zero waste bathroom

Sorry for the lack of postings! I have over a dozen almost-ready drafts I have yet to publish, because I seem to never get enough consecutive minutes. I sure have missed blogging! I hope to be back more often now, with holiday-related posts and plans for 2017 (I love a good resolution plan).

My 2016 has been a rocky road to zero waste (with plenty of detours), but I’m as committed as EVER. I can’t wait to take it all even further in 2017, as so much of 2016 entailed using up what I still had! It took me 10 months to use up the gigantic bottle of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash I already had before starting zero waste. I was chomping at the bit to make the zero waste switches, but of course wanted to use up the old product responsibly first. It was actually really nice to have the luxury of time to research zero waste options, though. While I was kicking butt in the kitchen with zero waste, I was kind of nervous and at a loss with how to replace toiletry items (and TBH I still am stumped over a few).

But I’ve spent the past months following zero waste bloggers and Instagramers, reading books, and just doing research on some of my options out there. A big goal of mine is always to consolidate products as much as I can, so I didn’t want to swap one-for-one if there was a better alternative out there that can multitask.

This is the extent of what I use body and hair-care wise (though after creating this collage I also began using a Lush conditioner bar and love it, too).

zero waste bath and body1.Lush shampoo bar // 2. Lotion bar (shown is Lush but I make my own) // 3. Stainless safety razor // 4. Lush deodorant bar // 5. Lush tins for the soap, shampoo, and conditioner // 6. Coconut oil (as a leave-in conditioner when needed, and as body lotion), and 7. Lush soap (I also use the soap to shave.)

I chose LUSH products because: they are organic, cruelty free, and naked in packaging.

I have to say it took a week to get used to the shampoo bar, but now my hair looks and feels the same as before. I’ve been using a conditioner bar after each shampoo as well, and I use coconut oil – a tiny amount – as a leave-in conditioner about once a month. That’s it! To extend the life of the bars, I let them dry before putting in the tins, and I keep the tins in a cabinet between showers.

One of my favorite zero waste switches BY FAR is my stainless razor. I now only have to replace a blade occasionally (dirt cheap, packaged in huge quantities in cardboard). The reason I love this so much is that it’s going to save me SO MUCH MONEY over time. The price of razor cartridges for those girlie razors is out of hand, and the packaging is awful. I feel like I’m giving Gillette the middle finger every time I shave my legs.

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This is a (terrible) picture of my bathroom drawer. In it you see: glass jars of ACV (for toning) and coconut oil, a jar of my homemade toothpaste, sustainable toothbrush, various dropper bottles of face oils like jojoba and rose hip, (trying to find the right combo for winter..), reusable eye makeup remover pads, Lush deodorant bar in a mason jar, Lush hair honey in a tin, Burt’s Bees night cream and day cream* (the day cream in plastic:(), homemade lotion bar, glasses, contacts, and contacts case. And a comb and pins/elastics I’ve had for years.

In addition to these items and the shower items, I have a few things under my vanity: a small cosmetic bag with makeup* (most pre-ZW, as I’m trying to use it up responsibly), one (metal) can of hairspray*, sunscreen (in plastic*), contacts solution (also plastic**), hair styling heat tools, a few headbands/headscarves, a small stash of nail polish (trying to decide if I can part with this!) and manicure supplies, a luna cup, and 5 washable menstrual pads. That’s it!

*I’ll be phasing these all out in the coming months..

**There is no avoiding the trash generated by my bad vision, and for that, I am so sad. To cut back on the packaging I do try to wear my glasses more often (so I don’t have to change contacts as often or use as much solution). I also think they make sustainable contact lens cases, but as most solution comes with a plastic one, purchasing additional ones would be redundant. One day I’ll get LASIK, but for the next many years it will probably be my last bit of remaining plastic in the bathroom. 😦

Still, I’ve come so far! I love my new regimen – it all feels so simplified and freeing. I’m completely marketing-proof when it comes to the beauty industry, and I love that because they are the worst. Best of all, I generate so little trash in the bathroom. A big future goal needs to be to convince Hubby to make some switches, too… a post for another day!

organic calendula face bar recipe

I will occasionally find myself doing the hippie-dippiest things and it makes me ridiculously happy. The other day while Hannah was napping, I was making my own face soap. With Calendula petals I dried myself. From flowers I grew in my garden. From seeds. That I obtained from an organic seed swap.

