The Sassy Pear

Finding my way through my forties

Curly Girl Update – I Quit — September 13, 2019

Curly Girl Update – I Quit

Here’s the update – I’m not doing the Curly Girl Method anymore for 3 reasons: 1) my family members don’t really care for curly hair on me, 2) I’m tired of my hair looking great in the morning and terrible in the afternoon, and 3) in a fit of frustration, I chopped my hair off to chin length – it had grown a few inches and was getting harder to manage.  I know I could do chin length curly hair, but I’m afraid I’d end up looking like this:


So for now, I’m going with a straight sleek look:


And since I chopped my hair off myself, I now have an appointment for next Saturday so my stylist can fix the damage I did. It’s not horrible, but there are some areas that need her magic touch. On a completely unrelated note, did you know that it’s super hard to cut the back of your hair yourself???? 🙂

I’m glad I did this curly experiment because I learned some good lessons from it – my hair loves to be deep conditioned once a month, my hair is so much healthier using sulfate-free shampoo, and using as little heat as possible has made my hair much stronger and thicker than before. Also I think taking a B Complex vitamin has helped my hair as well (which really has nothing to do with CGM, but I thought it was interesting to note).

I thought my fine, thin, dry, brittle hair was out of my control and I would just have to live with it forever, but just changing my shampoo and adding some deep conditioning has shown me that little changes can have a big impact.

I love it when an experiment yields unexpected results!

In case you are interested, here are the products I’m using right now that have helped my hair get healthier (all of these are sulfate and paraben free, I believe) :

 Love Beauty and Planet Shampoo. I use the White Coconut and Jasmine scent because I am all about jasmine right now – it smells so good!! And btw, you can get this at Target for around $8.

Suave Coconut Conditioner. Believe it or not, this is a really good lightweight conditioner, and it’s super cheap at Walmart or Target.

Kinky Curly Knot Today leave in detangler. This is a lightweight leave-in, but I still only use a tiny amount of this for when my  hair is feeling dry-ish. My fine thin hair just can’t handle a lot of conditioner. I think I paid $12 for this at Walmart, so this is a good price from Amazon.

 Shea Moisture Hydrate + Repair Protein Power Treatment. Did you know that your hair needs protein too? For curly girls, sometimes if your curls are just limp and lifeless, a shot of protein can make them springy again. I used this when I needed a little help with my curls and I’ll probably still use it when I need a little bounce in my hair.

Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque. This is my deep conditioner – I used this at first once a week, then only once a month once my hair started getting healthier.

I think this will wrap up my curly hair experiment for now. I realize that 3 months is probably not really long enough for my hair to transition from straight-ish to wavy/curly, and I might try again early next year, but for now I’m happy with this easy, straight style.

Autumn Intentions — September 10, 2019

Autumn Intentions

If you live anywhere outside of my region, the air is probably starting to cool, leaves might be juuuust starting to turn, and you can definitely tell fall is fast approaching.

If, however, you live in the devil’s oven like I do, there is no end in sight. The entire month of September is just as oppressive as August – it’s still hot as blazes and it seems that the humidity hanging in the air is there only to torture you and your hair.

I realized I said that I wasn’t done with summer a few posts ago, but what I meant was that I wanted the out-of-school, no commitments feeling of summer to last a while longer. Now that school is in session and activities abound, I need for summer to shut down quick. Floating in a pool with a lemonade in your hand on a hot summer day? Bliss! Sitting on metal bleachers at a football game in 100° heat? NO THANK YOU.

So I’ve decided I’m going to conjure up some autumn feels by thinking about what I want to do this fall… an autumn bucket list, if you will. Behold! My Autumn Intentions:

  • decorate my front porch (assuming I can keep the dog from destroying all of it)
  • declutter my house (yes, all of it…well as much as I can anyway)
  • attend Tara’s Movie on the Lawn – my friend Tara hosts a Halloween movie each October with food and a theme. One year we watched It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown – it was the cutest Halloween party ever! I look forward to it every year. (In the spring, she did a baseball party where they watched The Sandlot – I had to miss that and I’m still not over it.)
  • Watch It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown while eating caramel apples
  • go hiking someplace where I can be surrounded by gorgeous fall foliage
  • sit by a campfire (or a fire pit) on a Saturday night and listen to the frogs in the pond
  • finish decorating my bedroom – I want it to look like a walk in the woods
  • Bake cinnamon bread
  • Make an extremely large batch of butternut squash soup
  • Bonus – go on a hayride. I always think about doing this, then never do it for some reason.

