I’m quitting my job!!! I still can’t believe I’m doing this. I put my notice in yesterday. I had the resignation letter written and sitting in my inbox for weeks. I just sat on it, prayed over it, talked about it a lot with my husband and close friends until I was sure I was really ready to take this jump. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time but I’ve been scared. Really scared. Now that I’ve sent the letter out and my boss responded giving me so much love, encouragement, and support, I feel a sense of peace and excitement. I’m still really nervous because the consistent paycheck will be gone soon and that scares me a lot. But, at the same time, I know my family and I will be just fine. I know God is in control and He will provide for our needs. Quitting my job is me taking a leap of faith. As scary as it is, I just keep reminding myself of a line in my artist prayer, “I trust God and He is safe to follow”. The dreams that I am pursuing He gave me and I know essentially I have nothing to fear. I don’t know if this peace and excitement I’m feeling will disappear in a couple weeks on my last day when I walk out of that door, but right now I’m excited and I’ve already started implementing the plans I’ve made to prepare for this moment. In a couple weeks, I’m going to be my own boss!! I’m super excited and scared as F*&k!! But, here we go!

Shalieah G.

I came across this video today on Twitter and I want to share it because it was just the confirmation and encouragement I needed. It gave me a sense of, ” yes, I’m totally headed in the right direction.”

 

Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark. -Agnes De Mille

Trust that still small voice that says, “This might work and I’ll try it.” -Diane Mariechild

6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7

 

No one:

Me: maybe I should rethink this

also Me:

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Have you ever quit your job? Were you scared? Did you have a plan? Did it work out? Was it hard? I have so many questions. I WOULD LOVE TO CHAT BELOW!

Here I will provide you with four different variations of a soap base. This will also serve as a reference point for all face and hair cleanser recipes. You will simply add one of the following to any recipe that calls for a soap base. Choose whichever one you find most convenient. Each variation will keep forever once made.

Castile Soap Base

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Bar:
All-One Hemp Baby Unscented Pure-Castile Bar Soap finely grated  *      5 Oz.
Purified water       5 cups

This is the cheapest option. A single bar of  Dr. Bonners Castile Soap is $4.79.
You can get a pack of 3 on Amazon for $15, which breaks down to $5 a bar. I suggest checking your local grocery store, natural health food store, or target first. I always recommend shopping in your local community first before heading online.

*I suggest the baby unscented bar because it has no added fragrance and is good for sensitive skin.

Direction
• Add water to a pot and bring to a simmer.
• Add the grated soap and bring to a low boil, stirring until the soap completely dissolves.
• Store in a glass jar.

Liquid:
18-In-One Hemp Baby Unscented Pure-Castile Liquid Soap        1/4 cup

This is the most convenient option in my opinion. You just simply add 1/4 cup of this soap to any recipe that calls for a soap base. Easy peasy, right?

 

Pure Soap Flakes

Soap flakes can be found at most health food stores and pharmacies so check there first before heading online.

Soap flakes     5 ounces
Purified water    5 cups

Directions
• Add water to a pot and bring to a simmer.
• Add flakes, stirring until soap dissolves.
• Let cool and store in a large glass jar.

This mixture will most likely gel and become clumpy after sitting for a while. Rest assured, it’s still good and safe to use. Just take the amount you need and whisk it or put it in a small blender when you make your hair or face cleanser recipe.

Soapwort Root

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Soapwort root is the raw material of soaps and other cleaning products. You can most likely find some at a natural health food store or an herbalist may be able to provide you with some or possible point you in the right direction.

Crushed soapwort root     1 oz.
Purified Water    6 cups

Directions

Place crushed soapwort root in a large glass pyrex bowl.
Bring water to a rapid boil and pour it over the soapwort root.
leave it to infuse for about an hour.
Once ready, filter it through a cheesecloth, milk bag, or coffee filter.
(I prefer the milk bag. It’s the easiest to use and wash)

Store in a large glass jar

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When you shampoo using this option, you will need to use larger quantities of the final recipe. About 2 tablespoons EXTRA of the finished recipe.
Ex: If the direction calls for you to use 2 tablespoons of a shampoo recipe you will need to use 4 tablespoons of the FINAL recipe when using this option as your soap base.

 

Okay, now that we got the basics out of the way let’s get started making our first face soap cleanser! It’s super simple. I promise!

NOTE: If you’re in a pinch and want to make one of the hair or face cleansers I share on my blog but don’t have the ingredients needed to make the soap base (or you just don’t feel like making your own soap base), simply use a 1/4 cup of your favorite store-bought shampoo or facial cleanser as your soap base. If you are not already, I suggest using something that is natural and free of harsh chemicals. The whole point here is to create skincare products that are simple, pure and as natural as possible.

Anywhoo, happy soap making if you try it out! Let me know how it works out for you…PLEASE!

