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

 

This one’s for the ladies…

Alright ladies here’s a question for you…it’s a bit personal, and perhaps slightly taboo to discuss openly…but how much do you really know about your monthly cycle?

Yep, I’m talking about the monthly (or thereabouts) reminder of the empty status of our uterus. Mother nature, our monthly bout of crazy, Aunt flow…You got it, I’m talking about periods.

Right about now I’ll bet you’re wearing a stank face and grimacing at the thought of your period. Or better yet, like I was a few months back, simply shaking your head and wondering how any female on the planet could possibly have a “normal” cycle when yours is so completely out of whack.

But what constitutes “normal”? A 28 day cycle with ovulation on day 14? A 3 day period, or a 7 day period? What about fertility, when are we supposedly fertile? When our handy dandy period app tells us, or is it wrong?

I don’t know about you, but I had lots of questions just like those running through my mind, especially when I happened to talk to my doctor about how I can skip up to three months in a row each year and not have a period for 90 days or so….her response? “As long as you’re having a period once every 4 months or so, you’re fine”…. you can imagine my reaction to that one, it was somewhere along the lines of WTF are you talking about?

But let’s go back and give you a bit of background information…
I was an early bloomer, with my first period happening in the sixth grade. I still vividly remember when I got it, and my reaction (which I’m not going to detail) but the gist is I knew it would be coming soon (thanks to a bit of prep from my mother and a very uninformative sex-ed class in the fifth grade where they skimmed over everything) and so wasn’t particularly surprised by it’s arrival except for the sheer amount of discomfort and pain that came with it. That “Oh dear lord I must be dying” sort of pain, that was me every month without fail. It was miserable. I despised my periods.

Fast forward a few years, many periods, ridiculous amounts of cramping and other unmentionable yuckiness, and lots of skipped months and I had simply determined that my cycle wasn’t and would never be “normal” because I was never able to predict when the next one would happen. The unpredictable nature of my period was a huge stressor for me because once you’re about 50-60 days past your last period you start to get paranoid about when the next will show up and surprise you. My cycles were anywhere between 19 and 94 days, and it was driving me insane.

Periods were not only stressful, but completely debilitating for the first two days. I was literally beside myself with pain to the point where I ALWAYS took a sick day from school if my period started anywhere from Monday through Friday.

Now I knew that certain foods and exercising before my period would help with the pain, but I never knew when my period was going to show up so I was never prepared for it besides always having feminine products on hand.

I’m very aware that my problem was lack of knowledge about my own body and it’s internal processes, but I was quite ignorant beyond the fact that those parts of the female body were useful for sex and babymaking and a period was the shedding of your lining when you didn’t get pregnant.

Thirteen years of miserable cycles and I finally now know a lot more about my body, and I’m quite thankful that I do.

I’ve gone from never being able to predict my periods to knowing exactly when they’re going to show up within a 24 hour margin. I also know why I get a random day of cramps halfway through my cycle (hello ovulation), and know what a basal body temperature is and how it has the ability to save my sanity. I also know what estrogen and progesterone are and their roles in my body. Safe to say I’ve learned a LOT.

Where’d I find this wealth of knowledge? This lovely gem of a book, I randomly picked it up at the library 13920478_10153992047306725_339519138044329955_oon a whim and it’s been the most informative book I’ve ever read. I learned more about my lady bits in a hour of reading this than in the first 23 years of my life combined.

*Fun Fact- did you know as a woman you’re only fertile 1 day of your cycle, the day you ovulate. It’s the combination of a man’s swimmers that makes your fertile stretch longer because they can last 4-5 days before they die!

The book has sections of information on how to track periods, fertility, a whole part on pregnancy, menopause, and even advice on how to use your tracking to prevent pregnancy (or ensure it) naturally and effectively. (Which is pretty handy information of you would like to apply Zero-waste principles not only to your period, but birth control as well)

It has completely changed my views of my cycle and I no longer dread my periods. The biggest part of knowing when your not only fertile but when your next period will be is charting your cycle. It’s a fancy way of saying you take your temperature first thing every morning before you get out of bed, and you keep track of it.  Your temperature alone can tell you if you’ve ovulated, if you’re pregnant, if your body is trying to ovulate but is having problems with it, etc. The rest is just listening to your body, like when you cramp and where, a little friend called cervical fluid (sounds gross, but it’s really not as bad as it sounds), and the changes in your body during your cycle (like bloating, tenderness, etc.).

