Bathroom Essentials

Hey everyone,

I feel like it’s been a long time since I last posted about what I now use/don’t use in my bathroom/morning routine. Things have changed a bit, so here’s an update on my minimalist/zero-waste bathroom essentials.

Consumable products:

The first things I ever changed over were my toothbrush and toothpaste

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They have stayed the same. The bamboo toothbrush is compostable (except for the bristles) and the toothpaste is completely natural made from only coconut oil (Bought in glass jars with metal lids that I reuse for all sorts of things) , baking soda (that I buy from the bulk bins) and peppermint oil (optional ingredient).

Next up is deodorant

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I rotate between using an Alum stone and my homemade deodorant, I like the alum stone for lighter days when I know I won’t be sweating a lot, but I break out the homemade stuff for the crazier days. Made from coconut oil, baking soda, corn starch, and tea tree oil (again, optional). This bad boy can handle just about any amount of stinky sweaty pits you can throw at it.

For moisturizing and such I only use olive oil or coconut oil, but I only find I need to moisturize slightly during the dryer winter months.

Bar soap is my favorite thing, it comes without packaging at my local health store (except for one particularly pesky barcode sticker), and when it’s done, it’s done. No muss no fuss, no empty container to dispose of 🙂 I use this baby for hand washing as well as washing in the shower. Double duty, two for the price of one!

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Shampoo/Conditioner…..

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Yes I only use water, which sounded crazy to me at first too….but it totally works! The only time I use anything but water is in the rare case when my ends are crazy dry and need a bit of olive oil. I’ve been using the water only method for about six months now and absolutely love it. No stinkyness, no artificial fragrance, and bonus is I only have to “wash” my hair once or twice a week. Easy peasy.

On the days when I look a bit greasy and need to run I brush on some corn starch as a dry shampoo and comb it through.

Cleaning….win_20170227_133554

Baking soda, vinegar, a wash cloth or scrub brush (even an old toothbrush) and a little elbow grease will get just about anything out. I use it to clean everything from the bathroom sink to the tub and toilet. It also gets a lot of use in the kitchen, but that’s another post…

*For those of you wondering, Yes I still use toilet paper, and unfortunately it comes in plastic packaging. I live with other people and this is the only area I have not transferred to a zero-waste alternative as of yet…but stay tuned, I plan to try out my options sooner rather than later 🙂 *

Tools:

Essential to the water-only washing for my hair is these babies right here…win_20170227_132932

The first is a Boar bristle brush with 100% boar hair bristles, no plastic in sight. The second is a wooden comb, and the third a wood brush. I use the BB brush to push all those lovely natural oils from my scalp to the tips of my hair, keeping it naturally beautiful and conditioned. The comb and brush simply help with detangling. One hand mirror, a few homemade hair-ties out of old socks, a bit of cornstarch(a.k.a. dry shampoo) and a brush for it.

Then we have the basic tools of the trade…tweezers, nail clippers, a nail file, etc. Followed by my safety razor and razor blades. (If you haven’t tried out a safety razor yet, I would definitely recommend it!)WIN_20170227_133319.JPG

For my towels I made sure to buy 100% cotton towels and wash cloths. I’m a firm believer WIN_20170227_132621.JPGin keeping the synthetic fabrics to a minimum, especially ones that are going to be touching my face.

 

 

 

And of course, no post about  bathroom essentials would be complete without mention of reusable menstrual products for us ladies. Namely 100% organic cotton pads, and a menstrual cup. And a glass basal thermometer for tracking your cyclewin_20170227_133015

 

All of these products have saved not only the planet, but also my wallet and my sanity as well. There aren’t anymore midnight trips to the store to buy pads for this girl, it’s all ready to go whenever I need it.

win_20170227_133729There are a few products I bought a long time ago that I’m finishing and then finding replacements for….such as lip balm and a herbal salve for burns and such.

The salve I already have a replacement for….say hello to my new Aloe Vera plant! 🙂

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I plan to try and make my own lip balm once this one runs out. The last two things are ear WIN_20170227_133752.JPGwax remover and eye drops. I haven’t completely figured these guys out yet, but if you have any good ideas I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

 

This all may sound like a lot, especially if you’re just starting to change up your routine to be more eco-friendly. Don’t worry, take it one baby step at a time, I’ll still be here. Take a look around and check out all the links for more information on each product and for answers to any questions you may have.

As always, I’d love to hear about your minimalist/zero-waste bathroom essentials in the comments!

Much love,

Candice

 

My inventory of stuff.

All right, this is something that I said I would probably never do…like ever. But I finally did it, I wrote down a master inventory list of all of my stuff. Yep, I said it, I catalogued everything I own.

