Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Essential Oil Flea Repellent: Hello Homemade

Now that summer is finally here in full swing, those if us with pets know that it is also the time for dreaded fleas!

Our chihuahua Sissy gets a bath almost everyday o get the fleas off of her. And she only goes outside to use the bathroom!
We have tried every flea and tick spray and gel that is out there, but they only seem to work until she gets bathed again.

My biggest issue with store bought flea/tick repellents and killers is thatched are FULL of chemicals and toxins.
When we sprayed Sissy a couple of days ago I almost choked on all the chemicals and toxins that were released into the air.

This is when I figured that there had to be a better and safer way to deal with these pesky fleas.
Enter: Essential Oils

For the last few weeks I have spent a lot of time researching and learning all about essential oils. What they are, how they work, and how I could practically use them in my day to day life.

Essential oils are natural aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants

I have learned so much and cannot wait until my diffuser comes in so I can have my home smelling fabulous without compromising the air with chemicals and toxins from candles. (I am sort of a candle junkie, so this may be a more difficult change than many of you are thinking)

But back to the evil fleas. When I decided to look for natural and healthy ways to get rid if fleas I immediately thought about essential oils (from here on out they will be referred to as EO). So I shifted my research to learn about EO and pets.
I found a plethora of information on all the ways you can treat and heal pets with EO, including a flea repellent!

I made a flea repellent spray that I could spray directly on my dogs, as well as on my furniture and around the apartment.
I also added a drop of EO to each of my dogs collars to help when they go outside.

There are several different EOs that work well to repel fleas such as:
• Eucalyptus
• Tea Tree or Melaleuca
• Lemongrass Essential Oil
• Pine Essential Oil
• Cedarwood Essential Oil
• Peppermint Essential Oil
• Lemon Essential Oil
• Lavender Essential Oil
• Orange Essential Oil
• Melrose Essential Oil
• Rosemary Essential Oil

Each of these would do a great job separately at repelling fleas, but a blend would be better.

Since I wanted to make some flea spray immediately instead of ordering some EO from online I stopped by Whole Foods. While there I saw that the brand Wyndmere had an EO blend called Breathe.

SODE NOTE: EOs are full of health benefits and a single EO can have multiple uses and purposes.

Okay, back to what I bought. As I just said, the blend I bought is called Breathe, and was created to help clear a persons clogged nasal passage caused from colds and allergies.
Well I decided to look and see which EOs made up this blend.
The Breathe blend by Wyndmere consist of 100% pure therapeutic grade Basil, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Pine, Rosemary, Lavender, and Cederwood.
Um....that means this blend includes SIX of the recommended oils for repelling fleas!
So I got it.
I already had peppermint EO at home that I had planned on adding to the spray as well.
So that means my spray contains 7 out of the 12 recommended oils! Woo Hoo!

Anyway.... Now to the recipe:
In a 4 oz metal spray bottle I added:
4 drops Peppermint EO
12 drops Breathe Blend
3/4 full of purified water
1/4 full of Witch Hazel

To use, just shake the bottle and spray.
You need to use this more frequently than the ones laden with chemicals and toxins, but it is well worth it to me! :)

It smells good, kind of rustic. But what I love about this is that it repels fleas as well as does 100 other beneficial things! So when I spray it in my home I get every benefit that each delightful EO used has to offer! How cool!

Now I'm sure you are wondering how these oils repel fleas. Well here is some info on some of them from The Whole Dog

A sweet-smelling, all-purpose insect repellent, lavender essential oil performed well in recent studies as both a tick deterrent and a method of preventing tick eggs from hatching. Additionally, Ohio State University recommends it for controlling fleas. A 2007 South African study found that formulas containing diluted lavender at rates of 10 to 20 percent lavender performed well as tick repellents when compared artificial DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) sprays.

A wonderfully fragrant oil that provides a pheromone interruption agent that impairs the insects mental capacity and repels them.

An oil high in menthol - it repels fleas, spiders and even mice.

While better known for its anti bacterial properties it is a great natural pest deterrent as well.

I am super excited to begin this EO journey.
I already have some diffuser "recipes" to try when it comes in!
I'm sure ill have several more post about EOs in the near future!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

DIY Foundation Powder: Update

In March, I started making my own foundation make up. That blog post can be found HERE

Making your own powder is as simple as mixing together some cornstarch (the base) and adding in some cinnamon and/or coco powder until you get your desired color.

I am always looking for ways to improve the things I make at home so I was thrilled when I found a "recipe" that called for mixing Green Clay with the cornstarch/arrowroot powder, cinnamon, and coco powder.

