One Tool to Improve the Shine of your Hair and Your Skin (aka reduce Cellulite!)

The secrets to shiny, healthy hair and skin are much easier than anyone would have you believe! You don't need endless products and equipment. Since I stopped washing my hair almost 7 months ago, I have learned a lot about hair care.

#1 - You do NOT need shampoo. If you DO use shampoo, ONLY wash your scalp - not the rest of your hair. Shampoo strips your oil layers and will dry out your hair (hence the NEED for conditioner.)

#2 - If you decide to not use shampoo - then you will need to rub your hands through your scalp every once in awhile to loosen sebum and stimulate your scalp. You can accomplish this in the shower with just water (simulating the shampoo washing routine.) You will also NEED to brush the oil through your hair.

Ever watch an old-time show and see the lady brush her hair for exactly 100 strokes? That was to distribute the oil. And it works great - but only if you use the right kind of brush. You need a boar's bristle brush.

This type of brush works best for hair -

It's inexpensive but it's pretty much for hair only. I dislike owning a zillion items, so I like my things to multi-purpose.

So I use a boar's brush like this one:

This type is generally less expensive and you can find them in various styles. Some with handles some with out. The handles make it easier to reach your back etc, but it's not essential. I like this type because the bristles are softer. I use it to brush my hair (and it works fabulously for transferring oils - I could not go shampoo/conditioner free with out this brush!)

If you still use shampoo/conditioner, you can still benefit from this type of brush. First, you should try washing your hair less often. It will decrease the breakage and drying of your hair - also decreasing dandruff. But you may eventually find your hair greasier than you like (on top by your scalp.) That is easily remedied with a brush like this. No need for dry shampoo! Just brush 20 or 30 strokes. It will distribute your oils and make your hair shiny!

It also reduces fly-aways. I used to have such static hair in the winter, but not anymore! The oil distributed to your lower strands keeps the hair sikly smooth and weighed down so it stays down. But brushing the top oils away also prevents the intense weighing down that can happen at the crown and around the face. It's just an all around great remedy that you only have to buy once, doesn't add any chemicals into your life, and only takes a few seconds to use.

But it's better than that, because it is also multi-purpose. If you have the softer version of the boar's brush - you can also use it to brush your skin! This serves multiple purposes. It's a very gentle exfoliator, but more importantly it moves your lymph. This is worth spending a few minutes googling because not many people know about the lymph system. It's basically all fluid in your body that isn't blood. The intercellular fluid, the fluid between cells, etc. That fluid is vital and flows between your body and your lymph nodes. You have lymph nodes all over and they are a BIG part of your immune system - fending off germs, removing toxins, and keeping you healthy. Unlike blood, the lymph system has no pump.

Lymph moves through your body when you move. Your muscle action squeezes the lymph around. So get up and move! And it also moves by massage - I would recommend you get yourself a foam roller because you can use them to massage your entire body (without requiring another person's help!) They are inexpensive and last forever. You can literally massage all your muscles. It helps in recovery after workouts, and does amazing things for your lymph system.

Well, brushing with a boar's bristle brush also gets your lymph flowing. It takes all of 30 seconds to brush your entire body. I usually do it right before I hop in the shower since I'm already undressed. Just brush from your toes to your heart, from your fingers to your heart, from your tummy to your heart. The majority of your lymph nodes are in your trunk and we are always working against gravity. Gravity keeps your lymph down in your legs and you need it to flow back up to the nodes. Lymph settling in your legs can cause edema and all kinds of uncomfortable side effects. The solution - walk a lot, move your body often, brush your skin, massage your muscles. All easy. All basically free. All with side effects and benefits beyond just the lymph system.

The last tips I have for great skin and hair - EAT REAL FOOD and mind what you put on your skin (and hair.) Use products that are as natural as possible and use as few as possible.

Everything you put ON your skin ends up IN your body.

And don't smoke, drink alcohol, or do drugs!

That's it. It's really quite simple.

9 Months Wearing Thinx - What I REALLY think and What you should know if you decide to use them!!

It's been 9 months since I bought my first pair of Thinx underwear. Since that time, I have transitioned to 90% reusable period products. I first heard of Thinx when a friend of mine showed me an article on Facebook.

The article was an obvious sham article from a lady paid to endorse the product.

I was disappointed that she could not see through the propaganda, but it did motivate me to revisit reusable menstrual products. So I bought my first pair - I used a $10 off coupon and first time customers got free shipping. (This link will give you $10 off if you decide to give them a go.)

