A great checklist for going zero-waste in the kitchen via Pure Green Magazine

Going zero waste in the kitchen from Pure Green Magazine(1)

[photo credit: Lauren Kolyn + PGM; Sourced through Scoop.it from: feedproxy.google.com]

I’m not sure I paid that much attention to it. All the plastic, I mean. Specifically the plastic in my kitchen. But once I did…

…I saw it everywhere.

It was wrapped around my food, and spilling out of my pantry, and overflowing from the cabinet next to the fridge. My brushes were plastic. My utensils were plastic. My food storage was plastic.

This excess of plastic could have bothered me from an environmental standpoint. But to be honest, it was the attractiveness and natural beauty of the non-plastic alternatives that motivated me to start looking into ways to reduce and replace the plastic in my kitchen.

Since starting, I’ve learned from much experience that reducing plastic in the kitchen is easier said than done. Plastic is popular for a reason: it’s convenient, it’s practical, it’s effective at many, many things.

So when I read this article from Pure Green Magazine, I felt like it was an excellent roadmap for reducing plastic in the kitchen. Full of eight doable steps like getting rid of plastic wrap and parchment paper, the article also shares suggestions for replacements. And it says this:

“Swap one thing out at a time so that the process feels manageable and you aren’t trying to break many habits at one time—it increases the chances of lasting change and success.”

This little piece of advice, I think, is the key. Take it one step at a time. In spite of the gorgeous pictures of natural kitchens on Pinterest, getting there isn’t an overnight process. Replacing effective and convenient plastic items takes time, and sometimes a little adjustment.

So if you’re looking for a way to remove plastic from your kitchen, this list is a great place to start. Just don’t try to finish in one day.

P.S. This list has even more ideas for going zero waste at home. Some I’ve tried and some I haven’t. Maybe I’ll try putting together a little course based on these lists and put them into a calendar for you to download and try out ideas in baby steps. Would you be interested in something like that?

Save

Save

21-Day Decluttering Challenge

21-day decluttering challenge

As a practicing minimalist you wouldn’t think that I’d need a decluttering challenge, but I do. I accumulate stuff just like Every. One. Else.

So let’s debunk a fallacy right now: Decluttering is not something you do once. It’s something you do again and again each year.  Because…

…people give you things you don’t always use.

…and you buy things you think you’ll need but then never end up using.

…and your life changes, including your interests and needs and the size of your waistline.

All of these things make decluttering an ongoing pursuit, and I’m overdue for a pass through my possessions.

My primary motivation for decluttering is always the same: To create space for new things to grow in my life.

*

I’d love you to join me. What new things would you like to create space for? A new relationship? A new hobby? A new business? A new healthy way of living?

Let’s not make the common mistake of trying to cram this new thing into our current life and space. Our clutter, unfinished projects, unsightly junk, and neglected objects are weighing us down—stealing precious energy from something new we’re trying to grow.

So let’s create some breathing room, K?

Join me on a 21-day decluttering challenge:

  1. Every day, for 21 days, find 10 objects to get rid of.
  2. These objects can be physical or digital (though I recommend that you stick to physical as much as possible because they offer a better psychological bang for your buck.).
  3. Get rid of them. (This step is obvious but for real–how many times have you created a donate pile and then let it sit in your closet, car or entryway for months?)

Easy, right? I’ll be sharing what I’m getting rid of, plus a couple things that I’ve found to be helpful with decluttering along the way, so follow my progress, and share your own, on Instagram.

Ready? Go.

Minimalist Health Challenge

6-week Minimalist Health Challenge for diet and exercise

I’ve gone soft. Not soft emotionally, but soft in my arms. Specifically the jiggly part under my triceps. I’m sure you know which part I’m speaking of.

This softness is a disappointing development for me. Just over a year ago that part of my arm was firm and toned, along with my shoulders and the muscles in my back. Just over a year ago I could do SEVEN pull-ups in a row (which is not bad for a scrawny girl). And not cheater pull-ups, either. These were the real deal.

Alas, right now I could maybe do two pull-ups. Maybe.