I found this great addition just in time since I used up the last batch of powder this week!
So for my new batch I started with 1 Tbsp cornstarch and 1 Tbsp Green Clay then added in the cinnamon and coco powder little by little.

You may be asking why Green Clay?!?!
Good question.
Green Clay is often used in resorts for facials and spa treatments. It’s pretty great at absorbing dirt, oil and bacteria while being gentle on pores.
You can also mix some of the green clay with apple cider vinegar or water to make a clay mask for your face that is detoxing and great at cleansing it! :)

I ended up getting the Indian Healing Clay at whole foods for $6.
I think I may try doing a face mask later this week!

DIY All Natural Toothpaste

Okay, I feel like you all should have seen this coming, right?!?
I mean I make my own everything, toothpaste was sure to be added to the growing list!

There are several recipes for DIY toothpaste, all including baking soda.
One recipe I found also called for coconut oil, which you all know I love me some coconut oil, but the recipe looked WAY too similar to my DIY deodorant (mis the cornstarch) and I don't think I could cope with that! ;)

The recipe I used is simple and the ingredients are probably already in your kitchen pantry.

2/3 cup baking soda
1/2 Tbsp peppermint extract OR 10-15 drops essential oil (you can use any flavor of extract/oil you want)
Water (add until desired consistency reached)
Dash sea salt (optional, I found it to be too salty, so I omitted it)

Combine baking soda, oil/extract and salt (if using) and add in water little by little until desired consistency.

To use:
I just dip my toothbrush into the jar of toothpaste. That's it.

I ended up making 2 batches of this. The first time I added the sea salt but when I tested it out it was too salty for me, and since it isn't a crucial ingredient I made another batch omitting it, which I liked better.

Heads up: there are no "suds" or "foam" when using this toothpaste but I can tell you that my mouth felt just as clean after I used it as it does with super expensive store bought toothpaste.

This toothpaste cost me about $.80 to make 5.3 oz. 5.3 oz of All Natural toothpaste cost about $7 in the store and regular toothpaste cost around $4.
So there are mega savings to be had when you make your own products at home!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Soft Caramel Chews: Hello Homemade!

Photo credit and original recipe can be found here

Almost every night I get a craving for sweets. Lately I have been indulging in watermelon, a lot of watermelon.
Although watermelon is delicious and healthy it's as if my bids knows that I'm trying to trick it by eating healthy sweets and sometimes still craves something sweet.

Enter: homemade chewy caramels.

I had a suspicion that I would have everything I needed to make some delicious caramels, and I did!

Most caramel recipes call for corn syrup, which is a big no-no for me so I was thrilled for one that used no corn syrup OR refined sugar!
Just honey!

They are super easy to make and so yummy!
I didn't think mine would turn out, but the did!
I didn't post a picture of mine because I haven't mastered the art of wrapping them up all cute in parchment paper, so I just left mine in the pan in the fridge.
Am I being lazy? Possibly. But they taste great whether they are cut into cute squares or scooped out with a spoon! :)

1 cup Honey
3/4 cup Heavy Cream (I USED ALMOND MILK)
1 1/2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
2 Tablespoons Butter

Combine honey and cream in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally while it cooks. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches soft ball stage, I used candy thermometer)
Remove pan from the heat and immediately stir in vanilla and butter. Stir until butter is completely melted and combined. Pour into a generously buttered 8 by 8 dish or smaller if you want thick large caramels. Place in the freezer to harden for 30 minutes. Cut into squares or scoop out with a spoon and enjoy!
Keep left overs in the fridge or freezer.

See, so easy. And they really are fabulous!

Homemade Mini Hot Pockets!

Okay, okay so maybe they are just stuffed crescent rolls, but they remind me A LOT of hot pockets.
Mini hot pockets.
Whatever you want to call them, I made some today. And they are fabulous.
AND, the possibilities are endless! You could do savory, sweet, salty, whatever you want!!!

For lunch, I stuffed my mini hot pockets with spinach, feta, and mozzarella. They were fantastic! Jonathan loved them! ;)

Can of crescent rolls (if I hadn't been in such a hurry. Would would have made my own dough)
Spinach (I used frozen, but fresh is great too)
Feta cheese
Mozzarella cheese
Spices (I used salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder)


Combine spinach, cheeses, and spices in a bowl and mix well.
Add a spoonful of mixture to each crescent, then roll and bake according to the directions on the crescent roll package.

As I said earlier, they were so yummy and reminded me of mini hot pockets!