The first thing I did when they arrived was try them on. They fit well and looked really good. Fancy even? Well, maybe not for most people but they had lace and that is fancy in my world. I then tested them with a syringe of water to be sure that they could actually hold the liquid they claimed. They passed.

I bought the hiphuggers - and to be honest - they are the only ones even worth entertaining (or maybe the sport pair) because they only hold 2 teaspoons of fluid. And they are the most absorbent pair they have. That's 2 regular sized tampons or one super - in case you were wondering.

But wait! You only thought they could be used as a "backup" or had to be used with other products, right? For the price, they better be able to do more than be backup!!

Some ladies are blessed with really light and really short periods. I am not one of them. In fact, I am not even on the charts for "normal."  My periods last between 7-10 days and for the first 3 days it is like turning on the faucet. I have to use the super duper tampons and they get soaked through in less than 2 hours. It sucks.

So if I can transition to reusable products and survive - so can you. I mentioned above that I use 90% reusable products. Because I have such heavy periods, I have to use tampons plus pads or tampons plus period underwear if I plan to exist in the normal world. I have a set of reusable pads that I often swap in when my period underwear are dirty.

After I bought the first Thinx pair, I was inspired to go further. I think of them as my "gateway drug" into the reusable world. I made 3 prototype "homemade thinx" underwear to round out my routine. One of my prototypes is horrible (absorbent material in the crotch area only) and I only use them as a last resort. The other 2 are pretty awesome.

In some ways they are better than the Thinx underwear. They are much more absorbent and they have never failed me. Never leaked. Never lasted only an hour or two. They rock at night! And they were made of things I had around the house so they were kind of free. I had to sew them so they weren't totally free. (If you scroll down in this article you can see what my homemade pairs look like. I took pictures of the ones I made for my daughter as mine are used.)

I am still perfecting my homemade versions but will be making 2 or 3 more pair when I get around to it. There are 2 downfalls to my current pairs - bulkiness and looks. I could put some effort into making nice seams and matching colors, but the bulkiness it what stops them from being "out in public" underwear unless I wear a skirt. I wore a lot of skirts this summer for that reason. In pants, they cause a unibutt - aka diaper butt.

But moving on...Thinx do not cause a diaper butt and so I bought one more pair (on ebay.) I do love them, but there are things I also hate about them and I think it's fair for people to know the whole truth about these underwear.


Without any coupons, Thinx underwear costs $34. That's outrageous! Why? Because most ladies that buy pads/tampons with coupons are not going to see the financial value of switching at $34 per pair and they will need more than 1 pair.

The second reason is because they claim that they donate reusable pads to women in other countries for every pair sold. Hold the phone. If you have enough profit from each pair to donate a whole set of reusable pads to someone, then you are charging too much. When I want to donate to charity, I select the charity and donate. When I want to buy underwear, I just want to buy the damn underwear! Second - if your underwear are better than or good enough to replace pads, then why not donate a pair of your underwear each time someone orders? And in that case, you are still charging too much!

It has to be discussed. After a while, Thinx start to stink. If you change them after just an hour or two and get them immediately in the wash, then they will stay nice and odor-free. Can you do that when you are at work or away from home? We are talking about blood. Blood that sits. It starts to stink and the smell will stay in the underwear even after washing! Luckily, I have solved this issue. It's called vinegar. I keep a spray bottle of vinegar in my shower (for various cleaning purposes) and whenever I am finished with ANY of my period reusables, I give me a quick spray and toss them in my wash basket. Doing this, I do not need to wash them instantly. And it takes out any scents.

The best Thinx underwear (Hiphuggers) only holds 2 regular tampons. I have had days where I am wearing a super tampon and Thinx, but I didn't get to the bathroom within 2 hours and there was blood already through my jeans. This is a problem with heavy flows and we are all used to it. But it's frustrating that they don't use their "thin absorbent technology" to make a heavier style. And what the hell is with the thong style? SERIOUSLY!! Who is wearing a thong on their period? They barely hold any liquid!!

They are not night underwear! They will not be enough to prevent leaking. They could be used with a reusable pad, but not alone.

They do leak - when they are full. They are great for the transition days and as backup on heavy days. Actually, they are freaking amazing for transition days. Why deal with pads when your period is pretty much over, but not over enough not to ruin things?

I have two pair of Thinx and they are both black. But they are both stained. Not by blood but by my body's pH. So they are sort of "bleached" in the crotch area. This is annoying. Not the end of the world but definitely not "pretty."

Wet Diaper Feel
When I am on lighter days, I never get the wet diaper feel with Thinx. On heavier days, it eventually happens when they are about to burst and start leaking. It should be expected on heavier days but they are very good at wicking away moisture on light days and that is very commendable.