The decline downward in health and fitness can be caused by a lot of reasons. Having a baby. Grief. Burnout. For me it was a change in priorities, which lead to a change in schedule. Specifically I replaced my early morning workout sessions with writing sessions. I don’t regret this decision, but one year later the lack of consistent physical activity is apparent.

In other words, I miss my biceps.

Because of this, and because spring break is just over six weeks away and my plans are to be in a sunny, warm location, I have some work to do. I want to tone up, eat better, and generally get this stiff body moving more. And I want to do it in the simplest, most minimal way possible without radically changing my routine, and without committing to an intense program.

So I’ve created a Minimalist Health Challenge for myself. Part experiment, part resolution, the rules of of this challenge are that there are no rules.

Instead, I’m asking the following questions:

Can I increase my overall health and fitness (aka be bikini-ready) in six weeks without a diet or a formal workout routine?

Can I organically fit physical activity into my day in a way that adds up to results but doesn’t require me to set aside a thirty-minute workout time? Is writing down what I eat enough to encourage me to choose healthy food?

My bet is Yes to all. Yes, I’ll tone up without actually “working out.” Yes, I’ll eat healthier. And Yes, I’ll be bikini-ready. To help, I’m doing the following two things:

  1. Keeping a food diary: Diet experts claim that there’s a lot of power in keeping a log of what we eat. I want to put that claim to the test. Without counting calories or tracking portion sizes or restricting certain foods, I’m simply going to write down everything I eat and drink and see what happens to my eating habits.
  2. Keeping a fit diary: Similar to food, I’m going to write down my physical activity for the day, plus notes about when they happen (ex. “twenty lunges while waiting for toaster in break room at work”). My theory is that we’re over-complicating fitness by compartmentalizing it into “workout sessions.” We’ll see what happens when I break down the compartments.

Like every good health challenge, I’m sharing a photo of my “before” at the start. We’ll see what kind of “after” a minimalist approach to health produces.

6-week Minimalist Health Challenge before picture

You’re invited to follow along with me on this challenge, and join in yourself. I’ll be posting regular updates, including what I’m eating and how I’m moving, on Instagram at @minimalisthealthchallenge.

Save

The happy side effects of getting rid of labels in your home

get rid of labels for a clean, minimal home style

When I asked for amber pump bottles for Christmas, I’m sure my family thought I was being weird (as per usual). It’s just that I’d see this picture on Pinterest and was immediately reminded about a little mission I’d been toying around with.

The mission is to go label-less.

Going label-less was first introduced to me by this pin from Apartment Therapy.

Living the Label-less Life:

The headline, Living the Label-less Life, was compelling, but it was the image that truly captivated me. This clean, simple kitchen made me physically sigh a breath of relief.

Yes, I thought. I want that.

Reducing labels in our lives is one part aesthetic (nerd-talk for making things look pretty), and one part resistance to our over-saturated advertisement culture.

Regarding the latter, we now spend more than eight hours per day exposed to media and twenty hours weekly online, and that whole time is filled with ads.

To see what I mean, try this exercise with yourself: for the rest of the day pay careful attention to how many ads you see. You can spot them on sidebars and sprinkled all over social media. Some of them are overt, and others are careful product placements within the content itself.

It’s a lot, right? And it doesn’t include other ads we’re exposed to, including the billboards, mailers, catalogs, and packaging labels filling our lives.

These ads aren’t inherently bad–I’ve discovered a lot of great new products and services from them. But they are coming at us like water from a fire hose. And the clean, minimal kitchen pictured above reminded me that sometimes you just need a break, right?

When you remove labels from your life and home, you:

  • Invite visual calm, which in turn invites emotional and mental calm. I’m not sure we all fully comprehend the toll these ads take on us until we experience peace when they’re gone…
  • You get a break from being hounded constantly by marketing messages screaming to you from every surface that “you deserve this” and “your life will be complete with this revolutionary, life-changing product.”
  • Create an atmosphere for others that feels peaceful
  • Have spaces and clothing that look put-together and tidy (even if you haven’t cleaned in ages)
  • Opt-out of the pressure to buy and display the “right” brands. Peer pressure is so a thing left better for your past teenage-self.

