mom blogs,  random things I like,  travel

does my hair smell like a urinal cake?

What are your favorite travel products? Things you can’t be away from home without? Tomorrow I’ll leave for a three-day trip to Cleveland, home for a writers conference this weekend and then to Madison, WI next week.  Here are a few of the things I always bring with me or have started to bring:

check out for fresh, handmade products from Canada, eh!
check out for fresh, handmade products from Canada, eh!

My sister in law who regularly travels to Africa to do research on pediatric AIDS, ordered the Lush shampoo bar pictured above for her last trip.  Since travel restrictions on liquids have become a pain to figure out how to pack everything, I thought I’d give it a try. When I tested it out it smelled nice & I didn’t even need a conditioner because it left my hair so soft! Too bad when I excitedly showed it to my friends JB & April, April and I were admiring the cute packaging and subtle scent, when I handed it to JB, he said “looks like a urinal cake”. Then he sniffed it and exclaimed, “smells like a urinal cake too!” So even though I like this product, now all I’ll be able to think when I use it is: “my hair smells like a urinal cake.” Thanks JB for that great association. But, I still say: score for fewer products and less waste! The second thing is facial cleansing wipes, for the same reasons on travel restrictions. I typically prefer Dove brand because the cloths aren’t pre-moistened and it feels much nicer to wash your face with a warm cloth rather than a cold one from the package. However, now that Meijer carries their own brand, I’ll see how I like it since it’s about 1/2 the price!

The other thing I’ve loved having on trips is my iPhone, (beyond the obvious reasons why I love having an iPhone). Even when I’m in a totally unfamiliar place, I use the white noise app and can be lulled to sleep by the sounds of an oscillating fan.

i love having a familiar sound with me no matter where I go.
i love having a familiar sound with me no matter where I go.

People, (usually women) often say things to me like “wow, that must be really hard to be away from home so much” when I tell them I do regional consulting in a 4-state region and travel a lot for work.  It is hard, but what is harder is often feeling unsupported by a seemingly benign comment like that one.  I don’t know how men who travel a lot for work and have wives and families back home get questioned or what kinds of responses their career choices get when they tell people what they do but it feels like a double standard at times, even if people don’t mean it to be. For sure, I miss Dave and Reuben when I leave. Typically for the first 1/2 hour of a trip I feel really sad I’m leaving. And then I start thinking about the wonderful people I’ll be meeting with, the innovative ideas we’ll generate for growing the spiritual lives of college students, the heartfelt conversations and prayers we’ll have and the plans we’ll make for shaping the next generation of Jesus-followers. And then I don’t feel sad because I remember that God called me to my job and that even with some of the sadness of leaving my family behind, I experience the joy and pleasure of being faithful to his calling on my life. I would be far more bummed if I wasn’t doing what I felt God was directing me to do.  It also helps to have an amazingly supportive husband, a great network of family and friends who helps to care for Reuben while I’m gone and things like skype, so I can actually see Reuben every day and tell him goodnight. Yay for both people and products that make traveling easier!


  • thelocalguide

    Just out of curiosity checked the Solid shampoo ingredients and its pretty safe it is a shampoo, don’t worry :).

    It doesnt include any usual conditioner but the natural extracts could justify the softness you felt…

  • JB

    Thanks for laugh…

    Not to get Dave in hot water, but after I made my innocent observation – he agreed with me. I’m not alone!

  • Lorraine

    I LOVE Lush! I haven’t tried their shampoos but have a friend who swears by them. I had thought that they were a good alternative to liquid shampoo.

    they have a store at the Mall of America . . . maybe next time I go there, I’ll try one. you’ve inspired me! (but I’m staying away from the blue one . . . )

  • Rachel

    Having never seen or smelled a urinal cake, I never thought to make the comparison. I’m not sure if I should apologize or not. I still stand by my recommendation. I love my Lush shampoo bars! They do come in other lovely scents and colors, and I also really enjoy one that’s yellow and sweet-smelling. How varied are urinal cakes? Perhaps with a different color and scent the boys won’t be put off…and anyway, shiny, soft hair may still be worth it.

    • Jessica

      Rachel- I too am sold on the shampoo bar! I like the subtle scent of the “seanik” bar and think it is more the size and color of it that elicited the urinal cake comparison & the smell was an afterthought. I ordered the jasmine scented bar for my sister in law & thought it smelled really nice too. I’m going to keep using it & enjoy not having to pack separate shampoo & conditioner! Thanks for the recommendation!

  • Stephanie

    I love that you are doing what God called you to do! And to be doing something that you are passionate about, and that helps fuel you, and bring you and others closer to God – what a blessing! You are a beautiful role model for Reuben, showing him what a life looks like that is directed by God, a life that is led submitted to His will and way. You are an awesome mom!

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