Oh, I gone get mine! (said in a VERY southern accent)

     Nick LOVES to say this!…every time someone cuts us off in traffic, takes the last of something, eats an enormous bite of food, walks like they're on a mission, cuts to the front of the line…the list goes on. Pretty much anytime someone does something that is somewhat selfish or puts themselves first, Nick uses this phrase and uses it in a very womanly deep southern accent.  Kind of scary how good he is at it.

     Another phrase that Nick LOVES is, "Where da cake at?".  He basically falls back on this one anytime something (like listed above) happens, but he has overused "oh, I gone get mine!".  He switches back and forth between the two to keep things fresh.
     Nick didn't always use these cute little phrases.  It pretty much all started one year ago.  My mom, Mary Ashley and I went to the Civic Center for a Bridal Expo right before Mary Ashley's wedding.  For weeks, we looked forward to our special outing.  We got dressed up in cute girly outfits, arrived on time, got our tickets, received a glass of complementary champagne and were giggling (Mary Ashley and me…not my mom) with excitement as we walked through the doors.  Everything was so amazing.  Wonderful photographers.  White dresses.  Beautiful decorations.  Delicious cakes.  Perfectly set tables.  Romantic music.  Everything you could ever want for your wedding, right there at our fingertips.  I couldn't wait to seek out every adorable little booth and see what they had to offer.  I was really feeling the mood and hearing wedding bells…until…this group of about seven fairly large women walked in right behind us and immediately said, "Where da cake at?".  UUuummmm…..What?  I turned around for visual proof and, yes, they really said that.  Those women saw everything that I saw and that's the first thing that came out of their mouths?  Not even one of them commented on the beautiful Expo!  I think my mouth fell open I was so flabbergasted.  I will never forget that moment, but I still thought that it was at least comical.  Our groups parted almost immediately as Mary Ashley, my mom and I began to browse and they walked away…probably in search of the cake.  During the Expo, each of us was allowed to taste-test cake samples from local bakeries.  We got these sweet little plates with these delicate little bites of cake.  It was like a fairy princess tea party!  I'm serious…this type of thing really does make me feel happier and girlier.  Mary Ashley and I tried three flavors between the two of us.  As more and more women got samples, I noticed that many of them had somehow acquired large dinner plates and take-out boxes and had filled them up with cake.  Like REALLY filled them up.  Like the amount of cake pieces were unknown, they were so filled up.  Like overflowing and crumbs falling on the floor, they were so filled up.  They got drinks, forks, sat down in chairs and ate that cake like it was their dinner.  It wasn't funny anymore…I was thoroughly grossed out!

     Then, last week, I was at the McLeod Health and Fitness Center.  I LOVE to go there to exercise to relax in the dry sauna.  Usually I am in there alone, but this time I had some company.  After I had turned on the lights, adjusted the temperature, gotten comfy and started to dose off, another woman came in.  She threw the door open, turned off the lights (weird), changed the temperature, put eight towels out (weirder), stood right beside me in the 10 by 15 foot room (weirdest), then stripped naked (I have no words).  As she is standing beside me, stripping naked, I am trying to not look.  At the same time, it is hard NOT to look because she is SO CLOSE to me!  I kept thinking "what in the world?!" and "what is wrong with her?!".  Once she was naked, she took the eight towels.  She wrapped one of them around her neck to hang down the front of her body.  Then she wrapped one around her lower area.  She stepped onto the lower bench beside my head to climb onto the upper bench and laid down right above me.  She obviously wanted to air everything out because she put her arms up and over her head and spread her legs out as far as they could go.  In this particular sauna there is enough space for six adults to lay down and stretch out and she chooses to do so directly above and beside me!!!  She was so close that I could smell her…she smelled like animal crackers, so it wasn't bad, but still…give me some space!  My thoughts were going crazy and I kept wanting to get up and move to have some personal space, but I didn't want to hurt her feelings either…so I stayed.  After about 15 minutes, she crawled out from above/beside me, stepped down beside my head on the lower bench and left the sauna.  I kept laying there, rolling over in my head what just happened…I seriously couldn't believe it.  I got up and walked out of the sauna and through the Women's Locker Room towards the gym when I saw the same woman.  She was sitting in the center of the love seat, both arms resting on the back, remote control in hand, one towel covering her chest and one towel wrapped around her lower area, legs spread out and her high top covered feet resting on the coffee table.  I seriously have never seen this before.