To start going label-less, here are three easy-to-tackle labels to remove:

  • Common personal care products that are out in the open (like your shampoo and conditioner bottles)
  • Kids’ products, like car seats, strollers, bouncy chairs and toys
  • Pantry staples (I so long for a pantry that looks like this…)**
  • **BONUS: removing labels from your food is easiest when you start shopping bulk, and a happy side-effect of bulk food that you end up eating more healthy, clean, whole foods

So what do you think? Would you try it? If yes, here’s a request: remove a label or two from your home, snap a photo of it, and then share it on Instagram. Tag me @stephaniehillberry so that I can see your label-less idea (and maybe adopt it myself).

> Related: a month of mini fresh starts

> Join me on Instagram

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

The diet-friendly Hot Salad formula that’ll make healthy eating effortless

try hot salad formula and turn salads into comfort food

After years of believing that I was destined to a lifetime of forcing myself to eat salads in the name of health, I accidentally stumbled upon a secret to healthy eating that changed my life.

The secret was Hot Salad, and since discovering it, I’ve managed to eat 2-4 cups of veggies almost every day of my life without even trying.

During this time I’ve developed a formula for building these salads that consistently produces hearty, tasty, healthy salads that feel more like comfort food than…well, salad.

I’d love for you to try this formula, experiment with it, and tell me your favorite combinations!

Some of my favorite Hot Salad combinations include:

  • Cabbage and brussels sprout mix with roasted cauliflower and salmon, topped with horseradish sauce and walnuts
  • Kale and broccoli slaw mix with roasted potatoes, sausage and sauerkraut, topped with mustard and rosemary
  • Kale and spinach with roasted sweet potatoes and last night’s hamburger topped with homemade mayo.

What will you come up with? Tag me on Instagram (@stephaniehillberry) with your favorite combo.

And now, without further adieu–

The Hot Salad formula: two parts leafy veggie(s) that can take some heat + one part additional veggie(s) prepared by your preference + one part protein, then topped with your choice of herbs, nuts, and condiments. Serve hot (#obviously).

Here’s a (non-exhaustive) list of options for each category to get you started.

[two parts] Leafy veggies that can take some heat:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli slaw
  • Coleslaw mix
  • Cabbage
  • Swiss chard
  • Collard greens

[one part] Veggies raw, roasted, grilled, or stir-fried:

  • Cauliflower
  • Peppers
  • Sweet potato
  • White potato
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Green beans
  • Carrots, parsnips
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Eggplant
  • Squash (all types)
  • Peas (sweet, snap, snow)
  • Mushrooms
  • Tomato
  • And basically any other veggie you can think of

[one part] Protein:

  • Grilled chicken, steak, fish, pork
  • Tuna
  • Tofu
  • Beans
  • Sausage
  • And last night’s leftovers, including casseroles, pasta dishes, thick stews/chili, etc. (aka my favorite choice)

Top with a combination of one or all of:

Herbs

  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Dill

Nuts & Seeds

  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Peanuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Cashews

Condiments

  • Pesto
  • Mustard
  • Horseradish
  • Hot sauce
  • Mayo
  • Salad dressing

Related: the healthy-eating secret you’ve never heard of

Related: a month of mini fresh starts

Join me on Instagram

After years of believing that I was destined to a lifetime of forcing myself to eat salads in the name of health, I accidentally stumbled upon a secret to healthy eating that changed my life.

 

Save

The healthy-eating secret you’ve never heard of

hot salad is a dieter's secret

Settled into the restaurant booth, my friends were talking around me as I feigned attention. Really I was hosting a frequent and familiar debate with myself:

Salad or…anything else?

Like so many moments before, I found myself envying “the salad eaters,” those mystical creatures who seemed to enjoy chewing on cold lettuce and veggies. My mother was one of these people, forever choosing the most colorful salad on the menu every time we went out. She made the decision seem so effortless–so easy.

It was as if she preferred the healthy choice.

I, on the other hand, eyed salad bars with skeptical mistrust. I found lettuce to be…watery. I was consistently bored halfway through a salad, and then immediately starving once it was finally consumed.