I feel more autumn-y already and I can practically taste the butternut squash soup! What are your intentions for the upcoming fall season? Do you have rituals that you always do or are you more fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants like I usually am? Share below!

leaves hang on rope
Photo by Designecologist on


What do I do when things get rough? I use my ABCs. — September 6, 2019

What do I do when things get rough? I use my ABCs.

Sometimes when life gets crazy or overwhelming or downright unmanageable, I use a handy little skill I learned from Emily at It’s part of a whole set of DBT skills – if you’ve never heard of DBT, it’s a type of therapy used mainly for treating those with borderline personality disorder, but what they found though, was that if this type of therapy worked in treating BPD (one of the most difficult disorders to treat) then it could work for ANYBODY. The skills taught in DBT therapy are super useful for regular Joes (or Jills) everywhere.

The skill I’ve been using most recently is the ABC skill. ABC stands for:

Accumulate positive experiences/emotions

Build Mastery

Cope Ahead


What this looks like in real life for me is that sometimes I get a little overwhelmed and stressed out and start to feel down about things, so I’ll aim to be intentional about doing and keeping track of things that fit into the above categories. For instance, if I want to accumulate positive experiences/emotions, I’ll look at my schedule and see if I can fit in something fun into my day (or my lunch hour or my evening after work, etc) that will make me feel better – maybe it’s getting that really good salad at the store, or calling my best friend to talk for a few minutes, or stopping by the park after work for a quick walk. All of those things are positives for me and so doing them makes me feel better. I get intentional about making myself feel better.

Building mastery is doing something on a regular basis that makes me feel capable and better about myself, and that I enjoy. Trying a new recipe, working on my hand-lettering, cleaning that clutter pile that has been driving me crazy, or even just solving a minor problem are all examples of building mastery. Taking an exercise class or even a crafting class counts, as does updating your dream vacation board on Pinterest or planning what you’ll put in your garden next summer. It’s about making yourself feel competent, which in turn boosts your self esteem.

The third step is Coping Ahead – if I know a stressful situation is coming up (this could be good stress, like a vacation, or bad stress, like preparing for surgery) then I will stop and think about some things I can do that will make things easier for me or make me feel better about the situation. We just went on a short camping trip over Labor Day weekend and Emily reminded me to cope ahead by having some of my favorite healthy foods on hand for snacks. I also remembered to pack my ear plugs because I find that I sleep better in places that are not my bed if I have them in (also, sometimes my darling husband snores. Loudly). If this were a bad-stress situation, like having to spend time with relatives you don’t particularly care for (Thanksgiving will be here before you know it), you could make sure you have your favorite wine on hand to help you relax a little, you could make sure that you are in charge of playing games with the little kids, you could offer to make a run for ice when it gets low so that you don’t have to spend so much time with Overbearing Aunt Abigail…the point is to think about things you can do to improve the situation so that you can still be your best self.

What are some ways you make yourself feel better when things just don’t seem to be going well? What are some of your favorite ways to Build Mastery? What is your best Coping Ahead strategy? Tell me in the comments!


Updates and stuff — July 19, 2019

Updates and stuff

Happy Friday!

My car is getting fixed! For freeeeeee! They finally called yesterday and said “Well we just had a big meeting about your car and here is what we’ve decided – we can pull the valve covers off and if the engine is sludge-y, it won’t be covered under the warranty and you’ll have to pay for us taking off the valve covers before we can go any further. If the engine is clean, we’ll order you a new engine and repair the car, which will all be covered under the warranty”. I told him (with a wee bit of false bravado) “Well then you go ahead and take off those valve covers because you aren’t going to find a sludge-y engine – we have kept up with the oil changes and done everything we were supposed to do.” A couple of hours later, guess what!! Clean engine and a new one ordered! I was really nervous even though I KNEW there was nothing I had done to cause such a catastrophic failure, but sometimes you just don’t know how dealerships are going to play the game. My husband had the phone number of a good lawyer handy juuuuuust in case. My mantras for the last couple of weeks have been “I did nothing to cause this” and “Be anxious for nothing”. I’ve probably said those phrases to myself a hundred times since all of this started because I don’t know about you, but I don’t have an extra $5000 sitting around for a new engine. I’m really just so relieved that it’s going to be repaired and covered under the warranty.  And they gave me a loaner car so I don’t have to drive my husband’s work truck or borrow my son’s car anymore – which is a relief because I do not like not having my own wheels. 