     I came home and told Nick and you know what he said?  "Oh, I gone get mine!".

     When these things happen I always think "I would NEVER do that!".  I would never take loads and loads of cake when a bakery was only offering a taste.  I would never turn off the sauna room light when someone already had it on.  I would never change the temperature when someone had already chosen the one they wanted.  I would never invade someones personal space to that extent.  I would never cut someone off in traffic.  I would never cut in front of someone in line.  I would never not be polite.  I would never not be sensitive to others.  I would never not follow the rules.  I would never.  I would never.  I would never.

     Because we ALL know I'm perfect right?!?!?!!?

     So, then I thought maybe I'm not so different than these people since the problem is OUR sense of entitlement!  Maybe I don't hog the cake or the sauna, but I have things that I think that I'm entitled to!  For instance:  I deserve a finished house.  I deserve appliances that work correctly.  I deserve clean comfortable clothes.  I deserve a real driveway.  I deserve a car that runs well.  I deserve to eat good food.  I deserve to be treated fairly.  I deserve.  I deserve.  I deserve.

     But actually, we don't deserve anything…NONE of us do!!!…and that's why we ALL need Jesus!  However, Nick does a good job of reminding me…when I'm starting to get cranky or selfish, he will respond with "where da cake at?" or "oh, I gone get mine!".  Although I want to strangle him when he does that to me, its a good lesson and we usually end up laughing :)


The Jackson Girls Experiment

So, let me introduce us…this is my mimi, my momma, my sisters and myself!  Even though we all have totally different skin and hair, none of us were adopted (or so they tell us…).  On my mom’s side, there are no grandsons in the family…all of our cousins are girls, making us nine granddaughters in total!  My dad, on the other hand, grew up with two older brothers and one younger brother…needless to say, he PRAYED for girls and he got us!!!  YAY for girls!!!  Lots of drama, but lots of love…totally worth it!
In 2005, we found out that my grandma (not mimi) had cancer.  Her doctor told her that she was no longer allowed to use nail polish because of how the chemicals seep in through the nails and skin, into the bloodstream.  I started to wonder why anyone was allowed to use nail polish, so I stopped (except when a friend or sister wanted to treat me to a spa pedicure and manicure…).  Not only did I stop painting my nails, but I tried to use only “all-natural” products.  For years, my sisters have thought that I was a cRaZy, dramatic, tree-hugging hippy.  But…FINALLY…they have begun to come around!!!  One by one, my sisters and my mom have been convinced to drop some of their chemical filled products.  This is saying a lot for a house full of girls…you can probably imagine how many products have accumulated over the years!  Even I have made MAJOR changes…I thought that I was SUPER careful, but it turns out that even I needed to throw out some of my products!!!
I’m going to tell you about each of our transitions separately because we are all five SOOOOOOO different.  Although my mimi is in the photo above, she hasn’t been a part of our process…

This is our mom, Cindy.  I keep telling her that if I look like her in 25 years, I will be VERY VERY VERY happy!  Her mom (my mimi…above) looks beautiful too…I really hope that it all runs in the family!!!

My mom started by clarifying her hair with Dr. Bronners Liquid Castile Soap (her favorite is Peppermint), but it made her hair this weird combination of dried out and gunky.  So, a few days after clarifying, she did a coconut oil hair mask before washing her hair.  She tried to wash her hair and the coconut oil with the Dr. Bronners, but after washing and washing and washing, she gave up and walked around for a few days with gunky, wet looking hair.  She finally went out and bought Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo and did a Low-Poo wash and her hair immediately improved.  So, she has just continued to use the Low-Poo option and only washes her hair about twice a week.  My sisters and I have never spent much time on our hair, so dropping the hair dryer, curling iron, straightener and hot rollers was easy.  But, my mom has very dry, course, unruly hair, so although she has dropped the chemicals, she says that she just can’t quit heat styling her hair.  
Her skin looks GREAT, right?!!?!?!?!!?   I'm repeating…I hope this runs in the family!!!  She uses the Jojoba Oil, for the Oil Cleansing Method, every night.  She also uses Kopi Lingzhi Black Coffee, makes it into a paste, and leaves it on her face for about 10 minutes per day.  It is said to help with skin discoloration and wrinkles.  Since she has started using the coffee mask and OCM, I have seen a HUGE improvement in her skin!!!

