1
Aug

Spruce Naturals Deodorant

by Tiffany in Beauty

I have written about deodorant many times here over the years and reviewed my fair share of products to find the best ones. It is actually a tall order to find a good, natural deodorant. You may find many that are made of safe and natural ingredients, that part is not hard. But finding one actually works like their conventional, toxic counterparts is quite a bit harder.

The ingredients list may be impressive but the ability to actually control odors for more than an hour is usually what is lacking. It smells mice, it feels nice going on, and then an hour or two later you reek and you walk around wondering if all your coworkers can smell you. Needless to say that deodorant goes in the garbage can.

Other options may rely heavily on ingredients that are natural but also irritating to the skin…such as baking soda. Many natural deodorant seekers have likely run across the baking soda burn that can be associated with these products. Red, inflamed pits mean another deodorant bites the dust. My own journey to finding the right deodorant has been fraught with misadventure (and burned pits).

So yes, finding a good deodorant is freakin hard! And yet you cannot give up on the search because conventional deodorants are bad news. They often times work well at controlling bad odors but they can have lots of nasty ingredients and more than one report coming from the scientific community has hinted at a possible link between the nasties in deodorant and beast cancer. Just a quick gander at breast cancer rates and you may soon find yourself freaking out about what kind of deodorant you are using. It is said that it only takes 26 seconds for a body care product to be absorbed into our bloodstream. That should make us very aware of what we use on our skin, no?

We don’t want to be slathering our pits with carcinogenic products or ones that will mess with our hormones (think parabens). We also don’t want chemical nasties from deodorant to show up in our breastmilk! The search must go on…

I have been lucky to find a few good ones over the years and I write about the ones I find here on this blog. I have another to add in Spruce Naturals.

Last month I rocked their 100% natural Herbal English Lavender. It is certified organic and made with bacteria fighting coconut oil and a deodorizing blend of essential oils. It is also vegan and cruelty free. Other ingredients include Carnauba wax, arrowroot powder, shea butter, and baking soda.

The baking soda is a side star and not the main star because I am prone to the pit burn caused when too much is used. I noticed no sensitivity at all while using Spruce Naturals. The coconut oil base made it go on very easy, especially since it is summer. I am curious to see how it fairs in the cold winter months. I think it would probably last a bit longer. That is really my only complaint, that is went too fast and I think it may be because it is so soft in summer it is hard to avoid using a bit too much.

But did it pass the smell test? Yes! It lasted my whole work day…which was recently about 9+ hours and I was not the least bit self conscious about smells. I did feel the desire on some days to shower before bed because it was wearing off but I can’t expect miracles here…it did the job for the majority of the day, including some days spent in the hot sun gardening after work.

The verdict is in and this deodorant passes the smell test. I would definitely buy again.

30
Jul

Best Foods to Beat Stress

by Tiffany in Healthy Eating

Best Foods to Beat Stress

Did you know that making a few changes to your diet can help you beat the stress you experience at home and at work? When you eat junk foods, you don’t feel as great about yourself. Foods that are high in sugar and junk carbs can leave you feeling bloated and tired, which will make stress even worse. Choosing the right foods can improve your general health and leave you smiling when you encounter stress. You can even toss in a supplement like Redicalm to battle stress in two different ways as you eat and snack. Whole foods are the best ways to get what you need for health but supplementation can cover nutritional gaps.

Avocado

Filled with healthy fats, natural vitamins, and minerals that can help reduce stress, avocado can help you feel better about yourself as a meal. A hot trend among foodies today is avocado toast, which is really just mashed avocado and some spices served on a piece of toast. You can peel and slice avocados before adding to a salad or a sandwich too, or you can mix mashed avocado with some spices, tomatoes, onions and jalapenos for a quick guacamole. There are even some great recipes for making desserts from avocado like a chocolate pudding that is healthier for you.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are an incredibly versatile vegetable that you can use in dozens of different ways to naturally deal with stress. Try dicing the veggies into chunks, mixing with some salt, pepper, garlic powder and olive oil and then roasting in the oven until tender. Many authentic Indian curries call for sweet potatoes that are perfect for a meatless Monday. You can also bake your potatoes in the microwave. Poke a few holes in the sweet potato after washing it and cook in the microwave for 10 to 15 minutes. Top with a little butter and brown sugar for a delicious side dish.

