Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Don't fear the thriftstore

When I was a kid it wasn't cool to wear second-hand clothes, so that meant usually not telling people wear I got my clothes, unless they really really liked what I was wearing. I had a dress that literally every friend I had borrowed at least once, it was a floor length Japanese blue beautiful thing that was shear (you had to wear a dark camisole and slip under it) and it was gorgeous, IS in fact still so beautiful and timeless that I have the thing today. One of my cousins asked to look through my closet for something to try on for a church outing, and of course she grabbed the dress. "This is beautiful!!" and then the follow up, "Where did you get this?" I had been asked that a dozen times, over and over I had said it was a gift, or at the mall or something completely made up on the fly, but she's family right? So I could tell her. "Goodwill." and her face was instantly sour, "Oh..." was she disappointed because there was no sister dress she could go grab at sears? Or whatever was the most popular store when I was 15 I don't know I was home schooled. Was she upset because she had learned maybe I was under privileged and couldn't get the latest things? I don't know but I look back now and think, you were in-love with it before you knew where it came from! So whats the hold up now?

We have a stigma in our culture about something using something before us, either it being gross or germy, but it only goes with clothing, you can share pay phones, hotel rooms, atms, cars, computers, books even toilet seats but noooooo way are we going to buy a used pair of shoes, now that's just disgusting.

There are a few reasons we feel this way, other than conditioning:

                                                     Fortune -   Fashion -  Friends/Family

Okay the last one was really two, but here it is.

Big Business is making bank on our desire to have "new" everything. They take advantage of our need to look beautiful by distracting us with what they are doing daily to make us look sick, fat and miserable. They sell us food that is so processed its hardly even food anymore, its not nourishing, its not even filling so we have to eat triple what we used to just to be satisfied, the cheap by products that our bodies cannot process, so it sticks around in our skin causing acne and early aging, it clogs our guts and gives us bloating and intestinal problems, it sticks to our backs and rears and thighs and stomachs so we cannot fit into anything and we feel badly so we turn back to whats comforted us since the day we were born: more and more food.

Fashion changes every five minutes, so those skinny heels you bought yesterday will be replaced by the chunky wedge tomorrow, the thin slim cut sweater by the loose bulky cable knit one this winter.
Why do we chase trends? Because we feel badly about how we look so we are told, to BUY more things rather than eliminate the cause of our emotion. We could take time to work on ourselves, start a garden, go for a walk with our mates, play with our kids, but if we do that, we're not working, if were not working we can't make money to spend and if we don't have money to spend Big Business fades. Does it seem like a pattern?

Our friends and family exacerbate the issue by falling into the same traps we do, so we are encouraging bad behavior in each other. If your buying new clothes, I want to as well. If I see you eating huge portions...well you get the idea.

All that is why people feel the need for new new new all the time, its not because we need it, were slapping a band-aid on a severed limb, it just wont cut it.

Now that I've led you down a crazy rabbit hole, let me get back on point, eh hmm, so after your done using that public toilet and sitting naked on the hotel couch I think you can buy that second-hand pair of leather boots.

Give your wardrobe a look over, how packed is it? If your in the minority, its pretty slim.
Maybe you have a t-shirt or two, maybe three pairs of shoes and two sweaters, but if your like me and most people, your closet is throwing up piles of junk you haven't worn, won't wear and is taking up space and cluttering up your life.
Take a day, go through it, keep the most precious pieces, and donate the rest.


My Dad has been a garbage guy for most of my life (almost 30 years) you would not believe the waste, brand new shoes still in the box, toys, books, perfectly good, not mildewy or molding, just didn't want them, threw them in the garbage.

So try to donate whatever you can because every item you recycle one less has to be made and you are actually saving this little rock your standing on every time you do so.

Only keep the best looking, most classic items in your closet, I mean you, drop the MC Hammer pants, if you must keep them, turn each leg into sleeping bag for your kids or something.
Every classic item will always be in style they can mix and match with the few in style pieces you have and save your closet from bulging again.