ImageI’ll let you digest all the crunchy goodness of that.

Calendula is awesome for the skin – it brightens and protects it from blemishes. It also fights infections and encourages collagen production. I wanted to share the recipe for this really easy soap. Everything in it is super good for your skin.

ORGANIC CALENDULA FACE BAR

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2lbs Castile soap base
  • 1/2 TBS Shea Butter
  • 1/2 TBS Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 TSP Vitamin E Oil
  • 1 TBS Organic Raw Honey
  • 6-8 TBS dried Calendula petals
  • 20-30 drops essential oil (optional). I used Wild Lemon.

Here are all the ingredients gathered up.

ImageDIRECTIONS:

  1. Cut Castile soap base bars into small chunks (about 1″x1″). Place in microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Heat soap pieces in microwave in 30-second increments, stirring between, until melted.
  3. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  4. Pour into your mold of choice. I used a cleaned half &half container with the top cut off because I like the idea of small, perfectly square soaps. You could also use a greased muffin tin, silicon soap or baking molds, or silicon ice cube trays for small soaps.
  5. Let the soap sit for at least 12 hours. Remove from your mold and cut into bars. Package any way you like. I like to wrap soap in parchment paper and add my own labels with the ingredients printed, especially if I give them away as gifts!

Here’s the soap poured into my fancy mold. A lot of the petals floated up, giving the top of the mold the most organic matter in it.

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Here’s the finished product. Cutting about 1 inch thick slabs, this made 8 bars. I gave most away as gifts, but had a couple leftover for myself. It smells so good!

calendula soap

PS: You don’t have to grow your own Calendula to make this; you can find anything online. I like Majestic Mountain Sage and Mountain Rose Herbs for all the supplies I use (in addition to the grocery store, and DoTERRA for the essential oils.)

styling my new-mom-self – summer edition

Last summer is a complete blur of sleep deprivation, learning about babies, and trying to transition to a work-at-home mom. I don’t even remember what I did or how I looked when I did it. It’s crazy to think it’s been 16 months since having a baby, because I still feel very much post-partum.

This summer feels different, in that I’m actually rested enough to know what season it is. 🙂 I feel a bit more like me again. I *finally* made time this last week to color and cut my hair. I’m off the henna. It just takes too damn long! I gave all of my stash away. 😦 So I did a DIY box color during Hannah’s nap time one day, and my mom watched her while I went and got a haircut. It’s a really choppy-layered long a-line bob. It does the messy-wave thing quite nicely, and I love that style because a little heat and humidity doesn’t mess with it too much, and I can extend it a few days with just a couple of touch ups, some dry shampoo, and sea salt spray. Hooray for low-maintenance! Perfect mom hair.

new hair frontnew hair side

Hubby and I have been talking about actually going on dates again. We need it. Well, at least I do. I need conversation without distractions and I need a break from the 24/7-ness of having a toddler. But it’s embarrassing to admit that I have (nearly literally) nothing to wear to go out. At least not in the warm season. At least not if I don’t lose the baby weight. There’s enough guilt and shame in our lives to have to apologize for not “bouncing back” immediately (or 16 months after..cough cough) after having a baby. So I’m not apologizing for it, OR making excuses for it. I’m working on it.

But the meantime is awkward. I don’t need, or have the time, to feel crappy about myself. I know it’s not so much about my size, as it is the futile attempts to look put together when nothing I own is doing me any favors. So, because my birthday is coming up, I am going to use it as an excuse to get myself something decent to wear for a nice summer date. Maybe with a reason to wear something other than yoga pants 90% of the time I’ll be a little more motivated to eat kale.