I know, it sounds like a lot of work, but it is very easy to do and takes less than 5 minutes a day. It actually can help simplify your periods, believe it or not.

I’m three cycles into charting (where each cycle has varied in length by 10-20 days) , and I have predicted my last three periods down to the day. Since I know WHEN to expect it, I can now prepare for it by increasing my intake of vegetables and garlic beforehand (look it up, garlic does wonders for your time of the month), I also make sure to fit in a bit of extra stretching and exercise right before I start to lessen my cramps. Not to mention, I know when I should carry my menstrual cup and cloth pads with me to be prepared for it 🙂

The difference is like night and day. Granted the first day still sucks, but I can actually function like a normal human being during it now, no more sick days.

So if you think your period is as elusive as the wind, or that your body is out of your control, I would highly recommend checking out Taking Charge of your Fertility, even if you don’t read the entire book, copy the charting pages in the back and read the section on how to use them…it’ll make your life, and your cycles, so much easier to predict and handle. Plus I totally feel like a badass now that I understand the functions of my body. I am no longer ignorant, and believe me, when it comes to periods, ignorance isn’t bliss.

If you have any comments or questions I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Xo

Candice

Minimalist and Zero-waste exercise ideas.

Hey hey everyone,

So you’ve started your journey towards minimalism, zero-waste, or hopefully both and now you’re thinking about your health. Not only healthy eating, but maybe getting in a bit more exercise during the week.

The excuses people give for not exercising are endless, but most fall into three main categories. 1. I don’t have enough time/energy. 2. I don’t want to have to buy any special equipment. 3. I can’t afford a gym membership.

So, I’ve compiled a list. Ideas that don’t require a gym, fancy equipment, or a ton of time. They can be made easier or harder depending on your fitness level. Some use things people already have and some require nothing. I’ve got a few ideas for you and you can pick and choose which fit into your lifestyle. Maybe you start with an easy one, then a week later add another or swap out for a more difficult one…it’s all up to you.

Check them out…

  1. Ditch the expensive gym membership you hardly ever use and instead utilize your public library. They have hundreds of workout DVD’s for every age, shape, and interest. I personally have tried everything from yoga to hip hop dancing to ballet videos. I even tried a little Thai-chi. For those of you a little more hardcore they usually have weightlifting DVD’s or ones where the workouts are uber intense. The best part of this suggestion is #1- it’s FREE, #2- there’s no excuse not to go to the gym, because your living room is now your gym, and #3- they’re fun and waste-freeWIN_20160802_120635
  2. Okay, so you’re not into the library or DVD’s, heck, maybe you don’t even own a television. I’ll bet you have a radio, or an Ipod, or a cell phone that can play music. Strap that baby on and bop to the beat while you do dishes or laundry, kill two birds with one stone, and make your chores a little more fun while you’re at it.
  3. All right, so you’re a guy, and you think dancing while scrubbing your kitchen sink is a bit silly. You can always strap on the music and use it as a bit of a distraction while you go old-school and do manly push ups or sit ups. (I, unfortunately have the upper body strength of a wet noodle and can’t do push ups to save my own life lol)
  4. If you don’t like sit-ups or dancing, try going for a walk around the block, with or without music and with or without a walking buddy, it’s still a basic but great way to get a bit of exercise, not to mention some vitamin D. 🙂
  5. If you have a park near you, like I do, or even a school playground, go during the off hours when no kiddos are around and use the monkeybars or the swings to get in a bit of fun exercise. Or if you have kids, or can borrow some nieces or nephews, take them out and chase after them at the park for a few hours. Never underestimate the amount of exercise you can get with a little one running around.27023_116681815014717_3333171_n
  6. If you happen to own handweights or even a few heavy books you can use them to work out your arms by lifting and moving them around. You can also substitute young children for the handweights by carrying them around or doing that crazy thing dads do by throwing their children into the air before catching them…it gives me a mini heart attack every time I see it. (Disclaimer: I do not advocate things that could potentially harm the children in any way)
  7. If you happen to have a public pool near you, or even a beach, you can go swimming. Easy, and no extra stuff required besides a bathing suit…unless it’s a nude beach, but I digress…
  8. Sneak in exercise by doing things like parking in a spot further away from the store entrance, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Easy things that don’t seem like much, but they add up if you do them even a few times a week. (I may use the parking technique to make a few family members get a bit more exercise without their knowledge, but keep it on the DL)
  9. If you must check emails on your phone or computer at home, stand while you do it instead of sitting. It takes more muscles to stand, and as a bonus it might motivate you to put the phone down more often 😉
  10. Even if you’re PMSing and don’t want to move a muscle, you can stretch. In bed, lay flat and lift one leg up at a time and hold it before slowly lowering it back to the bed. Stretch your arms and your back, this isn’t the most invigorating exercise in the world, but some is better than none.
  11. If you’re short on time, try ten squats or jumping jacks or lunges the moment you get out of bed or right before you hop into the car to head to work. While you’re driving contract your stomach muscles and hold them for thirty seconds before letting go (just remember to breathe!).
  12. During work get up every half hour or hour and take a quick walk to the copier, or the bathroom, or just around the office.
  13. Instead of using the grocery cart to carry your totes to the car, heft one on each arm. (If you have more than two, bring a shopping buddy or just use the cart.)
  14. Instead of going to a car wash, get out there on a warm day and take a bit of time to wash it yourself. Just needs a little soap, a rag, and a bucket or two of water…and some elbow grease.
  15. If you have someplace you normally go, for me it’s the library, that’s within walking distance from your place, save the gas and walk there if the weather is nice enough. My library is about two miles away, so it’s a four mile roundtrip walk for me, and the bonus is I get to rest halfway at the library while perusing books and new workout DVD’s 🙂
  16. Grab a friend and do something fun like trying partner yoga poses or playing basketball. One I love is if you have a large group to play Ultimate-Frisbee. Check it out, it’s so much fun.
  17. If you’re in the mood for a new look in your bedroom or living room, try rearranging the furniture. It’ll get you up and moving, chances are you’ll capture a few errant dust bunnies while you’re at it.
  18. Go dancing with friends or your significant other, or just push the coffee table out of the way and dance there.
  19. If you have a lawn mower, use it without the fancy automatic moving gizmo, push it instead for twice the workout.
  20. If you or your kids are addicted to videogames, check some out from the library like Just Dance or Wii fitness.
  21. Build a snowman.251164_10150210546031725_6383626_n

