Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Why it's not the end, just the beginning of whatever comes next

The feeling I had when I submitted my very first offer on a condo--first time as a potential home-buyer and also simultaneously as my own licensed real estate agent--was...anti-climactic. Is that it? Now what? The answer to that like the answer to so many other things in life: Now, you wait.  

***

I've started this post so many times, but I never quite wanted to make it final. So I left it gathering dust in my drafts folder, only to come back to it and realize it wasn't quite right. Things had happened in my life that would require updating in blog form, but still I never really knew. How do you know when it's the end?

Here is the original blog post that I started months ago:

Endings are always strange and a little bit sad. Stranger still when they are completely self-determined and arbitrary. This thing I've been doing? I'm not going to do it anymore. Just thought you should know. See? Strange. But it would be even stranger to say nothing at all, and so here I am. This little corner of the web has been languishing for a while, and rather than continue posting every month, then two months, the trickle slowing to a drip-drop, it seemed more graceful to conclude things formally. The tier-up-of-loose-ends in me would have it no other way.

A long time ago I wrote poetry. Every once in a while whenever the mood struck I would scribble stanzas in a notebook and feel better. My last semester of college I took a creative writing course and I cranked poems out for credit by the week. At the end of a semester equal parts creatively fulfilling and exhausting, I had a very clear thought: I think I might never write another poem again. Not because that was what I wanted, but because it was true; it was simply the way things were. And after that, true enough, I never did write another poem. It was neither a good thing nor a bad thing; at one time it had been something I needed to do, and now it no longer was. I had a very similar realization recently about this blog. It wasn't surprising; it felt a natural and right conclusion, though a year or two or three ago, I would have been shocked. For a while I thought I was going to be a lifer here, thought I would always be doing this in some form or another; chronicling all of life's milestones, keeping a virtual record. But after a long semester of blogging--six (and a half) years' worth--it feels like I have reached some sort of natural conclusion. Things have changed. Blogging is different now, and I am also different now.

Six (and a half) years ago I was living in Boston. I had recently ended things (been forced to end things) with the person I thought I would be with forever. Heart-broken is a word that is too casually thrown around to describe what I actually was, which was shell-shocked, a walking exposed nerve, and utterly lost. Looking back, I should have gone to therapy, I should have done a lot of things, but instead I started a blog. And I started dating. Then I moved to France, I dated, and I blogged about it. And I moved to Ithaca, I dated, and I blogged about it. Then I moved to DC and, well. 

In the back of my mind, I always hoped that if one day I did decide to stop blogging, that I would go out with a triumphant, look-at-me-now-world post. I hoped that I would be able to (only sort of gloatingly) say that it had all been worth it, because I had finally gotten everything I had ever wanted. But I guess that's not really the way life works, is it? In any case, I present to you my Look-At-Me-Now-World post, the Tempered Expectations Version. This is where I am now:

At my boss's request, I recently got my real estate license. At the moment it is not doing much for me, but hopefully in the near future it will allow me to start earning some fat commission checks. I know better than to count on that happening, but at best it would be nice, and at worst, there is no worst. 

Also, perhaps relatedly, I think I should point out that I do not hate my job. It may not sound like much, but this is kind of a big deal. I have come a long way since a year ago when my boss, by way of welcoming me into the fold, told me, "I hope this is the last job you'll ever have," and I nearly had a panic attack thinking about it. Because while certain men have problems committing to relationships, I have commitment-phobia about jobs. And while I certainly do not see myself entering my retirement years here--life is long, after all--hanging out here for a while no longer feels like the end of the world. 

