have admired in our living room) and she's going to be working on me twice a week.

Chiropractic work is recommended in Healing Psoriasis: The Natural Alternative, the book that features the diet I started almost 6 years ago. Because the diet alone healed me so well and so quickly, I never bothered to seek any other treatment. Nowadays, I tend to slack a bit on the diet (and have really, really been enjoying drinking and partying lately), and combined with increased stress, I felt some additional treatment would be beneficial.

I asked her to take a look at my back about a week ago because I was having some lower back pain (most likely brought on by spending 18 hours a day hunched over a computer desk.) Turns out my pelvis was out of alignment, so she snapped me back into place. That seemed to work really well. Within a day or two, the pain was gone, I felt more comfortable walking, and the exhaustion that had been plaguing me for about a month disappeared.

On Monday she began network spinal analysis, which is...basically poking me in the back. I had never heard of this treatment before (it is entirely possible it was mentioned in Dr. Pagano's book, but I'll admit that by the time I got to the chiropractic chapter I was ridiculously high on raw food and had trouble sitting still long enough to read), but I'm certainly open to trying it. It's only been two treatments so far, but I have been feeling immediate effects. I'm taller (!) and I feel more centered. Most of the back and leg pain I had is gone. It's too early to tell if my skin is responding, but it does feel good today. There's no swelling or flaking, and many spots are showing signs of healing.

There are, of course, many factors that affect my skin, but I'm very optimistic. I'm also taking a bunch of herbs and moving towards a healthier diet (I'm eating far less meat than I had been for the past year.) I'm really excited to see how my skin will react to all this! In the meantime, there are still plenty of LUSH products that are great for psoriasis care!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Halloween Nail Art - Bloody Eyeballs and More

I'm really into nail art and oftentimes find myself drooling over ridiculously detailed and highly impractical nails on various blogs. Due to my lack of desire to purchase and hoard even more art supplies, as well as my need to dress myself and tie my own shoes everyday, my own nails are usually clipped short and decorated with little more than stickers and/or designs that can be achieved using the brushes that are already in the bottles. And here are some of my Halloween themed nails created using exactly those things!

This set of Halloween nail stickers was $1.99 at Walgreens. It's kind of an odd mix of characters, and I'm fairly certain I have a sheet of Japanese stickers with highly similar skull characters on them. I'm really really not sure why there is a giant, non-nail sized sticker included. Am I supposed to stick it to my skin? Cut it up? The package does not answer this question.

I started with white nails. Since there really isn't much of a theme among the stickers (other than general Halloween-ness), I decided I was just going to stick them on randomly.

And stick them on randomly I did. Overall, I like the look. The spiders are especially cool. I wouldn't recommend starting with white after all, though, especially for the skulls. They just looked like little black eyes and disembodied hats!

The Halloween stickers lasted on my nails a total of one day, which was coincidentally similar to the amount of time it took to remove them. While I did like them, I have a feeling the rest of these stickers will be better suited to decorating a notebook or personal electronic device.

I painted my nails black after that. When I got home from the club on Sunday night, I decided to paint some bloody eyeballs on them. They actually looked way better than the photo, but I applied topcoat when the eyeballs were still a bit too wet (you can see the brush marks from applying it.) I looooved having eyeballs on my nails, and I'm totally going to revisit this look (possibly when I'm less drunk and more patient.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Haunted Movie Marathon - Finale

I have to say, October 2011 was a great month. I just barely missed getting in a full film each day, but this was the closest I've come to finishing an entire month. I watched some really great stuff, and gained new appreciation for old favorites! I hope you'll take my advice and watch some of these! Again, first viewings are in orange, rewatches are in black. (May contain light spoilers.)

October 22nd

The Innocents (1961)
This is a seriously good movie (with a creepy-as-crap leitmotif.) It's the story of two strange orphans living alone in a huge country house. Their uncle wants nothing to do with them or the house, so he hires a governess to take care of them. She soon learns of a bunch of freaky stuff that happened there just before she arrived, and realizes the children are possessed with the ghosts of two lovers who died there. The actor who played the little boy Miles was intense.

October 23rd

Jim Henson's The Storyteller - Fearnot (1988)
The Storyteller is an amazing series featuring John Hurt with his faithful dog (voiced by Brian Henson) hosting tales from folklore. Fearnot is from The Brother's Grimm - The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was (albeit with a highly romanticized ending.)

October 24th

My Name is Bruce (2007)
I needed my Bruce Campbell fix, and this was pure cinematic gold. Bruce Campbell is kidnapped by a teenage fan who thinks he can save his town from an ancient Chinese demon he accidentally unleashed. The "plot" is a flimsy excuse for a bunch of Bruce Campbell one-liners, and it is great. Great.

October 25th

Cry Baby Lane (2000)
This Nickelodeon original movie gained a lot of notoriety lately because it was only ever aired once. It was supposedly banned from ever airing again due to parental complaints over the film's content. Naturally, that piqued my interest, and I have to say, it wasn't bad. It was reminiscent of Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Goosebumps episodes, which I used to love. Of course, it turns out that the film was never banned; it was simply forgotten due to not being all that popular. Still, it's never too late to cash in on an urban legend.

October 26th

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Some people debate that this is not a Halloween film, and is better watched around Christmas. To that I say, um, the main character is a skeleton. There are also those who say that this film is incredibly played out and overmerchandised, and only relevant to 14 year old mallgoths (who weren't even born when it first came out.) To them I say, screw you, because this is a truly excellent film.

October 27th

A Disney Halloween (1983)
This is often confused with Disney's Halloween Treat (which is understandable since they use the same theme song and some of the same footage), but it's a bit longer and is absent one rubber pumpkin puppet (though they do show him for a split second near the beginning.) Still lots of fun to watch, and a total must for the Halloween season!

October 28th & 29th

I went out both of these nights, so I didn't actually catch a film at home. The first club I went to was playing Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) interspersed with some awkward 70s porn, so that was fairly terrifying. Saturday I went to the Cat Club, and they were playing Frankenstein (1931) in the front room and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) in the back, which I love, so I spent most of the time in the back. Better music there, too.

October 30th

Trollhunter (2010)
This movie rocked. It's a Norwegian fake student documentary in the vein of The Blair Witch Project (but way better, in my opinion.) It's amusing, scary, and really entertaining! Definitely recommended for anyone with an interest in Scandinavian folklore!

October 31st

Trick 'r Treat (2007)
This is easily the best Halloween film in at least the past 10 years (and one of the best modern American horror films); it was absolutely made for Halloween geeks. It got completely screwed by the company that was supposed to release it: apparently it was slated for a Halloween 2007 release, but that was cancelled and rescheduled for 2008. That was also cancelled, and it went straight to DVD in 2009. If you're wondering why you haven't seen it, that's probably why. Go watch it now (it's on Netflix.)

I hope everyone had a great October and Halloween! I'll post the rest of my photos from the season as soon as possible.

Check out the rest of the marathon!
Haunted Movie Marathon Week 1
Haunted Movie Marathon Week 2
Haunted Movie Marathon Week 3