Tonight to accompany our eggplant gratin I am going to make some more mini hot pockets with tomato, onion, garlic and cream cheese as the stuffing! I think they will be super yummy too! ;)

Below is a photo of what the stuffing looked like.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

My New Face Wash: Coconut Oil!

A couple of months ago I wrote THIS BLOG POST on the oil cleansing method of washing your face. In it I gave 2 links that explained why I was using olive oil and grapeseed oil to wash my face. (If you haven't already, you should totally check it out!)

Well, since then I stopped using the olive and grapeseed oils to clean my face and have switched to coconut oil! In the links I posted in my blog post explained the super simple concept of why cleaning your face with oil works. It's basic chemistry: like dissolves like. Translation: the oil you put on your face to clean it dissolves all the oil that is already on your face so you are left with perfectly soft and clean skin! Also, oils are GREAT make up removers. And...olive and castor oils get rid of acne!

If you want more of a face "scrub" add a little baking soda to your hand before you wash your face with the oil. It exfoliates your skin AND gets rid of acne! Win-win!!!

Since coconut oil is a solid, I scoop some out into a little container that I keep by my shower and use my fingers to scoop a tiny bit out each night to put on my face, then with a wash cloth and warm water I wash the coconut oil off. So simple, and so effective! (And cheap!)

Where do I get my coconut oil?
You may have noticed that your local store probably has coconut oil in the COOKING section, and the BEAUTY section.
What's the difference?
Which one do I buy?
Why is the one in the beauty section more expensive? Is it better?

I get my coconut oil from the cooking section. There is NO difference in the coconut oil from the cooking isle and the beauty oil EXCEPT that the oil in the beauty is,e can not be heated on the stove (to cook with). I honestly have no idea why it's more expensive, but I do know that either one is safe and effective for beauty purposes. I get the mine from the cooking isle just in case I ever want to cook with it, and it's cheaper!
Does that make sense? If not, let me know and I'll try to explain it better!

Enjoy the all natural life!

One Week With NO Shampoo!

Yesterday made ONE week with no shampoo!!
I think I can do this! :)

Yesterday was my second day in a row to only rinse with hot water. Today my hair is a bit oily, but not unmanageable.
Once I sprinkle some coco powder in it it will look as good as new, won't feel as good as new, but it will look it! ;)

Let me talk a bit about how my hair is feeling. Right now the roots feel kind if stringy (?!?!) and oily. The length of my hair is as close to normal as I can expect. It is soft, but not silky soft like usual.

I am so glad that I decided to switch to no shampoo during the summer where I don't have many places to be where I would feel self conscious about my hair not looking its best. But I'm confident by the time I have places to be and people to see that I will be through this dreaded (but not so bad) transition period!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Day 6 Update! (From yesterday)

Sorry I didn't get a chance to post an update yesterday, but we got home kind of late, then I had to take care of my sweet Molly. Who, by the way was able to stand on all four legs last night! I was so excited. She can't stand/walk in them for long, but still, way better than she was on Saturday. So I have hope that she will recover nicely!

Now, onto the update!
Last night (day 6) I only rinsed my hair with hot water. It is doing MUCH better than the first time I washed with only hot water!
It is still a little oily, and still doesn't feel "normal" yet, but I don't think this transition period will last as long as I had first expected!
I will rinse my hair with only water again tonight, so we will see how it does!

I decided to take the picture outside with natural light today. I think when intake the picture under the fluorescent lights it makes it look shiny (oilier) than it really is. I think this is a more accurate depiction of my hair! :)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Day 5 of No Shampoo!

Today has been crazy with a Capitol K!
When I woke up this morning I never thought I would be spending 3 1/2 hours in the pet ER with my mini dachshund!
I have been a wreck all day!
Molly woke up not being able to move her back legs much. I was terrified and was convinced she was dying.
Good news (sort of) is that our dear sweet Molly has a slipped disc that can heal itself as long as she stays in a crate 24/7 and takes her meds!
Of course they wanted us to leave her in the hospital, but I was confident that Jonathan and I could take care of her in the comfort of our apartment!
And I am so glad I didn't let the Dr bully me into leaving her there. Our chihuahua Sissy is so worried and checks on Molly constantly, it's sweet and I know Molly enjoys the visit.

Now, onto the real reason you all stopped by, day 5 update!!!

I "washed" my hair with conditioner again tonight, and it is doing really well. Still more oily than "normal" but way better than day 2 or 3.
BUT! We shall see how it does once I only do a hot water wash. That is the real test.