Now my turn...I am the 1st and oldest sister and have had the most difficult transition!!!  I keep wanting to give up, but I don’t want to go back to chemicals, so I keep trudging onwards!!!

I started my No-Poo transition by clarifying with the Baking Soda Paste and then using the Baking Soda/Apple Cider Vinegar method.  I have always washed my hair EVERY SINGLE DAY, so I have slowly washed less and less, starting with washing every other day, then every three days, until I got to once per week.  Everyone talks so highly of coconut oil hair masks, so I wanted to do one, but had to switch my method first.  I switched to using Dr. Bronners (my favorite is Citrus), but I still could never get all of the oil out of my hair.  I have also had problems with ACV…my hair always seems to stay wet looking and gunky after washing, if I do a hair mask or rinse with ACV.  So, I tried Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo (stole it from my mom’s house) Low-Poo option for shampoo and I still had to wash my hair six times to get the coconut oil hair mask out of my hair!  So, I am still trying to figure the best method for me to wash my hair without chemicals.  No-Poo doesn’t seem to work for me because the ACV makes my hair wet looking and gunky.  Low-Poo works, but I feel like it’s “not as good” as going No-Poo and I still can’t use the coconut oil hair masks…ugh.  I would like to try the Rinse Only Method!  Although I have had a difficult transition, the positive things are that my hair seems to be growing faster, it has more body, it is thicker and I can go days without washing…and I’m not using harmful chemicals! 

I have always had very oily skin, but very sensitive.  So, if I used acne washes, I might not break out, but my face would be red with dry patches.  But, if I didn’t use acne washes, I would break out and have major blackheads.  Because of this, I would go back and forth between many different face washes and scrubs, trying to keep it all under control.  On top of those problems, I also have many scars, redness and skin discoloration.  So, even when my face would be clear, it was still uneven.
I found the OCM on Pinterest, Fall 2012, and decided to try it out!  I just started using Extra Virgin Olive Oil and my face instantly improved!  Even my family complimented me on my face!  I used the EVOO for about three months and my skin continued to do well.  However, I saw another recipe on Pinterest and whipped up a batch of Coconut Oil Baking Soda scrub and started using that.  For a while it did really well, but then all of a sudden my face started breaking out very badly.  I kept using it until I read that some people have problems with Coconut Oil clogging up their pores. 
So, I bought my own Jojoba Oil, Castor Oil and Rose Hip Seed Oil to make my own Oil Cleansing Blend.  That worked well for a while also, but then I started to get some dry patches, rashes and breakouts and I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong.  So, I went back to EVOO until my Argan Oil came in the mail.  I was using the Argan Oil for a while, but my face was never as good as when I first started the OCM…I guess my transition period is still not over because I can’t seem to figure out what works best for my skin!  Help!  On the bright side…at least my scars have faded a little!!!  Oh yea…I use baking soda for microdermabrasion and honey for face mask about once per week.