Honestly, it took FOREVER to write the list, and I don’t have a ton of stuff to begin with! Or at least I didn’t think I did. I’ve already done about a dozen purges, each time getting rid of more and more that I don’t really need but was holding onto for the moment of “just in case”.

Forcing myself to sit down and write a master list of what I own really made me take a hard look at each and every item and wonder “Is this item really necessary?”, I mean seriously, after writing so many different items down you get to the point where you would rather donate an item than have to write down anything else haha.

I won’t kill you all with every single detail of my inventory, but I thought I would share a bit of it.

When I started this list I thought I would make the lists organized by room, then I thought better of it and separated it into further categories. The categories are:

  1. Closet/Clothes
  2. Room Accessories
  3. Art supplies
  4. Technology
  5. Furniture
  6. Wardrobe Accessories
  7. Oils, etc. Consumables
  8. Personal items (pads, menstrual cup, razor, etc.)
  9. Items in my Armoire
  10. Items stored in the basement
  11. Desk contents
  12. Kitchen contents (only pots and pans, I didn’t count food at all)

The majority of items I found were smaller items that everyone has such as pens and pencils, miscellaneous desk items, and office supplies.

My biggest numbers were definitely in the Art supplies category…there I had 11 brushes, 43 paints, 5 sponges, 2 sketchbooks, 3 oils, 10 markers, 1 paint thinner, 16 pastels, 9 pencils, 9 erasers…..well, you get the idea. 🙂

I’ve always had a thing for creating paintings and sketches, it is a great creative outlet that is relaxing and in the end you are left with something either beautifully amazing or half-ways decent. My goal with the art supplies is to use the supplies that I have before I purchase anything else. I would eventually like to get to the point where I make my own supplies like paints etc. There was this book once that I browsed through that said you could make a paint brush out of cat whiskers….I have two cats who drop old ones all the time, I should have been saving them all these years!

Anyways, onto the other categories. I’ll spare you the details of my wardrobe since I already did a post on it here. Since that post I have minimized a few more items, but not enough to do an updated post yet. I also have eliminated most of the plastic from my closet. I no longer have the plastic bins, and half of my hangars have been swapped out for wood ones. But I digress…

The smallest categories tended to be those with larger sized items. My furniture category is as follows:

  1. Queen bed frame
  2. Queen mattress and box spring
  3. Armoire
  4. Dresser
  5. Desk
  6. 2 sitting chairs
  7. 2 lamps
  8. 1 desk chair
  9. 1 clothes hamper
  10. 1 chalkboard- it’s quite large and hangs on a wall so I classify it as furniture

That’s it for furniture, but then again I do live with other people, so I am fully prepared that when I live on my own I will probably need a few more items. 🙂

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Another category that I have kept rather small is my room accessories/decorations category…

  1. 3 blue glass jars/vases
  2. 1 glass tiger
  3. 1 candle
  4. 1 figurine
  5. 3 ceramic masks
  6. 1 African rain stick

The only thing that is sort of a decoration that isn’t in this category is my paintings, I left them in the art category just to make my life simpler.

For those of you wondering, I’ll throw out a few other numbers of things that most of us own.

DVD’s- I own 14 (I’m thinking about getting rid of a few)

VHS’s- 17…Yes I do still have access to a VCR, I’m a weird person but I still like my VHS’s.

Books- 225….this is still a large amount, but I used to own TWO THOUSAND, so it is quite an improvement. The one thing I have always loved is books.

Sheets- 2 sets, one for winter and one for summer. I also have 1 comforter.

Hair ties- 20

Hair pins- 20

X-mas stuff- 1 small metal tin of my favorite wood/metal ornaments that I display for the month of December and then put them back away. I can use hooks to display them on a wall or a metal jewelry holder to hold them up, I nixed my Christmas tree.

Sentimental items- I have mine confined to a space rather than a number, all of my sentimental items such as photographs or old school accomplishments are in one cardboard file box. That’s it, if it doesn’t fit then I get rid of something…like pictures of old birthday cakes or Christmas trees lol Who needs those?

Those are some of the numbers, which you may or may not consider minimalist. For me it is a far cry from what I used to have, and I continue to reevaluate my items on a weekly basis. What I like to do is keep one box by the front door and as I go about my daily business I can throw an item in there if I come across it and realize that I no longer need it. When the box is full I make a trip to the donation center.

I never thought I would do an inventory like this, but it has been an eye opener.

1. About the number of things I actually own.

2. About how many of those things are one-hit-wonders or made out of plastic (I’ve been phasing out the plastic on my journey to being plastic -free and a Zero-waster).