They look great. I can't tell you how amazing it is to wear what (for all intents and purposes) feels like regular underwear during at least some of my period. It makes me feel normal and good. Not like a bloody behemoth. It makes me hate my period less. Actually, I don't hate my period (because I'm all zen and centered!)
The Company 
This is a NO! The advertisements give the impression that this is a grass-roots company. They give back to women in need. They are pushing the envelope - getting people to talk and care about periods. Just NO. They are funded by venture capital. They are out to make money. Not that there's anything wrong with making money, but they are not about "the people." I contacted the company because I have a lot of ideas that are worth sharing.  I am an inventor and I have been tinkering with their design. I have important things to share - ideas that would help them make more money and reach a broader audience. But they didn't care. I got a robot response, and then upon pushing further, got a "send us all your ideas and we will steal them. Thanks!" message. Not going to happen.  I am not going to just give you my ideas. Thinx - as a company you suck!! Because of that, I will no longer buy your products and I will tell all my friends to do the same. In fact, I bought my second thinx pair (and the pairs for my daughter) on ebay.  Maybe some day, I will use my ideas to overtake your market and sell my own period underwear. Bwah ha ha ha! Whatever. When people contact you - talk to them!

On that note, the company behind Thinx is trying to market a bidet attachment for your toilet. Save your money and get one of these:

I have this and it's the bomb. It's portable. It works. It's easy. It's cheap. You can put it away!! Great for travelling and emergencies or when you just need to clean up after a bathroom disaster and don't have time to hop in the shower. Seriously - well worth it!

So there you have it. An honest assessment of Thinx underwear. I was obviously not paid to endorse them (or not endorse - however you want to look at it!) I like my period so much better - or at least it's not wrecking my life - because of my switch to reusable products. I feel great knowing that my bathroom garbage is pretty much empty all the time and that I no longer have to buy the chemical laden crap at the store. I think you will too!

Thinx are good products - but they are not perfect. And they are not worth $34. If you want to buy from them, use the coupon link - and know that they offer refunds. After the first pair, head to ebay where people that were given free pairs for review or from other incentives are selling them for much cheaper (and they are not used!)

Before Winter Kicks In - A few tasks to get your HOME Ready for the season

It's FALL!! That means the leaves will start falling and the weather will get cold. Before you nestle in for a warm winter, remember to change your filters! The last thing you want is for your furnace to go out in the middle of winter. Trust me - it happened to us.

Our furnace was out for 6 days while I waited for the parts to fix it. Didn't call a repair man? Nope. I could have spent $300 and had a repair man come within 2 days or I could have put on some jackets and fixed it for $15. Our weather that week was -4F. But between baking bread, wearing jackets, and everybody sleeping in my bed, we survived.

Changing your filter makes it easier your furnace to operate (meaning more heat for less fuel - money savings), it keeps your air cleaner (less dust!) and it keeps the inside of your furnace cleaner (less parts to get gunked up and ruined.)

Filters are basic and easy to buy. They are something  you can buy online with confidence. We ordered this 6 pack of filters and the result was great. They were the exact size we needed, they arrived quickly, and they were in great shape.

It's also time to get your yard cleaned up. As the plants start to die down but before it's too cold to work, snip down your perennial plants. Prune shrubs. Clean out your flower beds and gardens. Rake up leaves into your compost pile. Water any big trees deeply before the ground begins to freeze. That will keep them nice and hydrated through the winter. You know the brown tips you see on spruce trees in the winter (actually they are sort of orange?) Those are from drying out. The cold winter wind whips through trees and sucks the water right out of them.

Water them deep. Then turn off those hoses and bleed them dry. If water freezes in your outdoor pipes you will be in for a nasty bill from the plumber. I know plumbers who have sent their kids to college just on frozen pipe fixes!!  If you're like me, then you water your trees from your rain barrel. Don't forget to FULLY empty the rain barrel before winter!

Clear out your sprinkler lines, put away your summer gear (lawn chairs, garden fixtures, hoses, flower pots, etc.) Then start getting ready to enjoy the rest of fall and winter. It's a time to hunker down and keep warm. Eat delicious high-calorie foods (like my fave - pumpkin pie) and cozy up in your favorite sweater.

If you can set your thermostat a few degrees lower, you will not only save money but get a chance to use all your blankets and warm clothes! Plus you'll rev your metabolism and keep your body producing brown fat (which is metabolically active!) as opposed to just white storage fat.

Keep warm and enjoy the season.

I received a complimentary filter in exchange for review. No compensation was received. This article may contain affiliate links/ads.