Cashews

Another ingredient that can help you cope with stress is the simple cashew. Cashews are great for those tired of filling up on empty calories too. You can make these nuts sweeter or more savory for using as a quick snack in the middle of the day or as a lower calorie dessert that features healthy fats. Roasting the nuts brings out the natural flavor, and you can choose which spices and seasonings to use on the nuts. Keep a bag filled with cashews at the office to get a boost of energy in the middle of the day and to reduce stress.

Turkey

One of the best meats for those suffering from stress is turkey. While you don’t need to roast a whole turkey every week, you should make smart decisions when buying turkey from the store. Stick to the deli counter and packaged meats that are free of sodium and artificial ingredients. Make a quick turkey salad from some thick chunks of turkey, a little low fat mayonnaise, celery and your favorite veggies. You can top a green salad with some thick slices of the turkey or make a sandwich from turkey and fresh vegetables.

Taking a supplement like Redicalm will help you battle any stressful situation without feeling anxious or upset. If you frequently experience stress, you also need to look at which foods will help you beat that stress. Eating more turkey, avocados, sweet potatoes and cashews can help you feel more relaxed and less stressed every day.

Best Foods for Stress

27
Jul

Geology Lab for Kids

by Tiffany in Homeschool

Want some activity ideas for your kiddos that will provide fun and education. Always! As a big fan of unschooling, even though my children are in public school, I am big on games, crafts, field trips, and activities that involve learning without really trying.

Enter Geology Lab for Kids – 52 Projects to explore rocks, gems, geodes, crystals, fossils, and other wonders of the earth’s surface. The book breaks up into 12 fun unit studies so this is really kind of perfect for homeschoolers and unschoolers who want to use it for some science learning and fun. It is a year’s worth of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) activities.

Here are a few of the fun things you will discover…

The first lab is on crystals and one of the first projects is how to make sugar crystals…we just happen to love to do. Learn about the science behind crystals and make rock candy. What kid will object to this unit study?

Lab five has a nifty unit for learning about crystal structure and you and your kids get to make a nest of needles.

Lab seven shows you how to make a cluster of geodes from common kitchen chemicals, like borax. This project also gives you a clever re-use idea for those leftover plastic easter eggs.

Lab 15 mimics what happens to lava flow when it cools and the project is super yummy…lava cakes!

Lab 39 encases a gummy bug or worm just like the way amber encases fossilized insects. Make a batch and watch Jurassic Park.

Lab 45 puts you on the hunt for micrometeorites.

Lab 48 includes a recipe for magnetic slime. Cool!

This book is quite literally a gem for curious mind. It provides many, many hours of educational and fun activities. Your kids might just be begging you to read this with them and try every single activity. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

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12
Jul

Ylang Ylang and Fennel Ice Cream

by Tiffany in Recipes

Ylang Ylang and Fennel Ice Cream

The inspiration for this ice cream began when I had a similar flavor at a local artisan ice cream shop. The sweetness of fennel and the floral notes from the Ylang Ylang essential oil just sang to me. And because I can source grassfed cream from the same local farm, making our own version was a no brainer. It is good….no REALLY good. It is silky, sweet, and luxurious. The addition of the candied fennel seeds also gives it a delightful crunch…as well as that green color (as I explain below). We have made it with regular fennel seeds too and it is just as yummy, but I prefer the candies. It makes about 5-6 small servings and that is more than enough for this really rich and satisfying dessert.

Ylang Ylang and Fennel Ice Cream

1 pint heavy cream (grassfed)
1 can organic sweetened condensed milk
1/4 C candied fennel seeds
3 Drops fennel essential oil
3 Drops Ylang Ylang essentially oil

Whip the cream, condensed milk, and oils to soft peaks and transfer to the freezer or an ice cream maker. Sprinkle with more candied fennel seeds for a crunch. It is a deliciously decadent and silky smooth ice cream! Oh and the green color is due to the constant rotation of the ice cream in our ice maker and transference of the candy dye. Regular fennel can be used as well, just toast them first for the best flavor. Enjoy!