All right, there are plenty more ways to get in a bit of exercise, but hopefully one of these might give you some inspiration for starting off.

Remember, it’s not about how many miles you run or how many calories you burn, it’s about making exercise fun and an easy part of your regular routine.

Have any other suggestions for minimalist/zero-waste exercise ideas? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Ten myths of Zero-Waste

Hey guys,

I’ve been noticing a few articles floating around that, in my opinion, completely misrepresent the lifestyle….hence today’s post on the myths of Zero-Waste.

Here we go…

MYTH #1

Zero-waste is a movement for only middle to upper class Caucasian women who are single and childless.

TRUTH #1

The Zero-waste movement is for ALL people to participate in. Now it does seem as though a majority of those blogging and promoting it do fall into that stereotype, but there are men and other ethnicities as well as parents living the lifestyle. There’s a comprehensive list of bloggers around the world who live it at zerowastebloggersnetwork.com

I personally fall into the stereotype, except for the middle/upper class thing…which brings me to my next myth…

MYTH #2

You need to have at least a middle class income to attempt Zero-waste.

TRUTH #2

I personally skate by each month on a very small income. Zero-waste has helped me lower my spending because I no longer need to buy things like tissues, lotions, hairspray, deodorant, toothpaste, etc.

That’s right, Zero-wasting has helped me SAVE money. Ka-ching!

MYTH #3

You need to buy fancy matching Mason jars, bamboo cutlery, and a butt-load of stuff to start your Zero-waste journey.

TRUTH #3

This one irritates me the most because it’s total bull. You can go zero-waste cheaply by saving glass pickle jars or spaghetti sauce jars and wash the label off before reusing them. Instead of buying a pack of hankies, cut up an old T-shirt and use that. Instead of getting a fancy set of glass jars for storage, check out your local dollar store or thrift store. Easily 3/4 of my containers I got really cheap from both of those places. Or if you have a friend who uses glass baby food jars, ask if you can have the jars when she’s done with them to use for bulk spices.

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jars (The one in the middle used to be a mayo jar) 😉

The order of operations: Use what you already have, ask a friend, thrift, then lastly buy new.

