Natural Beauty Care Products

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I don’t know about you, but this fall has been a little stressful. Hope everyone is practicing good self-care—getting rest, exercise, eating well and all that good stuff. I figure it’s a good time to share a few of my favorite natural beauty products. I find it can be difficult to find information about ones that really work and aren’t ridiculously expensive.

What do I mean by “natural?” Basically, less full of bad stuff like petroleum products and chemicals that might be harmful to us in the long run. I’m by no means a purist about this. I’ve taken a very slow approach of changing one product at a time.

I started out with shampoo and found it was really tough to find something I liked, didn’t have parabens, and was reasonably priced. Later I realized a lot of this had to do with the fact that it’s difficult to make liquid shampoo shelf-stable without a lot of preservatives. In the end I switched over to shampoo bars by Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve Company. In the beginning, your hair will feel a little bit different, but it’s really not a big transition, and I’ve been very happy with their products for the last few years.

When I switched to bar shampoo, I quit using conditioner almost entirely in favor of good ol’ white vinegar. I keep a plastic bottle of it in the shower, along with an upturned plastic cup. When it’s time to rinse, I pour about a tablespoon or so into the cup, fill with water, and then dump it over my head. The vinegar smooths the hair shaft down so you get much fewer tangles. I finish off with a tiny tiny dab of stay-in conditioner (Say Yes to Carrots or an even tinier dab of coconut oil).

I’ve tried a few different natural deodorants before with really lousy results, so I was thrilled to discover (thanks, sister-in-law!) Piper Wai, which smells great and works really well. It’s NOT an antiperspirant, but I don’t sweat much at all with it, and odor has never been a problem (as far as I know—lol!). Full disclosure: I don’t sweat much to start with, and I DO use a traditional deodorant in certain settings, i.e. wearing a silk dress at a wedding where I danced the night away.

Lastly, there’s MyChelle moisturizer, which uses the better kind of sunscreen in it, the barrier kind rather than the chemical kind. It doesn’t make you look or feel pasty. I’m a convert.

What about you? Have you tried and liked any natural care products? I am still on the hunt for something natural that will help me style my fine floppy hair. No luck so far with anything I’ve tried.

In other news, yes I’m still writing as much as possible and making progress on my projects. Currently reading I Will Always Write Back and watching Younger. Also glad Jane the Virgin is back. Working on some Halloween costumes I hope I can share soon. Cheers!

 

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Log Cabin Blanket in Progress

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Hi everyone

I thought you might like to see the afghan I’m making from bits and bobs of wool from my yarn stash (with a much appreciated boost from my mother-in-law’s yarn stash). It’s a very loosy-goosy log cabin, sparked from the modern log cabin blanket in Mason-Dixon Knitting. (a funny, ideas-and-stories-based knitting book). The color in the last photograph is probably the most “true.”

I started the blanket last summer, and it’s been crawling along slowly since then. The brighter bits are yarn that I dyed with Kool-Aid an age ago. Yes, Kool-Aid! It actually dyes animal fibers very well and relatively easily.

I’m kind of loving this, if I do say so myself. The best part is that it doesn’t need to fit anyone.

Currently reading Pioneer Girl: the annotated autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder. It predates all her novels, and it’s so interesting to see how she mined this never-published first effort for her later, much more polished work. Seeing the evolution of an author is always encouraging. We all start somewhere, right?

Currently watching “Younger” (soooo funny) and the O.J. mini-series. Really interesting to look back on that period and reflect.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

 

 

Paintings of St. Maarten and Anguilla

Hi everyone and happy New Year! Sorry to have been absent so long. In October I was unexpectedly recruited into a part-time job (nonprofit development, my old stomping grounds) and have been careful to preserve my writing time when I’m not at work.

In the meantime, I’ve still been cooking and crafting, though a little more slowly perhaps.

I recently had the opportunity to go on a family trip to St. Maarten and Anguilla and wanted to share some iPad paintings I created while there. I had more time to paint on St. Maarten, so most of them (except the first one) are from there.

Hope you enjoy!

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Germany Reunion Tour

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We just got back from a trip to visit our friends in Hannover, Germany, where we lived from 2010 to 2012. Also added a few days in Alsace, France (more on that later).

It was a lovely if exhausting trip. I was a little afraid that going back to Hannover would feel sad. I was so sorry to leave it, and I know it can be hard to return to a place because everyone and everything seems to have moved on.

But our visit to Hannover was a happy one. We reconnected with many of our friends there and were glad to find that we hadn’t been forgotten. My German, which had gotten very rustig, came back. Most of our old haunts were still in action, too. Hannover friends, thanks for welcoming us back with open arms (and delicious food!).

It was funny to discover (besides our friends) what we really wanted to see: the zip-line playground, our corner Imbiss (falafel and kebab shop), our neighborhood tram stop, my favorite dime store, and of course, there were several visits to our favorite coffee shop.

When I got home I realized that nearly all my photos from Hannover were of friends and family, too personal for the blog, but how nice. That was what the visit was supposed to be about: friends.

This photo is from a friend’s garden. That’s one feature that really stuck out to me: the lush, layered gardens in Hannover—-one of the many things I miss about it.

But, I have to admit, I’m glad to be home in North Carolina. More on the tourist portions of the trip a bit later. Hope you’re well and enjoying the summer. Happy Canada Day and Happy Fourth of July!

Currently reading: The Divorce Papers and The Devil in the White City.

P.S. Loved watching the World Cup with German friends. Disappointed the US is done, but still pulling for Germany!