Cake Stand Review

In all of my years on this Earth, I have never owned a cake stand. I've made cakes. I've eaten a lot of cake. But I've never had a cake stand.

Wouldn't it be nice to set out your cupcakes on a beautiful stand instead of a dinner plate? Of course. I'm just more of a practical sort of girl. But that changed a little when I received this cake stand for review. Why? Because it's gorgeous.

It's shiny and professional looking. It spins so you can frost a cake like a pro. And it did I mention how gorgeous it was. I put a glass cover over the top and it looked even better.

Now I just need to make a cake - or a pie - or some cupcakes - or even a stack of cookies to display on the stand. I wonder if my family would let them sit and be beautiful or if they would dive in and destroy the "display."

*I received a complimentary product for review purposes. No compensation was received. This article may contain affiliate ads/links.

My Fur Collection, Slavery, and Other things to think about.

I have done a lot of exciting things this year. If you haven't, then take a second to think about that. You only get one shot at this life. You need to make the most of it.

To be alive, you need to be active. If you want to maintain your ability to function - mentally and physically: then it's important that you learn how to deal with change. Change provides growth. Sometimes it's painful growth, but it provides growth. The opposite of growth is decay. I'm guessing you would rather not describe your life as a state of "decay."

With that said, let me share a little bit of the adventurous things I have done this year.

I am on a mission to try every edible wild food in my area. I have tried all of the goodies listed here - and many more that I haven't yet added to the list!

If you forage for wild foods, then you know that their availability can vary. This year there were no wild plums or black walnuts for humans. We had rain and cold weather while they were flowering and the yields were terrible, so I left the few stragglers for animals. There is also a timeline for when things are edible. Even the same plant may be poisonous in one season but edible in the next.

Milkweed is one of those plants. This year I was prepared and I ate the tender flower buds just as they emerged and the immature pods for the first time (silk and all!!) The flower buds were good (like broccoli) but the immature pods were amazing!! AMAZING. Like asparagus but different. And the white silk inside was really yummy too.

Throw away any wild foods books that tell you milkweed is bitter. That means the author is just regurgitating information (The Forager's Harvest and all other work by Samuel Thayer is highly recommended.) Milkweed is not bitter. Other plants that look like milkweed may be bitter. Or really old and past prime milkweed may be bitter. But not regular old milkweed.

It's delicious and required no butter or anything special. I just boiled it in salted water (just one boil not 2 or 3 like some books recommend!) and it was delicious.

Milkweed, wild plums, hackberries, asparagus, nettles, maple syrup and sumac are now my all time favorite wild foods. Berries too, of course, but they are not so "unknown."

We also ate duck eggs for the first time. And ramps. And garlic mustard.

And I was finally able to collect some beautiful wild salsify blooms for my table. My husband was speechless. He is a dandelion hater and to him, these were just giant versions of them. But they are not. Edible like a dandelion, yes. But totally different and totally beautiful!! I love these!

This year, I also discovered the salvage store. It's a store where thrift stores donate their "unsold" items to be sold one last time for salvage. Then the salvage store sells them overseas to be turned into fibers - threads, yarn, blankets, insulation.

For less than $100, I have been able to completely revamp my whole wardrobe. I now have jeans, coats, snowpants, boots, shoes, career wear, sweaters, and tops to last a life time. Seriously!! I've also found a bunch of great things for my kids. My husband, not so much.

But it's more exciting than that. First of all, I am just amazed at what people throw away. All of the clothes I have bought have been like new. Some still had tags on. But I came upon some exciting finds. Furs. I have never in my life bought a fur item.

I shudder at the idea of someone skinning an animal just for the fur. If you kill it, then you must use all of it. That is, of course, not what happens on fur farms. But, people do in fact buy furs. And then they toss them out when they are done with them.

I can't be the only person in the world
with a basket full of fur, right?
Luckily, a lot of those fur laden garments get donated. And when they end up in salvage, I feel like it's my DUTY to rescue them! I have collected so many fur pieces. Some are used in my home for decoration.

Some I have sold to people on ebay (because...I had a lot of furs and I want them to be used/loved not hoarded or trashed.)

And some I used to transform my winter jackets!

Here are all my coats that contain real fur:
Yes, I love the color red. I wear a red jacket almost everywhere. My spring jacket is red too. Kind of like the girl in Schindler's list.

And yes, all of these jackets came from the salvage store. I paid less than $5 for all of these coats. They are name brands. They are basically new. And now they have fur!!! Rabbit, mink, fox, coyote.