3. About how much is truly necessary, and how much is just extra fluff. We can survive on very little, but tend to consume to excess. I am now making more mindful purchases that I mull over for a time to really assess if they are a necessity or if they will add value to my life.

Now, considering the fact that this number is changing on a daily/weekly basis I am not currently 100% sure if it is accurate, but I will finally answer your burning question…right now my total number of possessions is somewhere around 900. 225 of which is books lol Another hundred or so are art supplies. So it may seem like a big number, but surprisingly enough it doesn’t take up a huge amount of space. I have 1 regular size room with a closet, and 1 shelf of space in our basement.

Have you done an inventory of your items? If so what did you learn? If not, would you ever consider making one?

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If you have any specific questions about numbers of any item, ask them in the comments. I would love to hear from you!

To vegan or not to vegan?

I’m just going to cut to the chase…I’m thinking about going vegan.

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Even six months ago, had someone even told me that I would consider it I probably would have laughed until my stomach hurt. The fact of the matter is that I do ENJOY meat.

Chicken, burgers, steak, sausage…I used to devour it all. But here I am contemplating the benefits of veganism. I started cutting down my meat consumption a few months ago simply because it is expensive to buy grass fed meats in minimal packaging. Then for some reason about two months ago the smell of red meat started turning my stomach…it literally makes me nauseous. Sooo, I cut back and ate more fish instead, but fish gets incredibly boring, and again is more expensive than organic fruits and vegetables.

I WANT to try going vegan (I already do not eat dairy products because of lactose intolerance, and I’m not such a fan of eggs anyway), but I’m slightly worried that I won’t be able to consume enough calories during the day.

Let me explain, I am 5’10” and on the skinny side of the scale. I don’t consume grains either because of intolerance (my stomach cramps for days if I eat them)…so if I go vegan my diet will only consist of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, healthy oils and vinegars.

That’s incredibly limiting. And I really don’t want to lose any weight.

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But I think I’m going to try it, at least for a few weeks to see how my body responds to it.

My reasons for trying/perhaps adopting veganism are:

  1. Budget, let’s face it…meat and fish are expensive, especially when you will only buy grass fed/wild caught through sustainable means.
  2. I’m already halfway there anyway, so why not go all the way?
  3. The way animals are treated before they get slaughtered is not something that you can be entirely sure of, unless you raise them yourself.
  4. Meat production produces a ton of carbon/methane emissions, and in general isn’t the healthiest thing for the planet.
  5. And lastly I’m curious if I can actually adopt the lifestyle and be content with my meals.

My rules for the next few weeks are…No meat or fish. No eggs. No dairy. The only animal product I am allowing myself is honey, because I already don’t consume very much sugar and honey is amazing. 🙂

Have you tried a vegan diet? Do you still enjoy it and live by it? What were your reasons for trying it? Let me know in the comments.

Minimizing Food Waste

Food waste can be the king of all waste for some…I should know, I used to throw away/discard food all the time and never thought twice about it. That is, until I started becoming a minimalist and zero-waster.

Simplify. Yes, simplify, that is the key to eliminating food waste. We all have those 5-10 dishes that we make incredibly well and are our go-to meals. I have found that by keeping my shopping to those ingredients for those dishes I have generated a lot less waste.

“but Candice, isn’t eating the same thing boring?”

That’s the thing, I buy the same staple ingredients, but that doesn’t mean that I have to use them in the same way every time I cook with them.

Let me give you an example…

A staple in my diet is potatoes, whether they be purple, white, or red. But I know at least seven or eight different ways to cook the potatoes, and that way I have one ingredient but I can use it a bunch of different ways. Whether you mash, roast, fry, put them in a stew, etc. It doesn’t matter, it’s one thing that I buy that does many different things.

Another brilliant example is coconut oil. This stuff is literally a miracle, it can be used for cooking, baking, in toothpaste, as a lotion, moisturizer, conditioner, etc. It does a million things, but I am only buying one jar at the grocery store.

Basically I buy things that can do double duty 🙂

So here’s an example of a recent grocery list:

  1. Potatoes
  2. Onions
  3. Garlic
  4. Bananas
  5. Apples
  6. Oranges
  7. Mango
  8. spaghetti squash
  9. Coconut oil
  10. Vinegar
  11. Eggs (pasture raised)
  12. Lemon
  13. And usually some sort of meat (local, pasture raised and grass fed.)

This may not seem like much, but I know how to use each ingredient in a few ways.Not only does this decrease food waste (because you know you are going to use your ingredients) but it also saves you money, because you aren’t buying a bunch of things that you don’t need/won’t use/ will go bad before use.

