Natural Beauty Alternatives

Many times as we load up on beauty products without stopping to think what is in them. Nasty and harsh chemicals and additives can not only do damage to your hair and skin, they soak into your skin and cause all sorts of internal malaise. It is easy to forget that we can often get the same results with ingredients already around the house. Well Samantha Harvey from TastyBingo popped over to WAW to give us a list of some of the oldies, but goodies:

The beauty tips highlighted in this article have been handed down over
several generations and in these economically difficult times, they are even
making a comeback in a number of top salons and spas throughout the
world, let’s just say that and if you check the label on your new all-organic
shampoo, you may be somewhat surprised at what you find amongst the
list of ingredients. Here are some that you can try at home that work really
well.

Apple cider vinegar for shiny hair

If you rinse your hair with apple cider vinegar this is understood to make
your hair shiny and smooth. The reason for this is due to the fact that it
causes your hair cuticles to close and it also balances the pH levels of your
hair, which will help prevent it from getting too dry or too oily. When you
try this make sure that you mix the vinegar with equal parts of water, and
always take care to avoid eye contact.

Oatmeal used as a facial cleanser

Oatmeal contains a water-soluble fiber called beta glucan, which is known
to have a soothing and anti-inflammatory effect on the skin, therefore
making it ideal for anyone who is suffering from acne. To make this,
put a few spoonfuls of oats in a washcloth and tie it into a pouch. Place
the pouch in a bowl of warm water for about a minute, then remove the
washcloth from the bowl and use the cloudy water as a very cheap but
highly effective 100% natural cleanser.

Beer on your hair for more volume

If your hair feels thinner than you really want it to be you can use beer to
achieve fuller and lustrous locks. The yeast and hops that are in beer are

well known to plump the hair cuticles and cause the hair shaft to swell.
Rinse your hair with beer after you have shampooed it to get the best
results. You should only use a full beer as light beer is low in yeast content
and won’t have the same effect or benefits.

Use milk to moisturize

Milk has a high natural fat content, so it actually works perfectly as a
moisturizer for your whole body. The lactic acid also helps to gently
exfoliate your skin, helping to keep it smooth and soft. If you want to get
the full benefit from this treatment, fill a bathtub with warm water and add in
a cup of milk. If you don’t like or especially want to smell of milk when you
have finished, you can also add an essential oil to mask the fragrance.

While these beauty tips may seem rather different to what you are used to
using, it is well worth giving them a try as you are not only finding natural
ways to care for your skin and hair, you will also be saving yourself a good
deal of money that you would have spent on expensive beauty products.

 

Love Notes From My Husband: Reason #21 That He Loves Me: the Dog

Reason #21 That He Loves Me

Love Notes From my Husband

“You Actively Got Me My Dream Dog”

When CAH and I were first dating he kept telling me how much he wanted a doberman, and always had. His initial plan was to buy a puppy from a breeder at some point but, given that my background is in animal rescue, I persuaded him to consider adoption. After that he got into grad school and so the plan for a new dog was put on hold for awhile. When he graduated, I told him we would keep an eye out for a doberman as his graduation gift. Well a mere few months later I was out in Maine, giving a presentation to a bunch of animal shelter workers when I casually mentioned that my husband wanted a big dog. All the hands shot up, half-jokingly, to say they all had big dogs available for adoption. I specified that we were looking for a doberman and all hands went back down…..all but one. “We have a doberman at our shelter”, said one woman in the crowd. I kind of laughed it off since I live in California, and this dog was in Maine, but she persisted and arranged for the dog to be brought to the workshop later. I was half-hoping that this dog was going to be a complete knucklehead; a sheer nightmare of a dog so that it would be easy to say no.

CAH had few specifications for his dream dog:

  1. Had to be a doberman
  2. Had to like to play and wrestle
  3. Had to like playing ball

Well later that afternoon, a beautiful doberman calmly strolled through the door, carrying a tennis ball in his mouth. All I could think was, “Are you kidding me??”. This dog did not have a knucklehead-bone in his body. He was an owner surrender to the local shelter and was named “Jury.” It didn’t take long for everyone in the room, myself included, to fall in love with him. As I was taking videos of him and texting them to my husband, I finally got a reply from him, “I want this dog!!!!”. Part of me was excited to see CAH so excited about a rescued doberman, but I was also concerned about the mountain of obstacles in the way to adopt him: the distance and getting the “ok” from our landlord to bring home a breed that landlords often ban. After Jury left I noticed that he left his tennis ball behind, so I grabbed it and stashed it in my purse. I think even at that point I knew I was hanging on to it until he could have it back once he was in California.

A few days later I was back in California and my husband and I, after surprisingly receiving our landlord’s blessing, brainstormed ways we could get him out to us. He really could not have been much further away. The problem with where he was in Maine was that he was nowhere near a major airport. On top of that, Hurricane Irene was pelting the east coast and many major airports were shut down. So we were contending with distance AND a hurricane. We finally found a husband and wife team who transports animals for rescues, and they were willing to transport our dog. It would be a 10-day journey, but we felt better that they were taking their time. They had a van, so he was not in some big semi-truck, and they sent us updates along the way.