So how do I feel wearing fur AWESOME? I love them. They are soft and cozy and warm. AND I know I rescued them. I rescued them all. Even the coats. I could have bought just one of these coats for $40 or $50 (maybe more, I haven't shopped in a store in a LONG time).  Imagine I went to the store and bought a new coat for $40. These 4 coats would have been ground up into insulation. What a waste! But for just $5, I bought 4 jackets and transformed them into something I found beautiful.

I love coats. I live where winters are cold and sometimes all people ever see of you is wearing a coat. I could wear pjs all day and people wouldn't even know because the coats don't come off! So I have a lot of them.

This year was good for me. I went through a lot of heartache and loss. Big losses. Big stress. Big pain. But when I finally made it through all that, I am stronger and happier and healthier. I've fought my way through some tough issues.

I have been training and I've become a really good shot with a pistol. I even got over my fear of shooting shotguns. I am going to get my conceal/carry permit soon.

I have been training my son in strength and conditioning for wrestling season and in the process I have become stronger and more conditioned.

This year, my father was institutionalized and it has been very difficult to process. He has always complained about his life and felt as though he was a slave.

That's because he was. And still is. Now maybe more than before. I have had moments of slavery too. Slavery to money. Slavery to "the system." Slavery to my own bad attitude and feelings. No more!

My dad may continue to choose slavery - and it seems most of the world is content to live in some form of slavery - but not me. Think about it for a while.

Think about why you do the things you do.  How you decided what you like or don't. Why you choose your political affiliations. How you choose the food you eat. What's in the food you eat? What are your children being taught at school? What are you teaching your children?

This is a hot election year and people are divided on all sides. I see it this way:

There is a lot going on in the world that is attempting to divide humanity. Black versus white. Rich versus poor. Democrat versus republican. Male versus female. Young versus Old. It is all BOGUS. It's all garbage. We are all the same. We are all just trying to make it in this world.


It is as true as ever. And it's important!

Fall Camping, Cozy Double Hammock, leaf watching, and chopping herbs for winter

Fall is my favorite season. I love the smell of the air, the semi-warm temperatures, and the beautiful colors! If you are fortunate enough to live in a temperate climate, get outside and enjoy those leaves!!

They are a pain to rake up, but only if you consider them a nuisance. I consider them as food for my trees and garden. Plus, my children love to feed them to goats. You have never seen a more grateful, excited animal. They love everything we feed them and leaves crunch in their mouth like chips. So rewarding!

It's also time to get out and enjoy the rest of nature. It's still warm enough to camp comfortably. Nothing beats reading in a hammock just on the edge of the forest (or deep in the forest if you are lucky enough to have a spot like that!)

We had the opportunity to try out this double hammock. It's nicely made and comfortable. You can technically hang it from anywhere. My only complaint with it is that it did not come with tree straps. They are kind of essential and who has those lying around. I happen to have a swing that I can latch this into without straps but that doesn't help when you are backpacking or camping. It is lightweight and easy to travel with. You can use it double or single. It could even make an emergency tent (real emergency.)

Going camping always makes me think of driving up to the north woods. If you ever drive up through a boreal forest, I recommend being the passenger. Then you can just sit back and enjoy the scenery. And it is a joy!! People make trips to see boreal forests each fall from all over the world. They are gorgeous.

If you can't be the passenger, then consider mounting your phone on the dash so it can capture the beauty for you. We gave this 2 in 1 phone mount and charger a try and it did a pretty good job. The best part about it is the dual purposing - you can charge your phone while it hangs out on the dash. I wasn't as big a fan of the vent mounting.

We have vertical vents in our car and it just doesn't hang on well enough. Maybe if we had horizontal vents it would have worked better.

It's tempting to just shut everything down and begin the hibernation but resist!! There are still seeds to collect and tomatoes to bring in! There are herbs to put into the ground (and other perennials like garlic and strawberries) before the winter comes and destroys them. Trim up your raspberry bushes and chop up your herbs.

I chop up all my herbs with these awesome scissors. They are an inexpensive splurge (less than $7 with free shipping!) that really do make cooking more enjoyable. I love having my herbs evenly diced up because it makes sure the flavor is equally dispersed.

The scissors are so much easier than dirtying a cutting board and knife. I just rinse these babies out and put them back in the drawer. I use these with basil (cut and freeze them in oil) and with chives (just cut and freeze in a bag.) Having "fresh" herbs in the winter is a luxury that makes winter so much more bearable. Just like having fresh berries in the freezer. So wonderful and nothing beats produce you picked yourself!

Get out and enjoy the last few "warm" days before we all get buried in snow.

*I received a few of these products for review. No compensation was received. This article may contain affiliate links/ads.

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