I posted an oil-based face cleansing paste a while back and I know using an oil-based cleanser can be a bit scary for some so here is a simple facial soap cleanser. When I want to whip up a facial cleanser really quickly this is my go-to.

Facial Soap Cleanser

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Soap Base *      1/4 cup
Liquid lecithin**  1/4 cup
Cider Vinegar    1 tablespoon
Essential oil***     10 drops

Directions

• Place all ingredients in a blender and blend well.
• Store in a small glass jar (or wash and reuse an old bottle from a previous face cleanser).
• Pour a small amount in your hand and massage into face.
• Rinse well

* If you are using liquid castile soap or a store bought facial cleanser as your soap base, add 1 cup of water to the above recipe.

** Lecithin is a substance naturally found in the tissues of the body. It’s made up of fatty acids and has a variety of commercial and medical uses. Liquid lecithin is an oil-like substance most commonly extracted from egg yolk, soybeans, and sunflowers used to preserve, emulsify (make water and oil combine), and moisturize. When used in skincare products it is used to soften, protect, moisturize, and lubricate the skin.

*** Use an essential oil that suits your skin type.

Essential oils for dry to normal skin:
Chamomile German
Lavender
Sandalwood
Patchouli
Rose
Bois de rose
Hyssop
Benzoin
Calendula
Geranium
Palma rosa
Rosemary
Neroli

Essential oils for oily to normal skin:
Chamomile German
Juniper
Palma Rosa
Lemon
Lime
Orange
Frankincense
Lavender
Geranium
Cypress
Pettigraine
Marjoram
Rosemary
Jasmine
Ylang-ylang

NOTE: I personally use Edens Garden Essential Oils and NOW Essential Oils. I have been using Edens Garden for about five years and I really love their oils. About a year ago I discovered NOW Oils at my local health food store and began purchasing their oils after doing a little research on the brand. I also use NOW because I prefer to shop locally before shopping online.  When I’m able to purchase a large number of oils I order through Edens Garden. I suggest checking out Edens Garden. Read through their FAQ’s, email, or call if you’d like more info. I personally love them because their oils are pure, high quality, and they are NOT an MLM company! SOLD!

Anywhoo, hope you give this Facial Soap Cleanser a try and if you do please let me know how it worked out for you in the comments!

Dear Lord,
I come to you this day with a heart of thanks.
Thank you for this day, for another opportunity to create,
be creative, and be the artist you designed me to be.
Today, I ask that you would touch my heart and mind,
taking away all fear that stands in the way of me honoring
and worshiping you creatively, artistically, and authentically.
Help me to not look to the left or to the right and become bogged
down by other peoples expectations, opinions, and negative thoughts of me.
But, let my eyes look directly forward, and my gaze be straight before you.
Help me look solely to you as my source for approval.
And, give me the courage I need to be completely and totally me.
Help me to remember that my identity is rooted in you and you alone.
Help me not to get off course by comparing myself to others.
You have given me my own unique journey and path to walk.
Help me to walk that path purposefully, authentically, courageously, boldly, and obediently.
Help me to remember that I am just an instrument and your creativity flows through me.
Help me to remember you are enough.
Lord, I ask that you have your way with me artistically and creatively.
Help me to fully let go, fully trust you, and to fully get out of your way.
I trust you to lead me and I trust that it is safe to follow you.
I desire to heal, love and inspire through my art.
I ask that you would bless my work and humble me as I do it.
I pray that you are seen through my work and that it is a blessing to those who come into contact with it.
Lord, thank you for art. Thank you for creativity. Thank you for beauty.
Thank you for my gifts. Thank you for my talents. Thank you for my skills.
Thank you for enabling me. And, thank you for allowing me.
May everything I do artistically and creatively be an act of worship to you always.
I pray and ask all this in Jesus’ name.
Amen.

Shalieah G.

I’ve been living a minimalist low-waste lifestyle for about eight years now and I’ve been consciously living this lifestyle for about five. When I say consciously, I mean I became intentional by establishing my “why” and living that out to the best of my ability. At the end of the day, I choose to live this lifestyle because doing so saves me money and time, is essential to my mental and emotional well-being, and it makes a positive impact on this beautiful earth we call home.

Today I’d like to share 10 simple steps I’ve taken to reduce waste and how you can too on the cheap! These steps are super simple (wink wink) and will make a huge impact in your wallet, your time, and the environment.  Okay, let’s get started.


Prefer video content? Scroll down to the bottom of the page!


R E U S A B L E   S T R A W S: I made my first purchase of reusable straws from a company I found on Instagram. This was also the first purchase I made EVER from a company on Instagram.  Turned out to be a scam. After messaging them like crazy and leaving several comments on EVERY post they had, I finally received my straws about 4 months later! Only to walk into a TJ Maxx about a week or so later to find a pretty decent selection of reusable straws. Ugh! I instantly became annoyed but also thrilled to find a pretty decent selection of reusable items for such an awesome price. The straws were much cheaper than what I paid and the quality was much better.