How I use a lemon:

  1. The zest can be used in salad dressings and cooking.
  2. The juice I use for cooking and dressings.
  3. I also use the juice for cleaning and for sugaring.
  4. What’s left over after that gets nuked with some water to clean out the microwave.
  5. And lastly, anything left over hoes in the compost.

Another way I cut back on food waste is by eating at least 90% of what is in my fridge/pantry before I make my next grocery trip.

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Yep, you read that right, before.

This cuts back on waste and it makes things interesting because I end up with a few random ingredients left at the end of each week that I get to play around with to make a new dish. Hence the “it doesn’t get boring” part 🙂

Lastly, I always compost any food scraps that I have left over at the end. So 0% of my food ends up in the trash can.

 

Home-made Condiments :)

Hi everyone, I hope you’re enjoying the New Year. I wanted to update you guys on my resolutions, as well as a few other challenges I have been a part of. I also wanted to show you the Condiments that I made today in less than 15mins.

First off, I’m coming up on my six month mark of being make-up free….and I really am not missing make-up as much as I thought I would. Actually, it is much easier to get ready in the morning without it…although I do sometimes wish that I had a bit of eye-liner, I figure once July roles around that I might try my hand at making my own make-up (mostly just eye liner and maybe a bit of powder). But all is going well on that front.

Secondly, is my resolutions….have you stuck with yours? I mostly have. I am just a few days away from being completely finished with my editing of my novel. I also have been following the no-spend 2016 challenge…except for $2, I spent it on a lotto ticket. Feeling kinda guilty, but it just doubles my resolve to keep denying myself and sticking to my minimalist budget.

Besides that, I finally switched my banking to sending me emailed statements instead of paper, reducing my paper clutter 🙂 I also wanted to spend more time in nature…but given the fact that it is only 17 degrees out, that isn’t going to happen until it warms up a bit lol.

The last one, which is what I started today…was to start making more things at home. Zero-wasting by using what I already have, and minimizing the things I need to buy.

Sooo…

I tried my hand out at making my own condiments today, and it turned out pretty well. WIN_20160111_142711From left to right we have barbeque sauce, mayonnaise, and a balsamic vinaigrette. The vinaigrette was the easiest, this jar has 3 lines on it that say V, W, O. Pretty much measuring out the vinegar, water, and oil that makes up the salad dressing. I already had the balsamic vinegar and the oil, so I was using ip what I already had, without having to buy a new bottle of salad dressing.
The mayonnaise was a bit trickier, the first batch turned out badly so I nixed the lemon and just used egg yolks, vinegar, Dijon mustard, and oil. I had all of them on hand already 🙂 It’s pretty yummy and less than half the cost of what I would pay for the same amount at the store…win-win!

Barbeque sauce…I’m still playing around with the recipe for this one, but each batch turns out pretty good. Basically it’s tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, sugar, honey, and some cornstarch and water to thicken it up.

So, all in all it was a successful experiment, and now I won’t have to buy condiments anymore. (for those of you who are wondering, I don’t really use ketchup which is why I didn’t make any)

I also had some extra time so I squeezed some fresh OJ…

WIN_20160111_144625Next stop…home-made Apple cider vinegar!

Zero-Waste/Minimalist changes in the bathroom

Hey everyone, since starting this journey I have made quite a few baby steps in the right direction. Since it has officially been a little bit over since months since I started this blog, I thought I would give you all an update on my bathroom progress.

I live with other people, so instead of starting with changes in the kitchen, I originally started changing things in the bathroom first. The first ever change I made was switching from store bought toothpaste to making my own, and I haven’t looked back since.

Here is a comprehensive list of my minimalist/zero-waste bathroom changes:

  1. Toothpaste– instead of buying plastic tubes filled with chemical goo, I now use baking soda mixed with coconut oil and peppermint oil. Very easy and simple to do. Six months in and my teeth look and feel great. 🙂
  2. Deodorant– I switched from deodorant in a plastic tube, to crystal deodorant that comes sold loose in a cardboard box. It is not an antiperspirant (so you will still sweat occasionally) but it prevents the stink. The only time I notice any stinkiness is if I do an intense workout, then I shower right after anyways.
  3. Soap– no more plastic pumps or wraps for me, I swapped out the plastic wrapped version for loose bars that I buy at the health store. Easy swap, and they are cheaper too since I don’t pay for packaging.
  4. Shaving– I swapped out disposable razors for a safety razor, and the cans of shaving cream for shave soap from chagrin valley. I absolutely love this switch, the safety razor blade has lasted over two months now without needing to be replaced, and I get a much better shave.
  5. Waxing– Instead of waxing in the summer, I sugar. It is completely edible and much gentler on your skin. Check out my post here.
  6. Lotion– swapped for coconut oil and avocado oil when it is extra dry outside.
  7. Face scrubs, etc.- I can’t believe that a few years ago I flushed plastic beads down the drain with the face-wash I used to use. I’m ashamed that I ever bought the stuff. I now just use water or a gentle fragrance free bar of the loose soap for washing. I also use castor and argon oil and rose oil for any moisturizing that needs to be done.
  8. Nail file-swapped out the cheapo one with a metal one.
  9. Shampoo/Conditioner– I originally used shampoo bars, but it wasn’t working with my hair type. They cleaned very well, but I found that my already oily hair ended up feeling waxy. Now I am using the no-poo method, but I am still playing around with the measurements of baking soda and apple cider vinegar.
  10. Make-up -I stopped using it. See why here.
  11. Nail polishnixed it too.
  12. Brush/comb– swapped out the rundown plastic brush with a bamboo brush.
  13. Tooth brushes– swapped the plastic ones for bamboo.
  14. Hair– I always keep my hair long, it just is easier for me… that and I hate short hair. The problem was that when I emptied my hairbrush I used to just throw the pieces away into the trash. Now I stick them in the compost. I do the same thing when I trim the ends too, hair is biodegradable after all. Same thing goes for nail trimmings.
  15. Tools– all of my tools are now metal or bamboo. Ex: nail clippers, tweezers, brushes, etc.
  16. TissuesHankies are the cure!
  17. PMS– swapped out disposable pads for reusable cotton ones, and tampons are gone and I now use the DivaCup.
  18. Cleaning Supplies– I ditched the harsh chemicals and now clean with lemon, vinegar, and baking soda.

Quite the list! The only things I haven’t found switches for  yet are toilet paper, ear wax remover drops, and floss. I also need to buy a bamboo toilet brush.

Are there any other changes you have made to your bathroom?

Tips for Healthy, Natural Hair

Hi everyone, since my last post was about my hair care routine, I thought I would do a follow up post about hair.

The questions I always seem to get are:

“How is your hair so healthy?”

“What shampoo do you use?”

“Is that your real hair?”

“How did you get it to grow so long?”

“Is that your natural texture?”

Yes, this is my natural hair. This picture was taken a while ago, it has grown longer since. It is now 3/4 of the way down my back.

I have really gravitated towards minimalism when it comes to my hair….mostly because I am kinda lazy 😀

  1. Zero-Waste/Minimalist shampoo, etc.578313_459239510758944_463276545_n
  2. Get a trim only when you see split-ends. You want to nip those guys in the bud before they get worse.
  3. I personally never use hair-sprays or volumizing junk on my hair, because it feels gross in my hair, and it doesn’t seem as healthy when I do.
  4. I use a bamboo hairbrush, the plastic ones seem to rip more hair out, the bamboo is gentler.
  5. If your ends are starting to dry, rub a bit of argon/coconut/olive oil on them and leave it in until your next shower.

Baby-Step #15- My face routine

Face care….at the store there is usually a whole half of an aisle dedicated to different products to wash, moisturize, tone, de-wrinkle, and scrub your poor skin. Why do we need so many? Half of which do not work anyway?

I am going to be completely honest with you, I struggled with severe acne for over 6 years. I tried every product and wash on the market, I even had prescription washes and medicines….none of them worked. Not One.

A few years ago I stumbled across a few articles about how acne can be related to food intolerances and allergies. Fast forward through a year of experimenting with my diet, and I found that I have severe problems with both grains and dairy. When I cut these out of my diet, voila` my skin improves and completely clears.

Once I got rid of the acne through a diet overhaul (more on that coming in another post), I found that there was no point in buying face-wash anymore because it just strips the natural oils off of your skin, and to combat that your skin makes more oils. It is also full of harsh chemicals that can irritate your skin. Besides that, all of the washes with the micro-beads are awful for the environment, the beads are made out of plastic that contaminates our water system. Who came up with the dumb idea that we should wash our faces with plastic? I want to know so I can go give them a piece of my mind.

So I now just gently rub a damp washcloth over my face twice a day. That is the extent of my “washing”. Simple, straight-forward, and doesn’t cost me anything except for the miniscule amount of water used.

As for the “moisturizer” component, I have a mixture of grapeseed oil and castor oil that I rub on my face each day. It sits in an old glass spice jar on my dresser. The oils have been great for my face, especially since I tend to get dry skin in the summertime. If I get really dry, I might add some argon oil on my face before bed, but that is it.

Before: skin-care-aisleAfter:

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