That being said, over the last few months, in addition to studying for and taking the real estate exam, I've also been studying for and then taking the Foreign Service Exam. I went into it sort of on a whim, and with low expectations for success; the Foreign Service is notoriously difficult to get into, after all, and most people who do ultimately end up passing have taken the exam multiple times. But after months of reading up on my history and geography and memorizing Presidents and Constitutional Amendments, would you like to venture a guess as to which section I didn't earn enough points to pass? Not the multiple choice, not the history/geography/Presidents/amendments section, no. A brief pause for irony, here--the essay. I failed the motherflipping essay. Humility, thy name is blogger. Anyway, maybe I'll take it again next year. And if it doesn't work out? Like I said, it's not the end of the world.

It's not that I've become complacent; there are still so many things that I want. But no, actually, not so many things. A house and someone to share it with, that's really it. Maybe it will happen for me, one day. I hope so. I want to say that even if it doesn't, it's not the end of the world, but, well, baby steps.

Though blogging no longer fills the same space in my life it once did, I will still be around, in some form or another. You can keep up with me on Twitter, in the rare event I decide to tweet (or more likely retweet) something there. If you'd like, you can also send me a friend request on Facebook, and if I know you from the blogosphere or recognize you as a commenter, I'll add you. And you can always send me an e-mail at diaryofwhy at gmail, if you want to be old school. (Apparently people don't e-mail anymore? And when did this happen? Get off my lawn.)  

And that was it. That was where I ended, thinking I would come up with something final and profound to say later. But the profundity? It is not coming. Instead, while I was waiting for The Sign, I got this sweetest of e-mails, an excerpt of which is below:
"This might sound the teensiest bit stalkerish - but I just went through all your blog today. All the posts. 6 years worth of them. 
Well, it also sounds as if I didn't have a life - but I'm a college student during summer break. So I'm investing my 2 months of vacation doing things I love. And by things I love, I mean reading blogs :)

All I wanted to say was that I loved every post you wrote. Some made me laugh my ass off, some made me cry, and most of them made me think. I love when a blog does that. And I love how your writing has improved so much over the years."
Then a few days ago I got this e-mail, to which I still haven't replied (oh my god I am the worst).
"I am a huge fan of your blog. Please keep writing and tell us what is going on in your life.  Are you thinking of going back to try teaching? Or continuing to look for other office jobs? I enjoy your writing."
I think that profound thing I was looking for to end with is simply this: Thank you. Thank you for caring and thank you for commenting or e-mailing or just reading. Thank you.

I'm not planning on shuttering this space, and don't take me out of your feeds just yet, because there's always the chance that I'll show up here again one day with that triumphant, Look-At-Me-Now-World post after all. Who knows? Anything's possible.    

Monday, August 19, 2013

Why guys don't have cats. No, it's true, they don't.*

If you're one of the five people who follow me on Twitter, this is going to be a bit redundant, but going by the comments on the last post asking how the date went I think it's safe to say this will be new material for most of you. So how did the date go? Well let's recap...








Aside from all that (all that being him arriving 25 minutes late; being unable to navigate the two blocks from the metro to the bar without the aid of his apparently non-functioning GPS; not paying or offering to pay for my drinks; being significantly less attractive than his photo suggested; not ordering any food, leaving me gnawing on my fist in hunger), let's see, what else was there? We ended up discussing animals for quite a while (really reaching for conversational topics, there), and I mentioned that I have been volunteering at the local Humane Society. He immediately jumped to the over-population of pit bulls in the shelters here, a true enough story, and surprise surprise, he had nothing to good to say about them, aside from the usual knee-jerk stereotypes: "Well, you just never know with those dogs;" "Well, they were bred for fighting, you know..." Having already made several pretty pitty friends at the shelter this went over not-so-well with me, though rather than get into it, I hid my displeasure behind a conversational shift.

He had mentioned wanting to foster dogs (though not pit bulls, obviously), but not having the time and space to do it. "Well," I suggested, "you could foster cats." A strange look passed over his face. "Guys don't have cats," he said quickly, as if I had just suggested he might try peeing sitting down. "Some guys do," I replied. "No," he said. "I'm pretty sure that in the world, there are guys who have cats. Yes." "Well, no one I know," he replied, the same, slightly horrified look on his face suggesting he still wasn't sure if I was pulling one over on him.