We renamed him “Dexter”, as he was starting a new life with us, and quite frankly, “Jury” sounded a bit too thuggish for us. Being a longtime advocate of pit bulls, I tend to shy away from “status” names with dogs. Granted, we named him after the fictional serial killer, but somehow that seemed better. Dexter arrived in California the day that I had to leave for a conference in Oregon, so it was just CAH and Dexter. CAH was a bit nervous because he did not have a lot of experience with big dogs, and we knew from the shelter staff that Dexter was wary of men. But apparently Dex knew this was his home because, as soon as they walked in the door, he made himself right at home. This was the picture that was texted to me from that first night:

And any problems that Dexter had with men did not get projected on to my husband. Dex bonded to my husband (and me) very fast. If my husband wanted a devoted and loyal dog, he got it. From Dexter’s perspective, it seems that the sun sets and rises with my husband. So now my husband has two adoring fans in the household. 🙂

Dexter having a snooze on the couch with his human dad

Love Notes from My Husband

Last night as we were crawling into bed, CAH calmly informed me (as per usual) that he has hid 35 reasons why he loves me all over the house. Some, he said, would be easy to find. Some I’d find over time, and some I may not even find until we finally buy a house and move out of this house.

The significance of number 35 is because of the following conversation that took place between us a few years ago:

Me: I found a nice scarf that I think we should buy for Tita (his grandmother)
CAH: Oh yah? I love you
Me: I love you too
CAH: How much?
Me: 35
CAH: Huh??
Me: The scarf is $35
CAH:…no, I meant, how much do you love me?

To this day when one of us asks the other how much they love us, the answer is always “35”.

I recently started weaving a bundle of raffia I have into a chain. I am not really sure what I will do with the finished product, but after finding 4 of his little love notes this morning, I snagged a section of the chain and am using that to display the notes. So I shall post his funny and sweet little love notes as I find them. Not so much to make the rest of the world gag, as we are trying to scale-back on the gag-induction, but because I find that love inspires love. Whenever I hear of a sweet story about a couple, it always makes me reflect on how much I love my husband and am grateful for our relationship. So read our little love notes, be inspired, and don’t forget to tell your husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/lover how much you love and appreciate them.

Homemade Kombucha Recipe

I decided to make my own Kombucha! After looking up a bunch of homemade Kombucha recipes, I decided to go the kit-route.

For those of you who are Kombucha newbies, it is essentially fermented tea that has many, many health benefits. According to the website What is Kombucha?:

Kombucha is a living health drink made by fermenting tea and sugar with the Kombucha culture. The result can taste like something between sparkling apple cider and champagne, depending on what kind of tea you use.

In terms of its health benefits, they go on to state:

Supporters say that Kombucha tea can boost the immune system and reverse the aging process. Kombucha tea is said to contain antioxidants, compounds that block the action of free radicals (activated oxygen molecules that can damage cells). For people who have cancer, proponents claim the tea can improve the body’s defenses (especially in the early stages of cancer) by detoxifying the body and enhancing the immune system. After the body has been detoxified, the tea is said to help repair and balance the body and fight off disease.

Because the store-bought stuff can set you back $3-4/bottle, I decided to try my hand at making my own homemade kombucha.

This is what you need to start:

  • SCOBY – Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. You can find these online, or locally on craigslist.
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 12 black or green teabags
  • 1 gallon glass jug

I went the easy route, and ordered a Kombucha starter kit online through Oregon Kombucha.

My handy kit came complete with all of the above (sans 1 gallon glass jar) for $15. It also came with handy brewing instructions. Couldn’t have been easier!

I followed the instructions provided by Oregon Kombucha carefully by boiling 1 gallon of water, then taking it off the heat and adding the tea bags. They recommend leaving black tea bags in for 4 minutes and green or white tea bags in for 2 minutes. Since I used the green tea they enclosed in my kit, I left it to steep for 2 minutes. After that I took out the tea bag and added the sugar, stirring until dissolved.

Once I brewed the tea and added the sugar, I transferred the mixture to the jug and added the SCOBY. While it ferments, you have to keep it warm, dry and clean. It prefers temperatures of 75-90 degrees. Because I don’t typically keep my house at that temperature and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area (read: cold), we decided to put it in a box behind our computer, which is always warm. Here is our little Kombucha jug:

Homade Kombucha Recipe

Homemade Kombucha Recipe

It is recommended that you cover the jar loosely with a kitchen towel or t-shirt to allow the Kombucha to breathe, while blocking some light and keeping bugs, dirt, etc out of it. I covered with a mesh nutbag for extra bug protection (the sugary liquid does have me slightly worried about ants) and a clean dish towel. Now comes the waiting game. According to the Oregona Kombucha peeps, it will be ready in 7 days, but for a true big and tangy taste, wait up to 30 days. I do love the tangy Kombucha, so I shall do a taste test each week to see how it is coming along. More to come in a week!

Products I Love: Flight 001 | EMERGENCY DRINKS POUCH

CAH knows me well and decided to surprise me with this adorable makeup bag. He found this awesome store near his office in San Fran, Flight 001. If you are a frequent traveler, this is the store for you. You can order online, or if you are in the SF area, you must go in and take a look around.

He surprised me with this Pamela Barsky makeup bag and I am beyond thrilled to flash this feisty little bag around. It is a great size and made of a thick, durable canvas.

With other cheeky pouches such as the “period!” period pouch, the “my lipstick is redder than your lipstick” pouch, and the “don’t disrespect art” pouch, there is literally something for everyone. She also has an assortment of easy-to-spot luggage tags that will help distinguish your red or black bag from the sea of red and black bags on the luggage carousel. Definitely a must for the jet-set lifestyle!

Adorable Flight 001 Gift Bag

Adorable Flight 001 Gift Bag

Pamela Barsky Pouch

Pamela Barsky Pouch