Curly Girl Experiment – I’m one month in. If you don’t know what the Curly Girl Method is, it’s a technique of enhancing your natural curls by using sulfate-free, paraben-free, and silicone-free hair products. It’s a process, y’all. I mean you have be committed to it because it takes a bit o’ time and a lot of trial and error, but if you can reach curl nirvana, it will be worth it. Now, there are some people out there who are almost militant about livin’ that CGM lifestyle (CGM = Curly Girl Method) and there are those of us who are rebels because we do what we want! I mean I guess so far I’m following it pretty closely but because I have fine, thin, wavy hair there are some things I have to do differently than the original method, and I’m completely fine with that. Just like in health, there is no one-size-fits-all and you have to do what works for you (and your hair). Here are pics of Day 1 vs. Today (One month in):


Honorable mention goes to these two days which were somewhere in the last couple of weeks:

Yes, I take pictures of my hair when it is behaving nicely because it is such a rarity and I want to document it for posterity. You can see how much my curls have perked up already. This is a really fun experiment and I think that once I get a little more length, I’ll really love wearing my hair curly all the time.

Well, I’ve rambled on about those two topics that are probably of no interest to anyone except myself longer than I intended. My plans for this weekend are to just relax, get caught up on my handlettering course that I am 3 weeks behind in, and maybe declutter some areas that are driving me bonkers. What are your plans for the weekend? Whatever they are – I hope they are enjoyable!


Very Best Self: Week 2 — July 15, 2019

Very Best Self: Week 2

Really? Y’all are going to make me do this all by myself? Nobody wants to be their very best selves right along with me??



Anyway, so this was not a great week for being my Very Best Self apparently. I only got up early ONCE last week because hey, guess what! I can’t go to bed at 11 pm and expect myself to get up at 5:30 am. Not happening. So I’m going to have to reverse engineer this thing and go to bed by 10 pm at the latest. Setting an alarm at 9 pm would probably help too – that would give me plenty of time to wash my face, brush my teeth, set the coffee, and make my lunch for the next day.

Guess what time I went to bed last night? 11 pm! So, not off to a great start this week already, but that’s okay. Mondays are hard.

That’s really all I have to report. How is everyone else doing? Oh that’s right…NO ONE ELSE IS PARTICIPATING. It’s okay though. No, really, I’m fine.





Very Best Self: Week 1 — July 8, 2019

Very Best Self: Week 1


So how did it go? Did you do the thing your VBS would do?

I did okay – my VBS thing was to get up a little earlier to fit in some exercise and other good things. I got up early Tuesday & Wednesday, then Thursday was the holiday so I didn’t have to get up early, and on Friday I got up and even had time to sit on the patio and enjoy my coffee. 🙂 I did a bonus workout on Sunday because my son and I planned on watching all of Season 3 of Stranger Things and then go see the new Spiderman movie, so I knew it would be a day of sitting. And it was, so I’m glad I got that workout in.

If you want to join us, it’s not too late! Just put it in the comments below – or not, you can keep this to yourself if you want to. 🙂

If you do feel like sharing your progress, leave it in the comments below. Tell me what worked or what didn’t work – maybe we can come up with a solution together to make it work for this week. 🙂

Please enjoy this inspiring photo of a sunrise because I’m in a hurry and couldn’t decide on an appropriate picture for this post. 

aerial photography of landscape with view of sunset
Photo by Tom Fisk on
How to be awesome, Deux — July 3, 2019

How to be awesome, Deux

The website Sweatpants & Coffee posts some great stuff that resonates with me – I posted part one of 44 Ways to Cultivate Happiness here, and a couple of days ago they came out with the second part of that list which can be found here. I love these articles and found myself nodding my head at several of the ideas listed.

A few of my favorites are:

#28 Find your Fun. This is one that I often have to remind myself to do. It seems odd that I have to plan on having fun, but if I don’t, I end up cranky and out of sorts and it takes several minutes of contemplation to figure out “oh! No wonder I feel so stabby, I haven’t had done anything fun lately!” It doesn’t have to be anything grand either, it can be watching a funny movie on a Friday night at home, or talking to a friend who makes me laugh, or scoring some deals at a thrift store.

#36 Say what you need to say. Nothing is more of a joy-killer than seething resentment. I lived like this for a long time and it was no bueno. There are ways to express your needs that don’t invite conflict – avoiding conflict is one of the reasons I didn’t want to speak up, but peace at any cost is no way to live. Also it’s not good for your health to keep things bottled up.

#37 Rest. In our current culture where Busy is King, we (I) often feel guilty if I’m not doing something productive, but we (I) need downtime. According to the article, being bored leads to creativity and inspiration. For example, my 14 year old  decided yesterday to design a very cool swimming pool complete with swim up snack bar and a hidden cave with a water fall. When I asked her how she came up with this she shrugged and said “I got bored.” Go get bored and see what creative ideas you can come up with.