 I get compliments on my clothes to this day (that is not important, its more important to wear what you feel great in, I state this only because you can be fashionable and not work an extra three months a year to pay for it) and I'm no longer hesitant to tell people where I got this skirt or those boots. I understand now as an adult that its okay to work less and spend more time with my family, that I should be proud I paid $2 for the leather purse that was originally $199 

Its okay to skip the mall and instead of paying the fifty bucks for one pay of jeans, pay the same amount for your kids entire school wardrobe, its better than okay, its the way it should be.
You now save 75% or more on clothing (and a lot more than just clothing too)  your money goes to those working in your area and not to somewhere over seas, treating their employees deplorably.

Tips for thrift shopping:

Bring your own shopping bag and let the cashier working in the front you brought it.
Wear easy to remove clothing and or light thin clothing that you could try things on over top of.
DO NOT TRUST SIZES this applies to any clothes shopping, I range from a size 2 all the way to a size 9 (in the same day!) this is why you must try every item on, find a mirror check every angle.
If its not crazy comfortable/flattering leave it there, you won't wear it anyway.
Check for stains, rips, broken zippers, missing buttons. If you can repair it fine, but ask yourself, "Will I make time to fix this?" Its likely not worth your money if its entire lifetime will be spent in your closet.
The clothes are likely to have been worn, washed and stored, if they look good now, that's a great indicator of quality.
If you find a pair of shoes you like, wear them through the store for most of your shopping, you'll find out if it was discomfort that caused the previous owner to donate the shoes or simple disuse.
If you bring in an outside article of clothing to match color, size or whatever, always tell a cashier to avoid frustration or confusion.
If your not certain of an item, ask about the return policy, if they don't have one you may want to put the item back.
Remember, brand names usually have very little correlation to quality, the softest most comfortable pair of yoga pants I've ever worn are a brand I've never heard of. I've had them 3 years and they are still like new. Don't go label searching, you'll likely miss out on some gems that will last a lifetime.

If you are still having a little thrift shop dread, google celebs that shop vintage/yard sales/thrift shops, the results will likely surprise you.

Remember, when shopping this way your teaching others (including your family and friends) that the environment and your time is more valuable than chasing the latest five minutes and gone trends, that you can look professional, stylish and comfortable on very little green all the while saving something much more precious, hours of your life that should be spent with those you love.
There is no dollar value on life lived, I know at the end of mine I won't be wishing I had bought the $500 suit over the vacation with my kids :)

As always vote with your cents

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Shampoo free

About a year ago (or more) I was very pregnant with my first punk, and very aware of what I was using/putting into my body for the first time ever. I had no problem eating a whole sleeve of cookies or a bag of chips before then, but as it turns out kids give you more than they ever take. I stopped using facial cleansers and make-up. I started brushing my teeth with homemade tooth powder and making my own eyeliner, eye brow powder. I bought reusables to replace my disposables (washable pads, a moon cup, a gum stimulator in place of floss) I found out natural things were just as useful, if not more so. That's when I realized what I had completely forgotten about...

I had been bathing my scalp in shampoo and conditioner while trying to remove all other chemicals, and that's uh, the closest skin to my brain.

I researched and saw all these people talking about a "no poo" method. Sounds crazy, right?

It might be, but I haven't shampooed my hair in almost a year.

Now before you start scooting a few seats away from me on the bus, your not just removing a chemical dependency but replacing it with something natural to wean yourself off of over cleansing completely.

People have been cleaning themselves for a lot longer than shampoo has even existed, did they smell great, I don't know, If I had a time machine I'd likely go back and tell myself not to waste my money on Ghost Rider (Don't even stop to watch this movie if its playing at walmart in the electronic section) rather than sniff random people but I can say with the wonderful advancements of showers and hot water we don't have to worry about smelling like a farmer from the 1860's. 
I spent most of my life with thin, frizzy, unmanageable hair that used to bring me near tears when trying to get ready for dates or any social life whatsoever.
I have struggled and struggled and now, giving up all the costly hair care products that the beautiful air-brushed botox babes tell us we NEED, now my hair is silky, smooth, easy to brush, lays well, curls naturally loose and softly, straightens easily and just makes me want to slap the $23 bottle of shampoo out of your hands before you waste the two hours you spent working to buy it.