I think I’ve made my point 🙂

MYTH #4

It costs a lot of money upfront to start.

TRUTH #4

The only upfront costs I had were for a few jars from the dollar store, my divacup, cloth pads, and a safety razor. These were all investments that have paid for themselves in the past year since I am no longer buying their disposable counterparts. These products will last for years and years to come since they are resusable, so I expect they will pay for themselves multiple times before they finally wear out.

The other zero-waste purchases like bamboo toothbrushes, soapnuts, and alum stone deodorant are going to be repeat purchases, but their cost is similar or even less than the regular products.

MYTH #5

You are failing if your trash doesn’t fit in a Mason jar.

TRUTH #5

If you are even reading this post you are already winning and one step ahead of the game. Most people simply aren’t conscious of their waste- or, more likely they don’t WANT to be conscious of their waste. So they ignore it. Even if your only step has been to bring your own reusable bags to the grocery store, you are contributing to having less waste. EVERY STEP COUNTS!

My personal trash from the past two months does happen to fit in a small jar, but I don’t include pet waste in that factor because my pets do make quite a bit of litter waste and such. Which, for obvious reasons, I am not collecting in a jar lol.

But like I’ve said, I have been on this journey for over a year already, each person’s situation is unique and individual to them. Some have pets, some don’t, some have kids, some don’t, etc. As long as you are trying, you are pretty awesome in my book.

MYTH #6

You have to have special equipment to go Zero-waste. Bamboo utensils, jars, produce bags, etc.

TRUTH #6

So, okay, I have a glass water-bottle. I also have some jars for storage, and a reusable tote to take to the store. But do I have portable bamboo utensils to take with me to restaurants? No. Have I bought specific bags just for produce? No.

If I want to go out to eat, I pick a place with reusable flatware. If I want to buy produce I put it loose in my cart and loose on the cashier belt, and then loose in my big tote.

Now, that being said. There are things you will find you use and would be convenient to have for Zero-wasting. I personally like my water-bottle, and would it be nice to have bamboo utensils? yes, but I don’t need them right now.

The only things you will NEED to go zero-waste are a few containers that you can refill with bulk purchases, and a reusable tote for going to the store. End of story. Everything else can be improvised. (Except if you’re a woman who happens to PMS, then a menstrual cup or reusable pads are kind of necessary. The joys of being a woman, huh?)

MYTH #7

To go zero-waste you have to give up everything good like packaged chips and candy-bars, and the only way you’ll ever have good food again is if you become Suzy Homemaker.

TRUTH #7

Oy, where to begin. I do not buy chips, personally, since none come in packaging I find acceptable for ME. But I do cut up a potato and throw it into my little deep-fryer I have at home. Or a skillet. A few minutes later, voila, fried potatoes!

I also make things like salad dressing, because it’s easy to make. I have the skills to make my own mayo and barbecue sauce as well, but given that I use so little of them and they have enough ingredients that it is easier to buy BBQ sauce in a glass jar with a metal lid than make it myself, both materials being completely recyclable.

If I want a chocolate bar I make sure to find one that is in paper packaging that is easily recycled. (I simply won’t give up chocolate, sorry guys, I need it for that time of the month 🙂 )

MYTH #8

If you Zero-waste, you must not use contraceptives or toilet paper.

TRUTH #8

Whether you use contraceptives or not is a personal choice, I personally am a fan of not spreading diseases or getting pregnant unexpectedly. The trash that comes along with that is inevitable unless you get fixed, which isn’t an option if you want to have children.

Toilet paper is a touchy subject. I still use it since everyone in my household does. I haven’t gotten up the nerve to look into other options just yet, but I’m sure I probably will eventually. For now the best options are if you can get it wrapped in paper, or at least without the inner cardboard tube. Recycled is even better, but it depends on what your preferences are.

MYTH #9

You have to have tons of free time in order to worry about all the extra “work” that goes along with Zero-waste. I.e. grocery shopping, making products

TRUTH #9

Zero-waste grocery shopping is no harder that regular shopping once you have your system in place. I have little labels for my jars, and except for the first trip to the store where I had to get them weighed, grocery shopping takes me the exact same amount of time it did before. No big deal. You just take your jars or bags (if you are buying bulk items), fill em up, and pay for them. Easy peasy. It just takes a little big of gusto to make that first trip, but once you get the hang of it it’s a breeze.