This is the 2nd sister, Mary Ashley (well, its her hair).  She has always had beautiful hair and perfect skin.  Her hair used to grow so fast that she donated to Locks-of-Love several years in a row!  But, she ended up dying her beautiful strawberry-blonde hair and then followed up with a “body wave”.  This photo to the left is the product of those bad decisions…
Mary Ashley’s hair used to grow about 8-12 inches per year, but in the past year, it has only grown a few inches!  Her hair got so dried out that it began to melt together (don’t know if that can happen, but that’s what it looked like…it was worse than dreds).  She couldn’t brush it or comb it and went for months just wearing it up in messy buns, since that was basically her only option.  Mary Ashley dropped chemicals, clarified with the baking soda paste and did an overnight coconut oil hair treatment.  Her hair did look significantly better in the beginning, but we had to do something more because it was looking worse and worse the longer she went without chemicals.  Apparently, chemicals cover up bad hair and make it look better, instead of helping it get healthier.  So, Mary Ashley and I went together and got her hair CHOPPED off…like scary chopped off…like even the hair stylist was nervous chopped off…BUT, once it was over, Mary Ashley’s hair was baby soft, shiny, silky, beautiful and she could brush it, comb it and run her fingers through it!  It took her a LOT of courage to make the leap, but the drastic measure was the right decision!  Now she can get her hair back to a healthy state, grow it long again and maybe even donate to Locks-of-Love!  She has been washing her hair with the Dr. Bronners (her favorite is Rose) and ACV about every 9 days.  In between washing, she does Rinse Only Method as her hair needs it and tames frizz with Argan Oil.  Coconut Oil hair masks do not wash out of her hair well either, so she did a Shea Moisture Hair Mask instead and was able to wash it out with water.
So, Mary Ashley has perfect skin.  She never break outs and has no scars, but she claims that the OCM has helped her skin to be more even toned and soft.  Her skin still looks perfect to me.  She massages Argan Oil into her skin every night before getting in the shower.  She allows the hot shower to be the “steam” and just washes the oil off with the hot shower water.  In the mornings, she uses a splash of cold water to wash her face.  Basically, she had the easiest, most beautiful transition EVER!!!

This is the 3rd sister, Maggie.  She has long, thick, dirty-blonde hair, is very athletic and gets super tan super quickly…don’t be jealous!  ALL the boys at school were ALWAYS in love with her!!!  Her hair and face are a lot like mine…We both have straighter, oilier hair and more problems with breakouts and scaring.
Maggie isn’t sure yet if she wants to go chemical free on her hair, because “she likes what chemicals do” for her hair!  We will have to keep working on her…
Maggie just started using Jojoba oil for the OCM a little over a week ago.  She uses ACV as a Toner.  Her skin has already improved!  She has less breakouts this week and her skin is already beginning to look more even toned!

This is the 4th and youngest sister, Lizzie.  Have you seen the movie BRAVE?  You know, the Irish wild, crazy, red, curly hair and walks around barefoot...”Merida”, in my opinion, is an animated “Lizzie”.  Lizzie is 11 years younger than me and basically has perfect skin and hair, so it’s hard to see any transition whatsoever…
Lizzie actually didn’t understand the entire process, so she started with an overnight coconut oil hair mask and then washed it out with regular shampoo.  From then on, she used the ROM.  Her hair eventually got so dried out that she came to her big sis (me) for help.  I didn’t realize that Lizzie had dropped chemicals, so I was super excited to help!  We clarified her hair with the Baking Soda Paste, letting it sit for 20 minutes and then washing it out.  We immediately followed that with an Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse and let that sit for about 5 minutes before washing it out.  We did this because her hair was SO dry.  That night Lizzie said that her hair felt and looked oily, but I thought that it finally looked healthy and moisturized (so did our other sisters, mom and dad)!  Lizzie continued doing the ROM, but her hair was still super tangly and dried out…she eventually started forming dreds underneath her hair at the back of her neck (and didn’t want them!!!).  So, after much trail and error, her best system has been to Water Only Wash her hair, then to use Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner so that she can comb out her hair while in the shower…she does this about every four days.  Once out of the shower, she sprays her locks with Shea Moisture Curl Spray…she
does this every other day, or as her hair needs the moisture.  She wanted to do the Rinse Only Method or the Baking Soda/Apple Cider Vinegar Method, but her hair was so dried out and tangled that she had to do something more.  She is so happy to have been recommended to use Shea Moisture, since it doesn’t have harmful chemicals.
The only problem that my sister had with her face was little dried bumps.  She began using the OCM with Jojoba Oil and, Poof, her face is perfect!  All clear, no breakouts, no blemishes, no dry skin and especially, no dried bumps.  Needless to say, she is pleased!  Yet another sister with a perfect, beautiful transition!!!

So, the Jackson girls are proof that EVERY PERSON IS DIFFERENT and each of us has to see what works best for our body, skin, hair, etc!  Just between my mom, my sisters and myself, we have pretty much tried every option, method and ingredient.  I think our next transitions will be toothpaste and deodorant!!!