After all this, he pulled the yawn-stretch, "Well, I have an early meeting tomorrow..." Yes, he said this. But only because he beat me to it. Guys, it might be time to create a new label for these posts, because dating is no longer fun or funny, and hasn't been for quite some time.

Ba dum bum.         


*This is not true.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Why I'm too old for this shit

I'm supposed to go on a date tonight. The first in something like a year and a half, for those keeping track. Yes, it has been a long (my longest) dating hiatus. (I tell myself it is self-imposed, but, really?) So, this date. This is how I feel about it:

Can you just feel the excitement dripping off me? The anticipation? The glee? No? You are correct. I feel none of those things. Now I just have to figure out how to make this (above) translate into this (below):
 

Except, I'm a terrible actress. And it's going to look more like this:

I can call in sick to my date, right? I'm not ready for this. Oh, help.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Why staying in hotels is the WORST (but not really)

I was clicking through Yahoo the other day (because that is where I keep my junk mail account, which seems appropriate), and they always have those awful, sensationalist headlines, designed to make you click on them. Which I always do. Without fail, these headlines always disappoint. See What Article of Clothing This Celebrity Forgot to Put on Today! (His socks!) Is This Celebrity Couple Getting a Divorce? (Nope!) Yesterday I came across a headline so ridiculous that I am not even going to link to the article, but it was called, What We Hate About Staying in Hotels. Really? Oh god, staying in hotels, amiright? So awful! The worst! I was just talking about this with the girls at the country club the other day, and etc. Instead of clicking through to the article*, I started my own list. Feel free to add to it in the comments.    

               What We Hate About Staying in Hotels
  1. I don't have all my stuff around me like I do at home, help!
  2. This looks nothing like my house. What if I get lost?
  3. Tiny shampoo bottles--what is up with those? 
  4. They don't even let you make your own bed!  
Am I missing anything? 

*If you do click through to the article, it turns out, people are actually pretty happy about staying in hotels. You got me again, Yahoo!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Why I'm beachy keen, how are you?

A weekend in pictures (aka, my mug more times in one post than in the past six years of blogging combined)...

 

Thank you soooo much, Erin and Bill!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Why living in DC gives me an inferiority complex

If you are a person who leads a relatively mediocre life, or who is prone to bouts of envy, might I suggest that attending a happy hour meetup of French speakers in the Washington, DC metro region may not be the best thing for you? Because everyone there is someone, and they are all doing cooler things than you. Case in point: the first conversation I had was with a twenty-something young woman who does international something and is traveling to Mali for work next week. Ok, not the best example; I missed a lot of details there.

But let's move on to conversation #2, which I had with a bubbly young industrial engineer with beginner French skills whose job sends her to France for 2-3 weeks out of every month. So, effectively, she splits her time between Paris, Nancy, and DC. Logistics aside, because I realize there are some serious downsides to that situation, which she was happy to enumerate for me, it still sounds like a pretty darn awesome opportunity for someone young enough to probably never have seen an episode of Seinfeld. "But oh, you can only work 35 hours a week there, at most, and how are you supposed to get any work done in only 35 hours? And oh, dating is so hard with this career; well, I do have a French boyfriend there, but he only speaks English to me," she lamented. I did my best to act sympathetic. I asked her if she had always wanted to do this, if foreign travel had always been part of her career plan. "Oh, no!" she enthused. "My boss just asked me if I wanted to, and...now I get paid to learn French and to travel!" Moving on.