But like a good girl who understood the basics of healthy eating, I diligently ate my salads with discipline the way a person flosses or takes the stairs instead of the elevator. I’d resigned myself to a lifetime of forced salad-eating in the name of health, figuring that my future self would thank me.

But then a surprise…

I’m not sure how it happened exactly, though I know it wasn’t one specific event but rather a series of changes over a period of time. But at some point I realized that without even trying, I’d become a mystical “salad eater.”

Only it wasn’t the kind of salad I was used to.

And so now we come to the reason you’re still reading this article. Here’s the part where I share the secret to eating healthy that you’ve never heard of.

The secret is Hot Salad.

As it turns out, I love salad. I love green leafy veggies heaped onto plates with colorful and crunchy counterparts. I love them so much that eating them everyday isn’t a chore at all; I actually prefer it.

The difference, surprisingly, is all about the temperature.

Specifically, I like what happens to veggies when they’re roasted, grilled, and steamed. And if it’s leafy, I universally prefer it to be the kind that can take a little heat. Like kale, for instance. And spinach. And cabbage.

Here’s where the “hot” part of the hot salad deviates from regular salad: when my coworkers, for instance, are pulling out their homemade salads for lunch, I pull out mine as well. Except instead of immediately jumping in with a fork and dressing, I head to the microwave and heat my salad for about 2 minutes.

This extra step creates some kind of happy alchemy whereby my greens soften, my flavorful toppings meld together, and my salad transforms into something more like a hearty, comfy casserole than like a…salad.

You can see why this would be appealing.

Two years after accidentally discovering this trick, I’m still eating hot salad almost every day of the year. The exceptions are days when a crisp, cold salad sounds wonderful. Like in July. (Note: this salad is still never built exclusively on iceberg, romaine, or spring mix. I. Just. Can’t.)

And the best part: I don’t have to work at eating healthy. It’s natural. It’s easy.

Curious to learn more? Good, because there’s actually a satisfying little formula for hot salad and I’m sharing it right HERE.

 

What if you stopped trying to fix yourself?

stop trying to fix yourself

I was standing at the sink washing dishes about a week ago. Let’s call it “angry washing” because I’d just finished an argument with my husband, and as per usual for couples who’ve been together longer than a day, we’d both said some things we didn’t mean…and maybe some things we did.

During this argument my husband had listed a few of my shortcomings. This list included “not being a good listener,” as well as “always thinking of yourself first.” (Don’t feel too bad for me here. I, too, liberally shared a list of his shortcomings.)

As I shuffled dinner plates from the sink to the dishwasher, the blood pumping in my veins eventually cooled, and with it the realization that he was right–not about everything, but certainly about the bad listening and self-centeredness. These were flaws I was well aware of; flaws I’m constantly attempting to overcome.

Feeling ashamed, I immediately started brainstorming ways that I could try harder to improve.

I recalled tactics I’d used in the past but had quit trying, and resolved to try again. I devised a 30-day challenge for myself in a matter of moments (for the record, some delusional part of me earnestly believes that all problems can be solved with a 30-day challenge). I imagined a future version of myself being better, and receiving praise from my husband and others in place of critique.

And that’s when I heard it. In the midst of my self-coaching, a quiet Voice spoke from my heart.

“You don’t have to fix yourself,” it whispered.

(**Insert dramatic pause**)

With those six words, my eyes filled with tears as a feeling of freedom rushed in, removing all the shame. Instantly I recognized how much energy I put into trying to fix myself, and how much pressure I place on myself to try harder and be better. I’m always striving to grow and improve.

It’s exhausting.

***

Reader, I’m sharing this story because I’m not blind. I read your Instagram updates and see your pins. I talk to you over dinner and hear the words you’re saying about yourself. Here’s what I know:

You’re just like me–always trying to fix yourself.

Let me say–I love this about you. The “better version” of you that you’re striving for is a more loving, more generous, more kind, more patient, more present person. In other words, your heart is SO in the right place. I see that.

Also, growth is good. We were designed to grow–it’s literally in our DNA. When we’re not growing, we’re stuck, and stuck feels worse than striving.