#38 Take a nap. Why do we not, as a culture, take a nap everyday after lunch? Other countries do this, don’t they? Can you imagine how much better we would all get along if we all had to shut down between 1 and 2:00 every day to take a nap??? One of my very good friends took the 3rd row seats out of her SUV, put in a big fluffy comforter and pillows and every day at lunch she would go out to her car and nap for 55 minutes, then eat lunch at her desk afterward. I always thought this was the most genius thing ever.

dog cute sleeping puppy
Photo by Torsten Dettlaff on


Anything on this second half of the list resonate with you?

Don’t forget, you can still join our Very Best Self Experiment – jump in any time! Maybe something on this list is a habit you could work on for the month of July.

For my US readers, Happy 4th of July tomorrow! And for those of us who have to work on Friday – I feel your pain. Womp Womp. :/

Very Best Self Experiment — July 1, 2019

Very Best Self Experiment

Hey hey hey!

The last time we were all gathered here, I had the bright idea that I would try and do the things that my Very Best Self would do and several of you said you would be on board to try to be Your Very Best Selves also, so I decided we should do this as an experiment because the word “challenge” feels to restrictive and overbearing and I just don’t need that kind of negative vibe in my life right now. Experiment feels nicer, don’t you think?  Here’s the idea behind this: if you were the best version of yourself, what is something that you would do? Would your Very Best Self (VBS) do yoga in the mornings? Would your VBS organize your kitchen? Learn a fun new skill? Do some volunteer work? Take a fun class? What is the thing you are pretty sure would enhance your life but you just haven’t had the oomph to actually do it? <—- That’s the thing you are going to work on for the next month.

The idea is to think of an area of your life that you would really like to improve, or an activity that would make your life better, or maybe something you’ve been procrastinating on and you really need to just get it done (because Your Very Best Self would totally have already done it). It can be one thing or a few things, but I think it should be something you can measure in some way. And it has to be realistic – we’re just doing this for the month of July so don’t say “My very best self is going to lose 40 pounds” or “learn astrophysics” or “marry Bradley Cooper” or something like that. Not saying you can’t do those things eventually, but for the sake of this experiment, keep it in your wheelhouse for now, okay?

Here are the rules (read: very loose guidelines) for this:

  1. The first rule is really the only RULE and it is non-negotiable and totally binding: You absolutely canNOT beat yourself up or shame yourself over your performance during this process. This is an experiment – there is no pass/fail, no all or nothing, no win or lose…we are collecting information to see what works and what doesn’t work. It’s just for fun and curiosity.
  2. What can you do set yourself up for success? How can you make your thing work? Will you need supplies for this? Do you need to do some research first? If so, that’s totally fine – take a day or two and make your plan.
  3. If at first you don’t succeed…then change your mind and do something else. If you get 5 days into this and you realize that you actually hate the thing you’ve chosen to work on, guess what? You can change your mind and begin fresh with something else. You are running your experiment, you get to decide how you’ll proceed or if you need to change directions.
  4. I’ll do a weekly post so that we have a place to check in on our progress. Try to stay engaged on these posts so we can all be there to support each other and bounce ideas off of one another!
  5. I can’t think of a fifth one.

If you want to join in on this SUPERFUNGOODTIME! then post the thing your Very Best Self would do in the comments. Since today is the first of the month already, let’s officially start tomorrow July 2 and go through July 31st. Sound good? Then let’s do this thing!



Bad hair, unfunny, and unevolved – just what you want in a blogger. — June 20, 2019

Bad hair, unfunny, and unevolved – just what you want in a blogger.

Thanks so much for you comments on my last post. I know that exercise and taking care of yourself are BIG ways to ward off stress and/or deal with stress, and I try to do those things, although honestly I have not been exercising very much at all lately. And why do I forget that writing everything out is probably one of my biggest stress relievers? I felt so much better after writing that post the other day. If I were MY VERY BEST SELF I would get up early in the morning and do a little workout, a little meditation, and probably a little bit of journaling (or even blogging), however, I’m still evolving into that person; the person I am now sleeps til the very last minute, says she’ll go for a walk after work (but then doesn’t do it for a variety of reasons excuses), hasn’t meditated in months, and typically goes weeks between blog posts. What can I say? I yam who I yam. Maybe I should do a challenge for a month and actually do the things my very best self up there would do and see what happens?? Hmm…I kind of like the idea of doing that. Anyone want to do it with me? We could do it for the month of July – you can choose whatever behaviors you want to work on and we can reconvene here weekly and report on how it’s going. What say you? Anyone interested?