Here are a few ideas I put together (the first for casual day-dates and the second for slightly nicer evenings out) that will (theoretically) flatter my mom-bod AND keep me cool when it’s 100 degrees. (I have some items similar to a few things shown here).

summer casual styleFor the casual styles, I basically picked belly-hiding tops with wear-to-death denim. I don’t mind showing a little leg if the upper half of my body is covered with distracting colors, prints and layers. 🙂 My favorite is probably the second from the left – floral shorts are different and fun and I have a similar vest.

summer date night style For the evening looks, I picked mostly darker colors (more flattering on me and fine for summer evenings). My favorite item on this board are the shoes from the second look and the top on the third look. The third look is actually a bit too trendy for my liking – on someone else it’s great but I’d feel a little self-conscious. The last look is easiest though – I already have the top and similar sandals and earrings.

The hardest part is actually shopping for things I like – thus gathering ideas ahead of time. It saves me time when I can shop with a mission rather than wandering aimlessly. Any faves from the outfits? And any fun summer date ideas for me? I’m truly out of the loop with it all! 😉

diy deodorant.. no, seriously.

Do you ever feel like really simple, little things can be totally life changing? Maybe the day before you didn’t know it existed, or at least, you didn’t care that it did, and you can’t believe how unenlightened you were? That’s how I felt about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, David Bowie’s “The Prettiest Star,” and kale. And now… the beautiful knowledge that I can make my own earth-friendly, aluminum free deodorant without smelling like that kind of hippie.

I made this super easy recipe from Crunchy Betty (heart her) and have been.. um.. testing it.. for the past several days. True, it’s been chilly and rainy here, and not exactly sweltering, sweaty weather for a hard-core smell test. But I can at least confidently say that this stuff works – smell and dryness- for normal day-to-day, spring weather with a sprinkling of cardio and yoga sessions.

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It is so easy. You just mix the following ingredients together, and pour into a container.

  • 1/4 c. baking soda
  • 1/4 c. cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
  • 5 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • Essential oils (I used peppermint – check out Crunchy Betty’s post for her suggestions)

The verdict: Everyone’s different in this department, but I am sold. Yes, you have to use your fingers for this instead of a stick you can just swipe on, but that doesn’t matter to me at all. Coconut oil begins to melt at room temp, so the consistency of this stuff will vary based on the temps in your bathroom. It’s going to last forEVER, because you only need a tiny amount. The smell is so lovely without the essential oils, so you could skip them, but I just really like to use them. And it’s really moisturizing, so no itchiness, but the baking soda and cornstarch keeps away the sweat.

The comments on the blog and in Crunchy Betty’s post led me to expect a period of adjustment while my body got used to gentler ingredients, but there was no adjustment for me. Perhaps that is because I’ve been using Alba brand for a while, which doesn’t contain the really harsh stuff found in Secret and other commercial brands. This, however, is better than Alba (or Tom’s) because while those didn’t make me stink, they didn’t keep me as dry.

Would you dare to give this a try?

 

stretch that makeup budget with some mixology.

The other day I was doing a cosmetic and beauty product purge, as I’ve been replacing my commercial products with homemade varieties (more on that later). I wanted to share a couple fun and frugal discoveries I made.

First, I gathered up all the eyeshadows I just wasn’t using. You know- those palettes with a couple colors you never use? Or one that I just couldn’t use because it make my eyes itchy? Since all my wayward shadows are random shades of brown and tan, I decided to see if I could make my own bronzing powder with them. Because bronzing powder is the only thing I always wear, besides mascara, I knew that I would definitely use it up that way! All  you need for this is the shadow palettes, and corn starch. I also had a tiny bit of another bronzing palette (Physician’s Formula) and a Bare Minerals bronzing powder to mix in.

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I made two variations. For the first, I used my lighter, brighter shades – anything with gold shimmeries and pinky hues. Pretty!

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I crushed it up with the back of a spoon until it was in a fine powder, then added corn starch a teaspoon at a time until it was the color saturation I wanted.