You don’t have to make your own products to be zero-waste. It’s easy and convenient to make them yourself mostly, but it isn’t necessary. I only make one product regularly, toothpaste. 30 seconds, some coconut oil, baking soda, and peppermint oil, and I’m done. That’s it.

Most things have a purchasable replacement. Like bars of soap free of packaging versus body-wash, an alum stone instead of deodorant, soap nuts instead of laundry detergent, etc. It just takes a little experimentation to figure out what works the best for you.

MYTH #10

There is no point to Zero-wasting because the planet is already doomed and one person can’t make a difference in the grand scheme of things.

TRUTH #10

One person can make a difference. It might not be a ginormous impact, but you can impact yourself and the people around you. I’m not a perfect environmentalist by any stretch of the imagination, but every single time I go to the store I always get asked about my jars, and those two minutes spent talking to another person may or may not end up encouraging them to try it, or it might just remind them to bring a reusable bag to the store.

I might not save the planet, but I’m saving one plastic bag for each jar I use. One plastic bag every time I use my reusable tote. One plastic water-bottle every time I bring my own reusable one. One disposable toothbrush for every bamboo toothbrush. One more bit of empty space in my drawers for every cheap freebie I turn down.

It adds up.

I’d also like to think I help out by spreading the word through this blog, for those of you who read it.

So, if any of you have any comments or any other myths you’d like to share with me, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

XO

Candice

A question for the ladies ;)

Hi everyone.

I hope your holidays are going well 🙂

I have a specific question for the women out there, especially those who are trying to achieve zero-waste…

How do you stick to Zero-waste when you PMS?

Let me clarify.

I am not talking about pads, etc. I have that covered. Reusable cloth pads and a Divacup are my go-to waste-free alternatives.

I’m talking about food.

I don’t know about you, but when my first day hits and I feel like I am dying, everything goes out the window. I could honestly care less about the fact that chip bags aren’t recyclable when my insides are ripping apart.

Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. Bags of chips, and copious amounts of junk food are consumed for one day out of every month.

I am also one of those women whose stomach is quite the monster that time of the month…I’m talking about it growling constantly through the night, making me get up multiple times to feed it. And quite frankly when I am interrupted from sleep I want snack foods, I don’t want to have to warm anything up.

And before you say it, no. Fruit doesn’t cut it.

So the first day tends to be me, in the store, clearing out the chips and chocolate, and walking out of the store with a bunch of waste.

After the first day, my mind and conscious return with a vengeance.

But by then I have consumed all of the food anyway.

My question to you, is do you indulge that time of the month? Or do you have any zero-waste snack foods you make ahead of time?

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?

Baby-Step #13- Sustainable purchases

WIN_20150609_173614This is a picture of our Tupperware drawer. It is full of plastics, and it isn’t even the plastic that bothers me the most……it is the fact that it excessively difficult to match any lid with its proper container. This drawer used to be full to the brim of mismatched food storage containers and lids that didn’t have matches because nobody had purged the drawer in almost ten years. If you want something done right, or even just done, you usually have to do it yourself.

I started by purging all of the random pieces and this is what was left. My family is adamant that they are going to keep their Tupperware, so this is now their own drawer. I have commandeered a shelf in one of the cupboards for my own food storage. WIN_20150609_172207I no longer use plastic food containers…I instead bought two different colored sets of mason jars, and a small jelly set for keeping sauces and such. The two colors are blue and purple. They are glass jars with metal lids…that are interchangeable for ALL of the jars, no more hunting for lids for me! I keep my dry snacks in the purple jars, and any meats or wet stuff in my blue jars. The jars were pretty inexpensive as well, they were about $11.00 for 6 jars. While I was at it, I also bought a few glass bowls with lids and a metal lunchbot container to carry my lunch items in.

WIN_20150609_173642I figured that I had better start myself out on the right foot and buy quality items now, that I will be able to use for years to come, instead of plastic items that are bad for the planet and that start deteriorating within a year.

I have made a few other sustainable purchases in the past month as well. I bought a bamboo hairbrush and makeup brushes (I used to buy 2-3 plastic ones per year because they broke easily). I also bought a set of 4 compostable toothbrushes instead of buying a new plastic one. I purchased both a menstrual cup and reusable cotton pads.