We will have to wait until tomorrow to find out!
Good news is, I can always sprinkle some coco powder on my hair and be good to go! :)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Day 4 no-poo Update!

I realized today that I was supposed to "wash" my hair with conditioner last night, not tonight. Oops.
Good thing it doesn't matter!! ;)

Well anyway, I washed with conditioner tonight. The result was still-oily-but-not-AS-oily-hair. So that's a step in the right direction, right? ;)
I'm also going to wash my hair with conditioner tomorrow since I have church and Father's Day outings on Sunday. So we shall see if that helps any.

Also, after doing some research today, I found that for brunettes (me) using coco powder to absorb/cover up the oil works well and doesn't make your hair look ashy!
I'm gonna test it out tomorrow! ;)

No-Poo update Day 3 (from yesterday)

I got home super late last night so I didn't get a chance to post pictures from day 3 of using no shampoo, so here it is!

Let me say, this picture is VERY deceiving! This morning I forgot that I hadn't taken pictures for day 3 and I put some baking soda in my hair to absorb some of the oil.

But let me tell ya, I looked like I had bathed in olive oil!
Good news though, A little baking soda helps A LOT during the transition period. It makes it more bearable to go out in public and such.

Tonight I will "wash" my hair with conditioner again and hopefully I will look more presentable for church and Father's Day tomorrow!
It has definitely been an adjustment going from washing my hair every day to only washing it 3 times a week.....with conditioner. But it will be worth it, so I'm told. ;)

DIY Deodorant! The BEST Ever!

After several months of trying store bought all natural deodorant I was about to give up.
None of them were satisfactory to me. They would be fine for the first few hours, then BAM I stunk.
I realize that all natural deodorants only cover up the smell of body odor, but I expected it to actually work. And in this Louisiana heat, I need something that works!

I have been really torn, I REALLY didn't want to go back to using chemical laden deodorant, but at the same time, I didn't want to stink.

That's when I remembered all the times I saw recipes for DIY deodorant and I thought I had all the ingredients, so I looked it up, and sure enough, all of the ingredients needed were in my kitchen pantry!

To be honest, I was a bit skeptical, but figured it was worth a shot. And I am so glad I tried it!

I put some on after I made it, then headed out to a swim meet where I sweated my behind off. But guess what?!?!?! My armpits didn't stink when I got home!!!! After all that sweating I was sure I would be stinking! I was thrilled that I didn't!

I'm sure you are all wanting this amazing recipe, right?!?!


1/4 cup MELTED coconut oil (4 Tbsp solidified coconut oil)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup baking soda
10 drops if essential oils (optional, I used peppermint)

Place all the dry ingredients into a bowl

Add the melted coconut oil and essential oils and stir well.

Once mixed it will be paste-like, place it in a jar before it solidifies.
Leave it to cool naturally before placing it in the fridge for extra solidification. You can keep it at room temperature for easier application, but you can also keep it in your fridge (it gets really hard)

Put some on your hand and rub it on your armpit like you would lotion. That's it. So simple!

Baking soda absorbs odors, cornstarch absorbs wetness and coconut oil is an anti-oxidant and a moisturizer with anti-fungal/anti-bacterial properties.

I am in love with this stuff!!!! And I'm sure you will be too, so ditch the harmful chemicals in your deodorant (that have been proven to promote cancer!!!!!), and make some all natural and awesome deodorant!!!

Original recipe found here

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Healthy Muffins! Flour and Sugar Free!!!

Yesterday I found a recipe on Pinterest for these super yummy muffins, so I decided to make some today!

The recipes originally came from HERE and HERE.

I love that these muffins use NO flour or sugar, but do use healthy fruit and honey instead!

I baked a half of a recipe of each: banana and pumpkin.

For the banana muffins the recipe is:

3 c oats (regular or quick is fine)
1 c plain nonfat greek yogurt
1/2 c honey
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
2 ripe bananas
1/2 c walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray tin with non-stick cooking spray.
Place all of the ingredients in the blender (including bananas), and then blend adding oats in 1/2 c at a time until smooth. You may need to stop the blender a few times to stir. Stir in chopped walnuts after blending is complete.
Divide batter among 12 muffin cups and bake for 20 min. or until toothpick comes out clean.