In other news I’m having a flirtatious relationship with the Curly Girl Method. I just started like…I don’t know…three days ago, maybe? And what I have discovered is that my hair is in terrible shape – it is dry dry dry!! Years of high-heat blow drying and flat-ironing has left my tresses arid and frizzy. I need a serious deep conditioning treatment. Do I have any Curly Girls reading me right now? If so, leave me your best tips for starting out – I’ve already seen some improvement but I could use a little more guidance. My hair is 2b low-porosity fine thin wavy hair, in case that information is useful to you.

And on a completely different note, I think I’ve lost my funny. I’ve noticed over the last few weeks, when I say something that I think is funny, it just falls flat (like my hair). This morning a radio show asked the question “what do you do to embarrass your kids?” (in a fun lighthearted way) so I called in and said that I have teenagers and all I have to do is exist in order to embarrass them. What I expected was “Haha! Teenagers, man! They’re tough!” etc, but instead I got “Awww, that’s so sad. I’m sorry you feel that way. That’s terrible.” Uhhh, what? That was not the way I expected that exchange to go. And they didn’t even use my clip at all! I realized later that the 2 DJs are both in their early 30s – one doesn’t even have kids and the other has a 5 year old, so neither of them has encountered the joy of raising teenagers, but still…  And it’s not just with the DJs, I’ve had conversations with coworkers and family members and either everyone is just over me and I never was funny, or I have just lost my ability to deliver a funny line. I guess I’ll go back to laughing at my own jokes…on the inside…silently…to myself.

Work is calling so I better get to it. Let me know if anyone wants to do a Better Yo’Self Challenge, and also please let me know if you are a Curly Girl or a modified Curly Girl or if you are a Rebel Curly Girl (who completely does her own curly hair method).

Have a great day, friends!




What’s on Jill’s Wish List? — May 30, 2019

What’s on Jill’s Wish List?

I like to peruse Amazon and add stuff to my Wish List and then check it often to see if the price has gone up or down. What I have found is that typically the price will go down on Tuesday or Wednesday and climb back up by Friday. I say that like there’s a huge difference, but really it might just be a few cents up to a few dollars, depending on the item. I thought it might be fun to list some of my wish list items here in case you are looking for some ideas to add to your own wish list. Click on the pictures for prices, etc. and as always, Amazon links are affiliate links, yada yada yada. Whatever, just click on the picture for details.

I used to get this at Walgreen’s but apparently my WG has stopped carrying it. I was so happy to find it on Amazon AND it’s $4 cheaper on the ‘Zon than it was at WG. Yay!


Remember when I said I wanted more dresses like the one in my last post? Here is another that I want. I think it looks perfect for summer, I just wonder if it’s see through or not. Somebody buy it and wear it and let me know. Thanks!


I don’t know why I want this but I do. It’s a 2 pound weighted hula hoop. I envision myself watching the evening news while I hula hoop around the living room, which is weird because I don’t even watch the evening news anymore. But I would totally hula hoop around the living room while watching Wheel of Fortune. (Bonus, there’s a $4 off coupon for this too. Someday I’ll pull the trigger and buy this thing.)


Okay this one is boring but it’s something I really need because my old not-instant thermometer finally bit the dust recently.  And it’s half off the price from when I originally added it to my wish list. I’ll probably buy this soon because I don’t like to play Russian roulette with chicken.


This one I’m going to buy in the fall, when I tend to bring foods that need to be heated up to work with me. Just pop your glass (or ceramic or cardboard) container in, zip it up, plug it in, and in by lunchtime your food is hot and ready!


Because I don’t want to kill the sea turtles, but I still enjoy sipping my lemonade through a straw. I’m really into lemonade lately, not sure what’s up with that.


I LOVE this little clock! It’s been on my wish list since 2017 and I should just go ahead and buy it already. It would look perfect on my nightstand. I adore those 2 little birds sitting on top!


And finally, a little birthstone bling. At $200 this is the most expensive thing on my list, but I’m worth it, so it stays on the list. I think it’s just so pretty and my husband might need an idea for our anniversary that is coming up this summer. Husband, if you are reading this – I LIKE THIS RING A LOT.


These are only a few of the things on my “Treat Yo’Self” list (no really, that’s what I named my list) but the other stuff is hand-lettering stuff and some boring kitchen shelving stuff and other not-fun stuff (maybe I need a separate wish list for the not-fun stuff??). What kinds of things are on your wish lists? Do you have fun stuff or do you have boring stuff? Do you even have a wish list?? If not, start one – you need to treat yourself to something nice once in a while and it’s handy to already have some things picked out. 🙂



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