Conversation #3 was with a leggy Rihanna lookalike who recently graduated from college, where she had played on the women's basketball team. Since graduating two months ago, she has been in DC working at the State Department. At the end of the summer she will move to Boston to attend a graduate program at Harvard. Her fellowship at Harvard will be entirely paid for by the Foreign Service, and at the end of the program, she will have a job with the Foreign Service. The very same Foreign Service, I should mention, whose entrance exam I recently failed. Yeah. That. Although, for all her apparent merits, this young prodigy did insist on informing me, multiple times, that Colgate University is located in Ithaca, New York, when in fact, I lived there, and it is not. I tried to gently correct her as to her error, telling her that actually, I lived there, and-- "No, Ithaca, New York," she interjected. "Er, yes, but," I said, "as I mentioned, I lived in Ithaca, and there are actually two colleges there: Ithaca College, and--" "Colgate," she interrupted again. "Cornell," I said, flatly. "Well," she said, waving her hand in the air, "somewhere around there." It was time for a new topic of conversation. 

"Are you married?" she asked. "Oh, no, I'm not," I said. "Oh. All my friends are getting married," she offered. "All your friends who just graduated from college?" I asked. "Yeah," she said. It was time to move on.

Conversation #4: You know things are bad when talking to a judge fails to impress you. Oh, you're a judge? Cool. What else you got?

Then I went home and thought about where exactly my life went wrong. The end.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Why I'm all dressed up with nowhere to go

Today's vintage finds:


Ok, so the skirt is actually Anthropologie, so, "vintage." But the dress is an authentic polyester, 1970-something creation, "from France," claims the hand-written tag. 

Items on agenda:
  1. Find garden party to attend. 
  2. Remember to suck in.  

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Why you should check out my new site

Friends, I am proud to announce a new online endeavor that I'm working on. It's based on the ridiculous resumes and application e-mails I sometimes get, some of which I talked about here, here, and here. But recently I received a whole new round of them, and I thought, why not put them all together someplace, where they can serve as a hilarious lesson to us all? So, please go check out my new Tumblr, Resume Wrecks. I think you will enjoy. Some of them I have posted on this blog before, but there are many more new ones, with more coming every day.

As a friend said to me, RACHEL, THESE CANNOT BE REAL. But I can assure you that they are real, and they're spectacular. 

Thanks, guys. Tell your friends!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Why I love Assateague Island in the summer

Last week, my sister and I went camping at my happy place. I've blogged about my love of Assateague Island here and here. And according to this blog's archives, it had been three years since I'd been, so I was definitely overdue for a return visit.

And what goes better with a beach camping trip than..

...gray skies and pouring rain? We started our trip trapped in the car with steamy windows, our view gone smeary with the brushstrokes of an impressionist painting. We read...
...and took indulgent photographs. But after the rain...
...there was a rainbow.
And then there were blue skies and fluffy white clouds and found sand castles.

And of course, as always, there were ponies on the beach.
Although they seemed even more...aggressive than in years past.
Seriously, watch your toes and guard your coolers.

They came to visit our campsite, too.
Find any good trash in there, blondie?
My cooler is now sporting a jaunty new hole in the lid. Ponies--the scavengers of the beach.
Me--the idiot who left the cooler out all night. 
On our last night we went to a bar in Ocean City where we saw live band karaoke and this sunset. One of these things was vastly superior to the other.
And then, when it was all over I got to come home to this..

...and this. Gulp. Still working on that one. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Why my imaginary boyfriend is better than yours

There is no theme here. Do not try to find a theme.
~~~
a. On the way home from yoga last night I rolled up on a stoplight and became distracted by an advertisement on the side of a bus turning left in front of me. This is what it looked like:

You would be distracted by this too, right, if it was five feet high and in your face? As I stared at it I continued to roll towards the crosswalk and started to turn right. As I did so I nearly jumped out of my skin when I realized that there was a pedestrian in the crosswalk that I hadn't seen, because I had  been so distracted by the pedestrian safety sign on the side of the bus. This is a true story.

b. A few minutes later at a different intersection, another pedestrian walked right in front of my car against the light, so luckily I was on alert this time. He was completely out of it, barefoot, and his face was bleeding, not as if he had had an accident or been in a fight, but as if he had scratched it so much that it bled, and I thought, why does anyone still do meth anymore? Because they're addicted, right, but I mean, why did they do it the first time? Is there anyone left on earth who still thinks this might be a good idea? It is not a good idea.