But somewhere in the midst of growth, what was supposed to be natural became work. And work led to pressure, which opened the door to failure and shame. Do you feel the shame? Because I certainly do. Which is why that quiet Voice brought me to tears.

In that moment of clarity when the Voice spoke, I was filled with such an optimistic hope for myself. I simultaneously knew two things that contradicted each other:

One, I was accepted just as I was in that moment, and for every moment afterward. I knew that if I spent every day for the rest of my life being exactly this flawed (or even more flawed), that was okay.

Two, I was “fixable.” There’s a power greater than me working good things into my spirit. I don’t have to work for it; I just need to go with it.

I want these two realizations to sink into your heart, too. Because there’s freedom and hope on the other side of pressure and trying harder.

So, here are two things to try instead of fixing yourself

Receive grace.

Grace is favor that you don’t earn and don’t deserve.

Let me repeat that: you don’t earn it.

Grace is a beautiful, wonderful gift that trumps self-improvement every day of the week. It heals. It restores. And because it’s a gift, you don’t work for it. You just accept it. But grace and fixing yourself are like oil and water–they don’t mix. You have to let go of the one in order to have the other.

Let go and trust.

Trust that healing is happening, and you don’t have to force it. Trust that you’re not alone–that there is a Helper always guiding you, speaking through your heart and revealing truth along the way. And then embrace the adventure of not being the one in control, and see what happens. I think it will surprise you. I hope so.

Eight simple ideas for cutting back on sugar

eight ideas to quit sugar

eight ways to quit sugar

Note: I’m doing a month of mini fresh starts, including cutting back on sugar by unsweetening things I normally sweeten. Here’s the whole list of mini fresh starts if you want to join in.

I expect them to pop up any day now–the posts on Instagram declaring new diet resolutions. Whole 30 seems to be the most popular choice in my feed; perhaps for you it’s something different. Maybe your people are going vegan or trying Paleo or eating clean.

I have nothing against diet resolutions. I’ve done Whole 30 and it was a truly great experience. But I know myself and doing a total diet overhaul is just too much right now. Can you relate to the feeling? Sometimes a big change isn’t feasible. It just takes too much energy, too much discipline, too much effort. That’s okay.

When big changes are too much, I turn to small ones. For diet, one of my go-to favorite changes is to cut back on sugar. I like to set a goal for how many “sugar free” days I can have in a week. This week it’s four days. For four days I want to pass on sweets, on added sugar, and on dessert.

The amazing thing about cutting out sugar is that your taste buds start changing almost immediately. Also…

If you cut back on sugar, you’ll start to notice the following within a week:

  • that sugar starts to taste weird–cloying and out of place
  • that sweets gradually become too sweet
  • that your craving for sugar diminishes
  • that other flavors in your food become more prominent and enjoyable
  • that store-bought foods are weirdly sweet, and homemade tastes better
  • that You. Just. Don’t. Need. It. Anymore.

Ready to give it a try? Here are eight ideas for cutting out sugar that you can start today:

1. Replace soda (including diet) with sparkling or soda water. A couple years ago I realized that carbonation was what I loved most about soda–not the sugar. So I switched from cola to drinks like Perrier and La Croix, and started asking for soda water with lime at restaurants.

2. Try removing sugar from your morning tea/coffee. I used to think that my favorite tea was perfect with just a hint of sugar to bring out the flavor. Now the taste of sugar in my tea–even a little bit–ruins it. Honestly I was amazed at how quickly this shift happened; after a couple days of feeling like my tea was bland, suddenly my preference shifted and I started liking the new unsweetened version. Now I’ll never go back.

3. Eat fruit or nuts instead of cookies, granola bars, etc. Mid-afternoon is my hour of temptation. I start to feel my energy fade and crave a boost to get me through the rest of the work day. This is when chocolate or cookies, or really any kind of carb-y sweet thing, calls to me. To fend off the temptation and satisfy my craving, I’ll turn to fruit and nuts. Apples with cashews. Oranges with peanuts. Carrots with almond butter. You get the idea.

4. For homemade baked goods, try brown rice syrup instead of maple syrup. Available at health food stores (and even some big commercial chains), brown rice syrup is lightly sweet but contains no fructose or sucrose. It’s a great alternative in recipes that call for sugar, syrup, or honey.