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In the photo above you’ll see a little bottle of lavender essential oil – I added one drop and mixed well to give it a nice scent – but this isn’t necessary at all. This powder came out lovely! It’s a great everyday powder, over foundation or not, and has a tiny subtle highlighting. The cornstarch doesn’t dry out my skin at all – and I have dry skin! In fact, I have dry shiny skin. Which doesn’t make sense, but it’s true. This powder gives me a nice glow while still making my forehead look less reflective – haha!

The second powder I made was created using up some browner shades, and turned out much darker – more of a contouring powder, which may be fun (if I were more adept at applying makeup! I will have to practice..). I decanted my powders into little plastic containers with lids. These are the kind you make jello shots with, but they are perfect for little projects like this.

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The second fun thing I made is a really easy tinted moisturizer. I am a bit of a cheapskate, but somehow I had been suckered into indulging in some seriously spendy (for me) beauty products last fall. First, some MAC foundation I didn’t actually love (it was too heavy) and some Philosophy moisturizer that justified its way into my life on a particularly low self-esteem kind of day (damn you, you genius anti-aging marketing ploys!). Well, I forced myself to use up that MAC foundation to justify the cost, and both products were running low. The little pump on the foundation was not able to get anymore from the bottle, but there must have still been $5 worth of makeup in there!

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Rather than toss it, I thought I would mix the products together and make a super fabulous tinted moisturizer. Turns out – that works perfectly – but even that tiny dab of makeup went really far when mixed with the cream, so I ended up making two small containers of it.. for the second I used the end of another face lotion I had – Boots brand. The Philosophy creme made a nicely-textured tinted moisturizer, but the Boots one is slightly oilier-feeling and I don’t know why. Since I have dry skin, a little extra oil isn’t a big deal, but I thought I would mention it.

I won’t have to buy makeup for months – and because all of the resulting concoctions are lighter and brighter than the products I used to make them from, they are perfect for summer.

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What do you think? Do you mix up your own custom cosmetics – or would you try this?

DIY sugar body scrub

File this under.. why didn’t I try this forever ago?!

This weekend I whipped up the sugar scrub recipe from The Bust DIY Guide to Life.

I just finally picked up a copy of this book, and I LOVE it. Mostly I love it because it reminds me of being in college. I LOVED BUST Magazine. This book has lots of easy DIY tips and projects that aren’t fit for Pinterest fame or Martha Stewart Living, admittedly. It’s just good-old-fashioned fun. I needed to be reminded that not everything you make has to be a Pottery Barn copycat to be cool.

Anyway. Back to the scrub. I made a Whole Foods run this weekend (it’s a 30 mile journey ;)) and picked up all the supplies. Which are:

  • Raw sugar (1 cup)
  • Pure almond oil (1 ounce)
  • Vitamin E oil (1/2 tsp)
  • Cocoa butter (a “dab”- not required)
  • Essential oil (up to 6 drops – I used vanilla)

The instructions are ridiculously simple. Mix the sugar and almond oil in a bowl. Add the vitamin E oil and cocoa butter (which you will need to microwave in a small bowl – it’s a solid). Add a few drops of essential oil and mix again. Store in a jar.

I used some jars I had on-hand that once had things like pickled jalapenos and kalamata olives. I spray-painted the lids lavender and used scrap-booking stickers to label the jars. I covered the stickers with clear packing tape. (The collage-y look of this is SO 18-year-old me.)

The scrub smells sooo good, and would compete with any you could buy. Now that I have all the supplies (I would have to buy more sugar is all) I could make up tons more of this for Christmas gifts, which I just might…!

fall cleanse – october is detox month!

It doesn’t seem possible it’s October already. I’m almost done with a class I feel as though I barely started, and starting another in two weeks. Work has been chaos. Our NYC trip is fast approaching (mere DAYS!).

The last few months have been way too hectic. I miss the days when I could keep taking on more and more and just use a little concealer under my eyes to hide the fact I was sleep deprived. But I guess aging means minding the important details and taking better care of myself because lemme tell ya.. it’s starting to take its toll.

Since it’s a new month, I decided it was a good time to come up with a new regimen for myself – one that focuses on taking better care of myself and reducing stress. It’s nothing too crazy, but I have incorporated a few inexpensive and simple healthy activities to my personal care routine, and I’ll be focusing on holistic detoxing.