~~~TOPIC CHANGE~~~

2. Laying in bed last night not sleeping I let my mind wander until I invented an awesome dude who was super into me, complete with people I actually know in real life having introduced us, I guess so it would seem more realistic to the part of my brain that was not in on the fantasy. And guess what? That shit totally worked! I was as giddy as if it had actually happened. Even this morning as I was driving to work (I guess there is a theme?) I was still super cheerful and smiley, imagining new scenarios for us wherein he would come visit for the weekend, because of course it's a long-distance relationship, because apparently even in my wildest fantasies I can't just meet a nice dude who lives in the tri-state area. So I guess imaginary boyfriends is where I am right now.

Also, apparently I spend a lot of time in the car?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Why I stopped going to therapy

32 was the year I finally started going to therapy. It was also the year that I quit therapy. (Since I turned 33 all of six days ago, I can say this with an air of detached gravity that comes from being older and marginally wiser.) So, now that you know the end of that story, let's start at the beginning. 

I wanted to get at some unresolved issues, and get at them my therapist did, in the manner of a pitchfork churning up long buried muck and slime and spreading it all out to air in the sun. Meanwhile I'm on the sidelines yelling, "Hey, I just cleaned that!" Being the writer/neurotic (redundant?) that I am, I thought I would jot down some brief notes after each session, hoping that over time I would begin to see some kind of progress. However, being the well-intentioned but often-lacking-in-follow-through kind of person that I also am, this lasted all of one (1) session. My thoughts following my very first therapy session ever (carefully recorded in an e-mail draft) read as follows:  
So, when do I start feeling better? Not so sure about this. Felt like I was drowning, and instead of throwing a life preserver she just watched, occasionally murmuring, "So, tell me how drowning feels." Also would like to know when we get to the part where she tells me how to fix myself instead of just nodding sympathetically. Sympathetic nodding is nice but not particularly helpful. 
And here is the part where you tell me, "Silly! Therapists don't tell you how to 'fix yourself'; they help you figure out how to do it yourself!" And yes, yes, I am well aware of that, but I was hoping for something a bit more...guided. Unfortunately, even after four months, it became clear that sympathetic nodding and boomerang questions were all I would ever get. Which is all fine and good, I suppose (her theory is that just talking about things can sometimes make the issues disappear--poof), but after four months of churning up and then re-burying the muck every week, I realized that, hmm, I didn't have so much to talk about, anymore. "Actually, I feel kind of...fine" only gets you so far in an hour-long therapy session, unfortunately, and so, prodded by my therapist, I would have to find some new muck to rake, and it's funny how after that, suddenly I wasn't feeling so fine anymore. This went on for weeks. I would go in even-keel, feeling that things were overall good, and leave burdened by the weight of all the past awfulness we had dredged up. All the pain and hurt feelings and disappointment of three decades past, condensed into a sixty-minute (or sometimes more!) session. Not exactly how I wanted to spend my lunch hour. After that I would bounce back and things would be good again, until the next week. Finally I realized, hey, if I feel pretty much ok until I start dredging up past shit, maybe I should...stop dredging up past shit? Like, hey genius, if it hurts when you poke it, maybe...give the poking a rest for a while? Now that I'm writing this down I realize it sounds kind of unhealthy and avoidant, but honestly, it wasn't like that at all. I had addressed the issues and discussed them, at length, and now I was ready to leave them alone for a while. Possibly forever. At least leave the muck buried deep down where I wouldn't have to see it and think about it anymore. Again, I realize that maybe this sounds the opposite of healthy, but honestly, I'm tired of wallowing around in muck; I want to run naked in the rain. (Metaphorically speaking?)