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Aspiring to be both Zero-Waste and minimalist, these purchases have enabled me to simplify my daily routine into one that is sustainable. Some of the purchases were more of an investment than others, but they will pay for themselves in the long run because I will not be using any more money to pay for their disposable, cheap, plastic counterparts.

Investing for a more sustainable future, one step at a time 🙂

Baby-Step #9 -Eco-friendly PMS

There is one thing that connects every female on the planet…..we all have periods, every month. No one I know really talks about PMS….like it is some sort of taboo state secret or something. Come on ladies, let’s face it, if it weren’t for “that time of the month” NO HUMAN would be ALIVE.

That being said, I am going to go into detail about periods, if you are squeamish then I wouldn’t recommend reading the rest.

If you have gotten this far, congratulations, you must be really interested in having a more environmentally conscious period 🙂

I’ll start off with my PMS story….I started having periods when I was 11 years old. The only things I knew at that point were that 1. Periods hurt…..really bad. 2. Having blood drip out of your nether regions can be really exhausting. And 3. The only options to catch said blood (that I knew of) were tampons or pads.

I hated tampons with a passion….they were a pain to get in, and then they dried up your hoohah like the Sahara desert. Then somehow you had to get them out after they sucked up any moisture that would help the process along….yuck. So safe to say I decided that pads were the lesser of two evils. They feel like diapers and still make you feel like the Sahara, but at least I didn’t have to pry them out of my vagina.

Fast forward a few years and I found out that my uterus is tilted to one side, which is basically like having a kinked hose inside of you. It makes PMS a nightmare because blood was trying to run through the kinked part, which can be extremely painful. Basically the entire first 24 hours of each period felt like I was dying.

I literally had no clue that there were any other options to PMS up until about six months ago when I found an article on menstrual cups online. Shortly after I found out about reusable pads as well. I was quite skeptical about both options but I figured it would be worth it to try them out. I figured I would save some money and help save nasty pads from going to the landfill.

Buying both the menstrual cup and the reusable pads have been the best decision I have ever made when it comes to PMS. 🙂

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Now, let me explain why I use both. For me, with my tilted uterus, the menstrual cup doesn’t sit inside of me thee same way it would sit in a normal vagina. Remember the kinked hose analogy? Well the cup automatically adjusts itself inside of me to where it goes to the kinked part…and it props it open, basically forcibly removing the kink. Since the kinked part is higher up inside of my vagina, there is a bit of my lining that still sheds underneath where the cup sits, hence the pads as well. The cup takes care of 95% and the pad catches the other 5%.

Why don’t I just use the pads then? Well, since the cup props open the kink…..it completely got rid of ALL of my period cramps and discomfort. That’s right, I said ALL. Yep, no more period cramps for me! If I had known about this sooner I would have bought them years ago.

Alright, let’s talk about the products and care of them. I bought the Diva Cup (for those of you who do not know, it is a silicone cup that you place inside of you to catch the blood as opposed to absorbing it like a tampon would), and it is really easy to care for, each time you take it out you just rinse it and wash it with a very small amount of mild soap. When you are completely finished you just place it back inside of its’ cotton pouch for next time.

I would definitely recommend giving any menstrual cup a trial run before your period, that way you get the hang of getting it in and out. I did a run a few days before and it definitely helped me become comfortable with it. What I love about this product is that it can last for years and it does not absorb the natural moisture down there, which makes PMS very comfortable. When it is in, I don’t even feel it. You do get up close and personal with your own blood, but it isn’t that gruesome haha. Also there is no chance of ever getting toxic shock syndrome, which you can get from having a tampon in for too long, the cup can safely be inside of you for twelve hours without any problems. After that it will probably be full and need to be dumped.

The pads I bought were Luna pads, and I got the organic cotton version in plain white. They are very comfortable to wear, they snap right underneath your underwear. They recommend to rinse them and get most of the blood out before you wash them, the easiest way to do this is to take your little water-proof bag with the used ones into the shower with you and just do a quick rinse before putting them in the washing machine.

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I am not going to get into the exact methods for using the menstrual cup or all of the features of the pads, otherwise we would be here all day 🙂 There are plenty of how-to videos for each on youtube which are very informative. I watched probably a dozen of them before actually purchasing mine.

Honestly, both options are very eco-friendly, they can last for years…which saves you time, and money. Also you won’t have to worry about what happens to all of those used pads and tampons that you would have thrown in the trash each month.

Has anyone else tried these products? Would you recommend them? 🙂