I cannot praise this method enough, "no poo" has literally changed how I feel about my hair, and its saving me money and time, now here's the thing that's really going to shock you...

I don't have to "no poo" my hair every day, or every other day, or every three days.
I can go up to two weeks without washing my hair and it smells clean, looks soft and smooth and usually at the end of the two weeks my hair has just started to get a little greasy so I'm uncomfortable with it (I cannot stand feeling greasy/dirty) and I have to deep cleanse my scalp with two ingredients.

Baking soda


That is all I use to clean my hair. Period.

I would never have believed caring for my hair could be so easy, so not frustrating, so cheap and make me feel so much better about myself by doing LESS for my hair than ever.
There is a catch, there is something called a break in period.
I used to wash my hair every other day, I had to, my hair was an oil slick, it was disgusting.
If I went more than three days it smelled like body odor and felt like a dirty frying pan under my fingers.
The break in period for me, and I hair fine naturally curly hair that is very long, just above my behind, took three months.
That's three months of greasy uncomfortable hair, three months of feeling self-conscious and knowing that if I gave in and scrubbed the natural oils out of my hair again I'd be back to square one.
I held out and it worked flawlessly.

So here's the deal, our bodies produce natural oil for a reason, its healthy and if left alone and mildly cleansed naturally we'll be less sick, less uncomfortable, less stressed and having more time and more money to boot.

The reason we are in the infinite loop is because once you strip those natural oils away your body goes into over-protect mode and doubles or triples oil production to keep bad bacteria at bay.

We are handing over our pay-checks, hours of our life to be stuck in an endless cycle of harming our bodies and wondering why we don't get the desired results.

Using these products are like using paint thinner, its very damaging and then we wonder why we have brittle, breaking, split ended hair.

Now that my little rant is over, here is the deal, step by step

Buy a box of baking soda (if you don't already have one laying around)

Get a bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar

I use 2 cups of very warm water out of the tap and about three tablespoons of baking soda (I eye-ball it) mix with your fingers until you get a chalking looking water. Put your head under the shower, rinse well then shut the water off, then slowly pour the mix over your head with one hand while massaging your scalp all over with the other, I do this upside down because baking soda burns your eyes. Rub your scalp with your finger tips like your doing a deep tissue massage, but don't bother to work the mix into the rest of your hair, you don't need to, the scalp is what needs scrubbing, the hair will get the baking soda water as it rinses over the strands and the extra unwanted oil and dirt will be removed, the healthy shining needed oil will stay in place, condition the hair and leave it better than before.
After your deep scrub (really massage your head, your not going to do this every day after all) rinse well. REALLY well. You don't want the baking soda in your hair when you go to rinse with vinegar, remember your volcano in middle school science? Now same as with the baking soda, add to very warm water (the ACV is cold so you'll want the water almost full hot) then add one part ACV to one part water.
Pour over your head massaging in a little more smoothly than you scrubbed with the baking soda.
I let this soak in a while, 5 mins maybe? Then I only rinse the crown letting the ACV stay on the ends to smooth an condition. Then I'm done.

You don't need anything else, no straightener, no hair dryer no leave in goop your paid too much for.
Now can you do these things? Sure, I've straightened my hair out of boredom, and guess what, because I don't have to wash my hair all the time, my hair stays straight, even in high humidity.

I bet that sounds crazy to anyone who deals with hair like mine, I used to have a frizz ball on my head at the mere idea of rain, now, natural oils protect it so well nothing seems to bother it.

Its not for everyone, as is with anything but, here are a few friendly helpful tips that will keep you from no poo fail.

DO NOT try this like its shampoo, washing your hair once a day, every other day or even every three days with baking soda and vinegar. That's crazy, the whole point is to let your natural oils come back in, it drives me nuts when I read comments saying, "My hair felt like straw after my third wash in three days!!" Well, yeah, your NOT supposed to wash your hair with any method that often, it makes no sense to have to either. This is supposed to be liberating! Can you imagine a two week blow out or curl or straightened style? No joke, two weeks of your hair looking just like when you last styled it? Think of the damage reduction your strands will gain! That alone will add glossy healthy shine!