5. Replace commercial nut butter with natural nut butter. Health food stores almost always sell a variety of natural nut butters, including almond, peanut, and cashew. Avoid the “honey roasted” versions, and check the ingredients. The kind you’re looking for lists just the nut and perhaps an added oil and salt. If you can’t find a sugar-free option, or if you’re looking for a zero waste choice, buy the nuts you like in bulk and blend them into butter at home using your food processor.

6. Make homemade salad dressing instead of using commercial versions. I don’t know what it is with salad dressing but the commercial versions almost always have sugar. It’s weird to think that we’re all putting sugar on our veggies, right? For unsweetened versions, make your own dressings at home. Pinterest has tons of recipes, or try this really fun salad dressing dice set to play with combinations.

7. Choose home-baked bread instead of store-bought bread. Confession: I love baking bread. I keep a sourdough starter healthy and hungry in my pantry so that I can whip up sourdough loaves on the weekends. However, I realize that not everyone loves baking bread as much as I do. If this is you, there are some commercial brands that don’t have sugar–just check the label. Generally sourdoughs are a safe bet, and whole grain breads are not (they almost always have sugar). Tortillas are also a good sugar-free alternative. Like with most things, once you get used to unsweetened bread, the sweet versions start tasting weird.

8. Try these almond butter cups. If you’re really craving a rich desert, make these. As listed, the recipe is really low on sugar but high on satisfaction. And if you’re really wanting to keep it sugar-free, you can modify it the way I do by replacing the honey with brown rice syrup and the chocolate chips with unsweetened cocoa powder. Also, I like these better with peanut butter but that’s just me.

What do you think? Would these ideas work for you? Also, what other small diet changes are you making this month? Tag me on Instagram to share your plans, or leave a comment here.

Also, two resources for quitting sugar that I’ve found to be helpful and inspiring:

  1. I Quit Sugar website
  2. Year of No Sugar memoir

Related: a month of mini fresh starts

Related: a dude-approved (healthy) hot lunch formula

Join me on Instagram
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Seven ways to make bedtime more luxurious

make bedtime more luxurious

Note: I’m doing a month of mini fresh starts, including making bedtime more luxurious. Here’s the whole list of mini fresh starts if you want to join in.

When I was living in the dorms as a college freshman, I went to bed at 11PM. My friends were just putting in their pizza order outside my door and I was like, “Well, goodnight y’all. See you tomorrow.”

Related, I’ve seen the ball in Times Square drop at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve maybe once. Why? Because I’ve been sound asleep every other year.

And just like a seventy-year-old (or four-year-old–take your pick), I now go to bed around 9:30PM. Seriously. Even on Fridays.

In other words, this lady loves her sleep, thank you.

Because I love sleep, and because I’m damn good at this whole “sleep hygiene” thing everyone is buzzing about (who knew this was a skill to be good at?), I thought I’d share some ideas for making bedtime even more luxurious and enjoyable. The kind of luxurious that you look forward to. The kind that soothes your racing thoughts into quiet oblivion.

If you try these bedtime ideas, you will:

  • look forward to going to bed rather than procrastinate and stay up too late
  • have an easier time slowing down your racing thoughts at the end of the day
  • fall asleep quicker
  • sleep better
  • and wake up feeling refreshed

Here’s what you do:

Seven ideas for making bedtime more luxurious

  1. Turn the heat down an hour or so before bedtime: a cool room helps you sleep and makes your bed feel extra comfy and inviting. If you’re worried about getting cold, keep a blanket or pair of socks at the foot of the bed in case you need them.
  2. Get the bed nice and toasty: prep a hot water bottle about thirty minutes before bedtime and stash it between your sheets at the foot of the bed so that it’ll be nice and warm for your feet by the time you crawl in. (Note: if you’re a hot sleeper like I am, skip this step or else you’ll be baking in your sheets.)
  3. Upgrade your sheets: I used to have these economical cheap cotton sheets that pilled after washing and felt terribly scratchy. Don’t do this to yourself. Splurge on a nice pair of sheets–high thread count cotton or linen. You’ll thank yourself, trust me.
  4. Make your sheets smell amazing: essential oil linen spray is easy to DIY (see Pinterest for ideas), and there’s nothing better than a lovely-smelling pillow to lay your head on. For heavier-duty, not-so-natural-but-absolutely-wonderful scents, try Tyler Candle’s Glamorous Wash detergent. You’re welcome.
  5. Invest in pajamas that you love: You alone get to decide what’s comfortable for sleeping. Slinky negligee? Giant cotton tshirt? Your birthday suit? Find out what you like, and then find it in the best fabric possible (ex. silk. The answer is silk.).
  6. Lather up with lotion: fend off dry, itchy winter skin by applying your favorite lotion to heels, hands, face, and lips before bed.
  7. Indulge in your favorite fiction book: put a final cap on your day by retreating into a favorite fiction book, thus leaving your racing, real-life thoughts behind.

I’m curious: does sleeping come easy to you or not so much?

Related: a month of mini fresh starts

Join me on Instagram

Antiperspirant Detox: Day 3

antiperspirant detox day 3

Note: I’m doing a month of mini fresh starts, including removing a chemical from my beauty or cleaning routine. Here’s the whole list of mini fresh starts if you want to join in.

The weather forecast calls for snow over the next three days. So, naturally, I decided to take advantage of cold temperatures and start an antiperspirant detox.

Sounds awesome, right? Here’s the backstory…

I’ve never been a fan of antiperspirant

It’s sticky, it stains my clothes, and it gums up my razor. Over the years I’ve tried a lot of alternative options to get away from the stuff, including various deodorants and one armpit crystal.

All of them were total failures. This created a dilemma because…

[More backstory] During the second week of my freshman year in college I was at a party awkwardly trying to meet people and fit in. I was feeling that familiar tension between excitement over my new campus life and loneliness, and was hoping to make some new friends.

I was also wearing a fuzzy red cardigan that wasn’t going the distance. After a couple hours packed into a warm room, I was getting a little…um…odorous. Not oblivious to this unfortunate development, I was strictly keeping my arms pinned to my sides like a serial killer in a straight jacket. (Ahem–I’m sure this posture was not helping me make new friends…) And then I overheard the following from a small group of girls to my left:

“Do you smell that?” one girl said, sniffing the air with a sour look on her face.

“What?” said another girl.

“It smells like B.O.,” whispered the first girl conspiratorially, looking around for the source of the offensive odor.

Reader–I WANTED TO DIE.

I don’t think the group ever actually pinpointed me as the stinky culprit, but needless to say, it was an emotionally damaging event for a lonely eighteen-year-old.

I don’t want to be the smelly girl. Ever.

I share this to make a point: I don’t want to be the smelly girl again. EVER. As far as I’m concerned, that one time was enough, thank you very much. So when I started toying around again with the idea of using a natural deodorant, I had one rule: No. Stinky. Girl.

This brings me back to today. I’m officially on day 3 of an antiperspirant detox (I found this post by Kathryn to be very helpful) and though it’s been fairly benign, I’ll confess that I’m back to my serial-killer-in-a-straight-jacket posture just to be safe.

Here are the rules for an antiperspirant detox:

Wear no antiperspirant or deodorant of any kind until you quit being stinky. Only then can you start wearing a natural deodorant and expect it to work. Allegedly the process takes 1-3 weeks, and can be sped up with a mixture of bentonite clay (a natural detoxifier, pictured below) and vinegar applied under the armpits and then rubbed off.

antiperspirant detox day 3

Needless to say, I’ve been religious with the bentonite.

So far I can report that I am not appreciably smelly-er than I was wearing antiperspirant. Yes–by the end of the day I need a shower but that’s not unusual. Tomorrow, however, is the real test since I’ll be heading back to work at my day job where I’ll be around actual people who know me and aren’t obligated by matrimonial law to tolerate my smells. We’ll see how it goes…. I’m bringing a washcloth for an emergency mid-day freshen-up session just to be safe. Stay tuned as the antiperspirant saga continues…

Related: a month of mini fresh starts

Join me on Instagram