And FINALLY, after… years, I am glad to post an article in this section of my blog!
20 years ago, in April, a wonderful comic was issued in Italy: Disney’s W.I.T.C.H., originally created by Elisabetta Gnone, Barbara Canepa and THE MASTER, Alessandro Barbucci. In 2001 I was roughly as old as the five main characters of this comic and I still love it today. Well, I like it up to issue #60, then things changed a bit and it was not so enjoyable anymore for me. But still, Witch has been an important part of my life and thanks to Barbucci’s wonderful style it is also one of the reasons I started to draw.
When I realized that this year is the 20th anniversary of this comic, I interrupted my “non-drawing period” and wanted to make a little tribute to this comic that means so much to me.
As always – please do not steal my artwork! If you repost it somewhere, thank you a lot! But don’t forget to credit me as artist and link to my blog 🙂
Yes, in this article we are going to talk about an activity that many people born after 2000 probably don’t even know about: penpalling.
For those who don’t know what this means, penpalling means having a pen pal, a friend somewhere far away from you with whom you write letters. Did I say letters? Yes, those things you write with pen and paper, you fold and put into an envelope with a stamp and then throw in a mailbox. Letters.
It’s a very unusual thing to do in 2021, when we have all sorts of instant and free communication media, but I can tell you that there is an entire underworld of people who are tired of the “here-and-now” communication of the XXI century and still like to exchange letters to share thoughts and daily life stories.
In this article we will talk about how to make some household products, i.e. house cleaning stuff.
If you ever searched for formulas online for making a surface cleanser or a dishsoap or other household cleaning products, you will probably have found any kind of weird stuff made with “100% natural ingredients” that go from lemons to baking soda to whatever you can find in the kitchen.
Let’s be honest: that’s all bullshit.
If you want to clean the surfaces of your house, you need to use a product that (i) contains something able to clean, and (ii) that does not become the home to billions of bacteria and mold in two weeks. In other words, you NEED TO USE THOSE F**ING CHEMICALS. This does not mean that your house cleaning products will be harmful. Using a cleaning product that contains a surfactant and a preservative (or has a pH low or high enough that it’s microbiologically stable anyway) is much less harmful than using a viscid mixture of rotten lemons.
If anyone of you was actively following me on Instagram, they may have noticed that I haven’t been posting since October last year. Some may have seen some stories from time to time, but in the last month or two I never even logged in.
I bet that most of my Instagram followers did not really noticed any of this, because sometimes people simply do not appear in the feed for no reason because of the algorithm (even if they are posting) and they are just forgotten by anyone who was aware of their existence before.
So, probably you did not notice at all and you are not even interested in this article, but I would like to write here anyway why I feel quitting social media was the right thing for me. Because maybe it’s the right thing for someone else, too.
Remember my “low waste bathroom“ from some time ago? I was very proud of that picture, since it took me months of getting rid of old products and testing new formulations before I could get there.
However, in the months that followed I encountered a more or less unexpected problem: time. As you have seen from my disappearance from every channel – including this blog – after I started my new job my free time became almost zero and with it, also my will to spend entire afternoons making cosmetics. On the top of that, I became a bit suspicious concerning the microbiological stability of self made cosmetics containing water. All this brought me to the need for a more minimalistic cosmetic routine, which would allow me to spend only little time making stuff and at the same time having less and less packaging around.
So, here is how my (and my husband’s) bathroom closets look like today.
Here you can find the first solid cleanser. In this updated version I only changed the type of clay and the functional ingredients. And I took a better picture 😀
I also started to put all the ingredients that have to be heated in the same beaker, instead of splitting them into “surfactants” and “fats”. Nothing really changes and you can save time and energy (you have to wash one beaker less).
Do you remember my article about my nail journey? Back then, I told you about how I quit biting my nails and I showed you my nailcare tips and routine to keep my nails long without using acrylics or gel polish.
However, I also told you that since last year I am struggling with keeping my nails long, because after the PhD I went back to playing the piano regularly. Playing any instrument is typically not compatible with having long nails, unless you are a classic guitarist (then you are allowed to have long nails on the right hand, but not on the left).
I find that the piano allows a certain length, but then it is impossible to keep a nice manicure for even just a few days without it starting to chip immediately.
That’s why I decided to give another chance to the gel nail polish. I had so-and-so experiences in the past with making it at home, I had the impression it did not last long and that my nails were damaged afterwards. But back then, I didn’t know all my hacks on how to take care of long nails that I learned when I had long natural nails. Now I found my way to have a nice manicure for two weeks without chipping and playing the piano every day at the same time. And that’s what I’m going to tell you with this article.
Here is an updated version of my gel toner. I like to use it in summer, when sometimes I don’t really feel like using a cream, and sometimes I use it right after having cleansed my face, before I put the cream in the evening.
As scientists or former scientists, we keep telling people that they should get information from “reliable sources”, i.e. scientific studies, manuals, whatever comes from the scientific community. We keep saying it also when it comes to cosmetics and DIY.
But at some point I realized that only those who had anything to do with research and science actually know what are papers, where can you find them and how the whole publication system works. The “normal” people have (rightfully) no clue of what is a scientific paper and how is it different from an article in a newspaper.
Therefore I decided to write this little guide for non-scientists about scientific literature. I will tell you something about the scientific publication system (spoiler: it’s an awful and unfair world) and about the type of literature that you can find online.