And so I realized it was time to break up with my therapist, which led to a not insignificant amount of stress. As much as I hate getting broken up with, I also hate breaking up with someone; I will move to a different country to avoid having to break up with someone. I was hoping to take the coward's way out and do it over the phone (ok, voicemail), but, like the professional she is, she made me face my fears and break up with her face to face. Which led to (seriously) the most awkward "it's not you, it's me" conversation ever. (She actually asked, "Was it something I said?") I reassured her (over and over), that it had nothing to do with her, and while I very much appreciated her time and expertise, lately our weekly sessions had been creating some unwanted stress in my life, both financial and otherwise. I pleaded poor and said it was hard for me to get away from work in the middle of the day, and even harder to get back into a groove at work after an emotionally wracking session. All of these things were true, and I stuck to that explanation, repeating it various different ways for her approval. She clearly didn't think I was ready to "graduate" from therapy, but finally said that she understood my reasons and wished me well. I left feeling lighter than I had in a long time.

And maybe it's because it's spring, with flowers blooming everywhere and summer on the horizon, but ever since then, I've been feeling pretty good. Like I tried to tell my therapist, I'm actually pretty...fine. I'm doing just fine. Thanks. 

And that's the story of how in my 32nd year, I started going to therapy, and then quit therapy. Feel free to chime in in the comments if you feel moved to share your own experiences.   

Kitty says cuddle therapy works too

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Why this post is the pits

I interrupt this sparse posting schedule of nothing-much-going-on with something I hardly ever do: a health & beauty post. Wait wait wait, there's more: it's a DIY health & beauty post. I know, I know, what's next? A Pinterest board? (Never!) But today I wanted to talk to you about an issue that is near to my heart. And actually a bit to the left of my heart...and to the right. That's right, I'm talking about my pits. Wait, come back, I'm really talking about deodorant. We all use it, right? We all have our favorite go-to stuff, decided on after a long period of trial and error, and as long as it's doing the job we don't really think about it much.

Recently I stumbled across a recipe for homemade coconut oil deodorant, and while normally this wouldn't be something I would be interested in trying, the comments on the post, and other similar posts I found, were all very encouraging. To hear them tell it, this stuff was nothing short of miraculous. Not to mention healthier for you, cheaper, blah blah blah. But still, I remained skeptical. It couldn't possibly work as well as real deodorant, could it? As it happened, I had a jar of Trader Joe's coconut oil in my cabinet, and my curiosity got the better of me. At this point, I went all in and ordered arrowroot powder and grapefruit essential oil from Amazon, as well as some organic beeswax, which I thought it might need for texture (but it turns out it didn't). Baking soda and corn starch I already had on hand, so as soon as my shipment arrived I got a-mixin'. 

Now here's where it gets interesting. Coconut oil is a solid in temperatures under 76 degrees, and liquid above that. Since my apartment is hot hot hot, summer or winter (not my choice, just the way it is), my coconut oil is nearly always in liquid form. Hence the reason I bought the beeswax; I thought without it the resulting mixture might be too "liquidy." It turns out that once you get all the baking soda, arrowroot powder and cornstarch mixed in, though, the texture is thick like frosting, and not runny like liquid. However, since I mixed it up on Sunday, there has been a bit of a cold snap here, and since the heat in the building has already been turned off, my apartment finally cooled down a bit. And my coconut oil is solid! So my homemade deodorant, which was a mushy paste on Sunday, is now hard. Which is fine--I just dig out a small piece with my thumbnail and rub it in--it softens with the heat of my skin.
"Frozen" solid
 But I'm getting ahead of myself. Liquid, solid, who cares? you're saying. Does it actually work? Right. First I need to tell you that before this experiment I was at a crossroads with my current deodorant. Wait, let me back up. A bit of my deodorant history: as soon as clinical strength deodorant came on the market a few years back, I was totally on board. Gimme the hard stuff. This is all I will need until the end of time, thank you. Then my sister came to visit once and brought some fancy shmancy Kiehl's deodorant with her. 