Ylang Ylang and Fennel Ice Cream with Essential Oils

6
Jul

How Being Organized Can Save Time and Money

by Tiffany in Frugal Green

So are you bad with money or are you just disorganized? So many folks who think they just aren’t “good with money” are in actuality lacking good organizational skills. Being good with money is more about having a good mindset and good habits. Those habits need to be rooted in a very organized system. It is time to release your inner nerd and GET ORGANIZED! Once you do that, the money stuff will flow a whole lot easier.

The same applies to time mismanagement. You have all the time you need, you just need to allocate things better and organize your life better. Organization is beneficial for everyone and can be easily adapted to suit individual needs. Being organized in your everyday life actually saves you time and money. Here are a few of the reasons why.

Efficiency Creates Stress-Free Living

If you keep your belongings organized…if everything has a “home” (ie KonMari), you don’t need to spend time looking for them when needed. This is especially handy in the case of important yet rarely used items, such as that immersion blender you only use for homemade soup or insurance or tax information that you need once a year.

The key to keeping things organized is to come up with a place to keep something and stick to it. If you want to keep important mail in a desk drawer, make sure you keep all of your important mail in that drawer. Don’t be afraid of sorting your things too much. The more categories of things you come up with, the easier it will be to find exactly what you need when you need it. Imagine tax time without having to search through piles of paper or multiple filing cabinets. Imagine knowing exactly where that birthday cake pan is. Everything (and I do mean everything) needs a home.

organized to save time and money

Organization Keeps You From Wasting Money

Being organized keeps you from buying items that you already have, but you’ve forgotten about or lost in your household or workplace. How much food have you thrown out because it was expired and yet you kept right on buying more when you needed to use up what you had? It used to happen to me all the time. I also had to keep buying new items to replace ones I could not find. You’re more likely to forget about a pack of batteries you bought several months ago and never opened, than your car keys or your wallet. Combined, these types of purchases can end up costing you a significant amount of money for items that you already have or never needed in the first place.

Fortunately, this is a very fixable problem. By cleaning and organizing the designated “junk” drawers in your home or office and creating an inventory list of all the items, you will easily find the item you’re looking for the next time you go searching. This prevents unnecessary purchases and impulse buys at the store.

Organization Keeps You Sharp With Details

It can be hard to keep track of every detail when you have a lot going on in your life. Sometimes, bills can get lost in the shuffle and go unpaid, or household maintenance gets overlooked. By keeping all of your activities organized, you can get them done in a more efficient manner and you make sure that every detail is taken care of. Mail needs a home, unpaid bills need a home, bill payment needs a process and a place on your schedule, think about the processes you go through and organize them. Never pay late fees because you forgot a bill or run the risk of damaging your furnace because you forgot to add filter replacement to your calendar. You really can tackle all these little life details with better organization.

I love the ListPlanIt website for all the little details. They have a collection of lists that are so helpful. Do you need a weekly cleaning checklist, a fall cleanup or winterization checklist, a coupon inventory, or a car maintenance schedule? They have all of these and hundreds more.

Being Organized Saves Money on Shopping

If you plan out a menu for each month, you can buy many of your groceries in bulk, saving you time and frequent trips to the store. If you prepare a list ahead of time, you can also look for coupons or rebates ( I love iBotta!) that offer savings on the things you plan to buy.

The same applies to non-food items, which can be bought in bulk and stored for later use. Staying organized and keeping essentials stocked up saves you the stress of running out to make a special trip for more. You can also plan out birthday or holiday gifts well ahead of time, so that you can keep an eye out for a good deal AND start saving for bigger ticket items by putting money aside every week.

While it may take a bit of effort (or alot), organizing your life allows you to use your time more efficiently and to take full advantage of your finances. You become the master of your time and money and not the other way around! Not only that, but the more thought-out your budget or schedule is, the less you will worry about them.