(Please forgive the lack of detail on these, but I’ve linked to the information I am following. As a newbie, I am trying these tactics by-the-book, and I didn’t want to re-write the processes here until I make them my own (meaning, once I have established a real routine I will post about what’s worked for me). I’m no expert, so I’m linking to more information for anything that may interest you. I’ll report back on these at the end of the month.

  1. Daily coconut oil-pulling. Have you heard of this process? Essentially this entails vigorously swishing a tablespoon of coconut oil (or another oil – olive or sesame are cited in a number of pieces written about this) for 20 minutes a day upon waking, prior to eating or drinking. You then spit out the oil and rinse with water, then brush/floss as normal. (And yes, it’s a long 20 minutes, but it’s doable). This process cleanses the mouth making your teeth and gums healthier (and healthier-looking), and supposedly absorbs/flushes the mouth of bacteria and toxins that invade into your system causing a myriad of health problems (they say most diseases begin in the mouth). The benefits are things like clearer skin, decreased joint pain, better digestion, better breathing, lessened PMS symptoms, reversed gum recession, etc. As I’ve only been doing this for 4 days, I am not yet sure what benefits I will experience, if anything, but I can vouch that my mouth feels clean and my breath stays fresh, and my teeth look brighter (which in my opinion is the number one thing a person can do to look younger quickly!) After 30-40 days I will follow up on the experience.
  2. Daily body-brushing. Remember the impact that Alicia Silverstone’s book The Kind Diet made on me? One of the sections in the book discusses some of the ways you can be kind to yourself, other than revamping your diet. She mentions body-brushing as a way to brighten your skin and “love yourself” in her happy hippie-dippy way. I think that was the first time I’d heard of it but since then I’ve seen it mentioned all over the place, so I finally started giving it a try last weekend. This is a detoxing and exfoliating process – ridding the skin of environmental toxins effectively, and allowing for better absorption of moisturizers. It increases circulation which brightens and tightens the skin, so it’s supposed to reduce cellulite. I bought a long-handled natural brush and followed Alicia’s instructions. I do this every night before a shower. I love the tingliness after dry-brushing, and my skin does feel softer (I think). I’ll follow up on this one later, too. (http://www.naturalnews.com/025240_skin_natural_brushing.html)
  3. No-shampoo. ‘Poo-free, if you will. I’ve eliminated washing/conditioning my hair. After switching to henna color, I also switched to a natural shampoo, with mixed results. I loved the feeling initially. But after a week, my roots felt incredibly greasy, probably due to the fact that for the first time ever, my scalp had to produce some oil. I tried extensive daily brushing to better distribute the oil, but that made it worse. I’ve never, ever had oily hair in my life and I couldn’t get used to having to wash every day. Such a hassle. So, I’m trying a new hair regimen: baking soda and apple cider vinegar. And for the first time since using the natural shampoo my hair feels clean! And the cost is pennies. Literally. Maybe 2 cents a batch. This may change my life. Again.. I’ll follow up after my trial month.
  4. Weekly hot-yoga. I’ve signed up for this and can’t wait. I’ve been upping the cardio the past few weeks, but my yoga class is too early in the day to get to them on time these days (working more hours) and I’ve been missing it. The studio I was taking Belly Dance classes from offers a hot yoga class I’ve been meaning to try to now’s the chance! And if you don’t know what hot yoga is, it’s exactly what it sounds like. The room is cranked to 95 degrees and you sweat out the bad and get super bendy. It may turn out to be my personal idea of hell. But I’m gonna brave it.. and I think I will love it. (I’m heading back to belly dancing this week, too!).
  5. Vegan-for-a-month. (It’s World Vegetarian Day today, by the way!) This one’s obviously the bigger commitment, but shouldn’t be much of a stretch for me. I’ve been lazy, lazy, lazy with my diet and feeling a lack of energy (and totally horrible about myself – it’s all connected!). So I’m going to kick off my healthy month with an immediate strict dairy-free diet.

So that’s my inner and outer detoxing plan for the month. Happy, healthy October!