DO wash once a week in the beginning, pick a time of year you won't be going to anything where you have to look like a model, choose a spring or summer with ponytails or updos are needed because its hot anyway.

DO NOT expect perfect hair overnight. Imagine a few weeks with pretty dry or oily hair, then imagine every day it gets a little better, softer, thicker, healthier. That is what happens, it will not be photo shoot ready in a few days.

DO use a dry shampoo to make it to no poo day whatever day that may be you've chosen during the week, please make it yourself! Its so easy, dry shampoo can be cornstarch or arrow root, blended with coco and cinnamon or brunettes and ravens, left alone or with some turmeric or even some chamomile for blondes.
For this method I usually dip my fingers in the dry shampoo and rub it into my roots vigorously, I do this liberally and then shake my head like I'm at a concert.
Get every inch of your scalp, and leave it go for a while if your dealing with oily hair then either blow dry (on cool) out the mix or just shake and brush.
The volume this gives hair is awesome, like a date night blow-out I'm pretty in love with my dry shampoo.

This method not only saves me huge-

Fancy shampoo - $8/$20

Baking soda - .50(small box lasts about three/four months)

Fancy conditioner - $8/$20

Apple cider Vinegar -$5 (big jug has lasted me a year)

Leave in conditioner - $5/$10

Not needed

Curling gel - $3/$8

Not needed

Mousse - $3/$8

Not needed

Also I only have to color (henna but I'll get to that in another post) my hair once every 5 to 7 months now. And I only have to do my roots :)

 -But this will also give your healthier hair, a healthier scalp and skin all over.
The amount of junk found in our skin these days is scary, because the beauty industry acts as its own police they are not held to a high health standard. These products are labeled as inedible, so the ingredients are much more toxic than the normal toxins we eat in prepackaged foods, yet smearing toxins on our skin doesn't mean that we don't absorb them, we all know what our bodies biggest organ is right? And our skin can only take so much, that's why we need to hold ourselves accountable first before we assume big biz will change. They won't, but we can.

Every time you buy shampoo that burns the natural pro-biotic protective oils off, you are voting.
You're telling them we'll let them keep dumping cheap waste on us, and we'll keep working our tails off to pay for it.
Every person who switched to this or a hundred other methods that work WITH our bodies instead of AGAINST them, we're forcing change in the most gentle and simple way.

Even if you don't try this method, try something that is kinder to yourself, try something that works with your skin, hair, organs.
You won't regret it, after all, we only get 100 years right?


I now only have to wash my hair once a month and dry shampoo once maybe twice in between.
My hair does not smell.
My hair does not feel greasy.
Its still the best its ever been hands down.

I've read a few comments about how damaging this can be to hair, which makes little sense whilst using five different products and styling with heat every other day, which sounds more damaging?
Yet, I have thought that it may me detrimental to use this method too much (because of potential stripping the same way over use of shampoo does) so I'll restate what I posted above.

DO NOT us this or any other method more than once a week.
You really shouldn't be shampooing your hair more than once a week either, I know you'll say, "It so gross if I don't!" it does because its like pus coming out of a scab you won't leave alone, the more you pick, the more scarred and infected it becomes, needed more help to heal than a typical wound.
If we didn't over clean our bodies, they wouldn't reek or become oil slicks after one day.
This only started because smart business men and women know how to market their products.
And we buy in big time don't we?
I'm sure no one ever found a date, a job, a home, a partner and had children successfully without crest whitening strips right? If you hadn't been wearing that Gucci purse when you met your soulmate I'm sure he would have kept walking...

Sooo, before you plunk down a weeks worth of your hours away from your family for something that'll collect dust in your closet soon, just take a look at what your great-grandparents lived on and ask yourself, "Do I need this? Or am I being told I do?"

I recently say this quote being passed around and I like it so much I have to alter it to be complete.

If tomorrow, women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, just think how many industries would go out of business. – Dr. Gail Dines

What about, "If tomorrow humans woke up and decided they really liked themselves, just think about how much pain, stress, suffering, anger and incompleteness would fade away."
Or even better, "If tomorrow mankind awoke understanding that completeness could be found within, what could we do without?" The possibilities are endless.