And for the pumpkin:
2 1/2 c oats (regular or quick is fine)
1 c plain nonfat greek yogurt
1/2 c honey
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t pumpkin pie spice
1 c canned pumpkin
1/2 c chopped walnuts (optional)

Same as above! :)

I won't lie, these muffins are delicious, but mine came out very dense and still a little gooey inside. Also, they sunk a little as they cooled. But since I don't plan on entering them in a cooking competition anytime soon, I'm fine with that.
I think these will be perfect for a quick breakfast, even if they are dense and a bit gooey!!! They sure do taste yummy!!! ;)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Day 2 of going "no-poo" Update!

I've decided to document my no-poo journey (especially my transition period) for both you, and me!
Some days will just be sort of a check-in, but I think it will help others who want to go no-poo!

Let me just say, today definitely began my transition period!!!!
Today was the first day that I used only warm water to "wash" my hair.
As you may be able to see in the picture above or below (both taken once my hair air dried after my shower), my hair is a bit oily now.
This is because my scalp is used to producing the natural oils that shampoo normally strips from my head. Once my scalp gets used to being treated nice (not using the dreaded shampoo) it will know that it doesn't need to produce that much natural oil and my hair will no longer look like I took a shower in olive oil!

I'm hoping that since I have been using sulfate/silicone/paraben free shampoo that this transition process won't be as brutal, but we shall see!

Tomorrow I will use conditioner again, and hopefully my hair will respond well! :)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My "no-poo" Journey!

As most of you know, I made the switch to sulfate/silicone/paraben free shampoo several months ago and haven't looked back
Since then, I have done my research and my interest has been piqued concerning the "no-poo" (not using shampoo) movement that is gaining force throughout the all natural beauty community.

My first thought was: I'm sure it's great, but there is NO WAY that I can do that.
Well, now that I am trying to grow my super short hair out to be super long, I acknowledge that for this to happen as quickly as possible my hair and scalp need to be as healthy as possible. For that to happen, I need to stop damaging it with the awfulness that is shampoo.

Igor from igorsbelltower.blogspot.com writes this about why shampoos suck! It's great! ;)

Why shampoo sucks:
Shampoo strips the oils out of hair and then conditioner replaces them. No matter what clever and flashy commercials tell you, shampoo is damaging to hair.
The harsh surfactacts present in shampoo like sodium lauryl sulfate/sodium laureth sulfate and ammonium lauryl sulfate tend to overcleanse the scalp. These detergents also dry out the hair.
To compensate for the drying out, the scalp produces more sebum to protect itself and restore the natural state. Skin and scalp needs both a certain pH and natural oils to stay healthy.
This tends to put you in a cycle where you overcleanse to get rid of the greasy hair and your scalp produces more grease to compensate. Some link the overcleansing to dandruff and scalp issues.
Instead of using harsh products for cleansing and the putting the back moisture on, you can clean with a product that adds moisture.

After all of my research, I do not think I can jump straight to "no-poo". And by that I mean "washing" your hair with baking a soda and water mixture and "conditioning" your hair with an apple cider vinegar mixture.
Instead, I am going to work my way to that beginning by going "conditioner only" for a while, then transitioning to no-poo with the hopes of eventually just rinsing my hair in warm water instead of "washing" it with anything.

I am aware that this will not be an easy process, and I will have several days (possibly weeks) of less than beautiful hair, but my research has shown me that it will more than pay off!

WHY DO THIS?!?!? (Besides the fact that shampoo is ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE for your hair)

There are TONS of testimonials out there in the blogosphere about how going no-poo completely changed people's hair.....for the better! Blogger after blogger has said how after going no-poo (and suffering through the transition period) their hair had more body, more shine, less frizz, was more manageable, super soft and those with curly hair say this is a must to control curls naturally! All of this just by cutting out all the chemicals in shampoo.


What I do:
3 times a week I will wash my hair with only conditioner, the other 4 days a week I will just rinse my hair with hot water.

To wash my hair with conditioner, first I squirt a handful of conditioner in my hand to massage into my scalp. I let that sit for at least 5 minutes while I finish my shower. Rinse that out then add more conditioner to the length of my hair (since the rest time was just for my scalp to mid shaft of my hair) then rinse right away.

What conditioner I use:
2 of the 3 nights that I plan on conditioning my hair I will use Giovanni Smooth as Silk Deep Conditioner and the other night I will use Giovanni Avocado and Olive Oil Conditioner Mask.

Tonight was my first night in this journey, but I promise to keep you updated!

Let me know, would you consider ever going "no-poo"? Why or why not?

Below is a picture of my hair once it air dried after my first day of using conditioner only!!!
Not too bad, yet. I'm thinking tomorrow may be worse since it will be my first time just rinsing it with hot water and not "washing" it with anything!