And I tried it, and I liked it. I even, actually, liked it more than the clinical strength stuff I had been using. It was unscented and didn't dry out my skin like the other stuff, and I felt that somehow it was more "natural" (which is totally a lie, since it has just as much bad-for-you aluminum than any other storebought deodorant). And ever since then I have been shelling out an ungodly amount of money for the stuff. I don't even want to tell you what I've been paying for it, but ok, I will. It's $19.50 for a 2.5 oz. tube. Plus shipping! I know. But it lasts me about three months or more, so it's really not that bad, right? However, lately I haven't been completely happy with it. It seemed to not be working as well as it once had, or maybe it had never actually worked that well and I was blinded by marketing and natural fruit extracts. Anyway, by the end of the day, every day, hot yoga class or no, I was feeling...ok, smelling...not so fresh. Not terrible, but also not like nothing. And I wanted to smell like nothing. And if there was something I could make with ingredients from my kitchen, I was willing to give it a try. Even though I was sure it definitely couldn't work. (I mean, how could it possibly?) Here are my findings.

Day one: Mixed up a first batch, with beeswax. Moment of truth: slathered it on. Horror and revulsion. It looked like my armpits were made of wax, and they were melting. The stuff wouldn't rub in and it just looked...awful. Decided it must be the beeswax. Mixed up a second batch without it. Second verse: same as the first. Almost chucked the whole thing in the trash in a fit of rage, but decided to check with Professor Google first. Determined that I had been using waaaayyyyyyy too much. Scrubbed it all off and started over, this time using a dab about the size of a pea and rubbing it all in until it disappeared. Oh. Much better. I could deal with this. Laid about the (blessedly cool) house all day in a mostly hungover stupor. Sniff test: no smell to speak of, but then again, I had barely moved at all. Not a good day to judge.
One with beeswax, and one with none (of your)
Day two: The ultimate test--a full day at the office, followed by a vigorous 80-minute yoga flow in a 90-degree room. I came home tired and, ahem, glowing (ladies glow, ya know) and prepared for the moment of truth. Sniff test: nothing. Nothing, not even a hint of a whiff of a smell! I could have been smelling my wrist, or my elbow, or a blank sheet of paper. Incredible!

Day three: Just in case the first two days were a fluke. I skipped yoga and went to a French meetup after work instead. I was drinking wine and trying hard to appear friendly and social, so I already had a bit of a warm flush going. Not to mention the fact that also in attendance was a guy who had asked me out on a couple dates a year ago, and then when I asked him out on a third date, he said no. So yeah, there was a (teensy) bit of nervous sweating going on. Forget hot yoga--this was the ultimate test. Once again I came home, stripped down, and took a good, long sniff. Again, there was nothing. I know, I can hardly believe it myself. 

So far the only downsides, as I see it, are a small amount of powdery white residue left on the underarm area of my shirt when I take it off (from the baking soda, etc.), but it brushes off easily, and it's not visible from the outside. Also, some people in the comments mentioned dark spots in the underarm area of their shirts from the oil, and that potentially those dark spots might not come out in the wash. But other people said they didn't have that problem at all. I'm still waiting and seeing on this one. I think it might depend on the shirt. With knits I've had no problem. The other day I wore a silky fabric in a dark magenta color, and when I took it off I thought there might be slightly darkish circles under the arms? But it definitely wasn't very noticeable, and I am going to wait until the shirt goes through the wash to see what happens. If it turns out that it does stain, then I could see how that would be a definite deterrent. But so far I am nothing but enamored. How could I not be? It's cheaper than regular deodorant. It's more effective than regular deodorant. And it doesn't contain potentially cancer-causing ingredients!  I am not saying I am going to go out and start making my own homemade toothpaste, shampoo, and household cleaning products (I don't think?), but after this I feel like I've inadvertently stumbled upon the internet's cleanest dirty little secret. Seriously. You should try this stuff.