I know something so small may seem insignificant but I assure you it’s not.  The use of plastic straws is so bad they are being banned and restricted in certain parts of the world.  California is the first to enact a statewide law restricting the use of plastic straws, Seattle became the first city to ban straws. San Francisco previously passed a law of its own banning the use of plastic straws outright, it’s due to take effect this month. Meanwhile across the pond, UK Prime Minister Theresa May also proposed banning plastic straws. Straws were the seventh most common piece of trash picked up on beaches worldwide by volunteer cleanup crews associated with the marine conservation group Ocean Conservancy. And, Starbucks, which has more than 28,000 locations, announced plans to get rid of straws at all of its stores by 2020, and major hotel chain Marriott made a similar declaration.

So go get yo reusable straws ASAP! You can get them on the cheap at a TJ Maxx near you! Or…Amazon.

R E U S A B L E   B A G S: Duh, right? I know but I still have to include it. Know why? Because even though we know we should be using them doesn’t mean we actually do. So this also serves as a reminder. I know quality reusable bags can be pricy but guess what? TJ Maxx has those on the cheap too! Or, you can check Ross, Marshalls, or Amazon.  I’ve also seen them at the 99 Cents Only Store. Not very stylish BUT does the job.  Also, I suggest walking into your local grocery store and asking the manager or cashier for one. I bet they give you one…or two! It’s free advertisement for the store and it saves them plastic bags and money in the long run if you use reusable ones. Try it. Just ask.

In regards to reusable produce and bulk bags, I was able to find bulk bags at Sprouts for $.99 and produce bags for $2.49. Don’t have a Sprouts near you? Check your local grocery store and if you have no luck there check your local thrift store. You may find mason jars (for bulk) pretty cheap. Pillowcases also work well for produce and bulk. And, if you a crafty with a sewing machine you can cut the pillowcase and make a 2-3 bags.

 

 

Do you already use reusable bags but always forget them? I got you! Check out these tips.

R E U S A B L E   B O T T L E S: Another duh, right? I know, but the key here is to get yourself a reusable bottle you love! Trust me it makes a difference. I have a water bottle that I call Blu and he goes everywhere with me. The mouth of the bottle is perfect (our lips touch pretty often throughout the day so this is important), he’s my favorite color, he’s the perfect size, and he keeps my water cold ALL day. I’m always so proud to show him off! He does his job well.

I also have a reusable coffee mug that is able to hold hot and cold drinks for up to 12 hours, but I’m not particularly fond of it. It was gifted to me by my husband and I was super geeked when he gave it to me. But, when I tried to put it in my car holder and the handle prevented it from fitting properly I was super disappointed. When I’m driving I place my hand on it when I make a turn so it doesn’t fall out.  I’m sharing this with you so when you are purchasing your bottles you put much thought into it. Get one you absolutely love and fits your lifestyle.

Ditch the plastic bottles, paper cups, plastic lids, and cardboard sleeves! I found a huge selection of reusable bottles at TJ Maxx on the cheap (see video below)! I’ve seen them at Ross as well. And, of course, there’s always Amazon (this is the one I am currently using). 

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R E U S A B L E  S A N D W I S H  &  S N A C K  B A G S: These are a must in my home. We use these a lot. Packing lunches and snacks for outings with my kids is something I do often. We were going through zip lock bags like crazy. Although I tried to wash and reuse them as much as possible, I found myself buying extra more often than I wanted. I desired to buy reusable bags but every time I would look into it the price deterred me from doing so.  And, then guess what? I found reusable silicone food bags at TJ Maxx for $5! They usually cost $10 or more per bag. I knew this was a deal and I pounced on it! What I like about these are that they are versatile. You can use them as sandwich bags, snack bags, leftover bags, freezer bags, baby food bags, breast milk bags, and more! So check for these at TJ Maxx, Ross, Marshalls, and your local thrift store (you might get lucky because someone has upgrade). I also found some on Amazon for $8.99 for a pack of four if you want to check there. FB15D765-FECE-4749-A6F7-A7776A79433B

R E U S A B L E  H A N D  T O W E L S  &  N A P K I N S: Okay, I have to confess.  I have a bit of an obsession with towels. I use them A LOT. Let me break it down for you. I have three bathrooms and I like to change the hand towel daily (I have kids!). I do this for the hand and dish drying towels I keep in the kitchen as well. I also like to keep a towel out for wiping down counters and the kitchen table. Mmm-hmm, I change this towel daily. Then there is the towel we use for cleaning dishes. Yup, I change that daily too. What’s that, like 49 towels? 

Then there are the bath towels I like to replace every two to three days for my family of four.  That’s a lot of towels, huh? I know. Okay, maybe I don’t have a towel obsession but a little issue with germs.

Just think of all the waste that would be happening if I were using sponges and paper towels instead. Now think of all the money I’m saving by washing and reusing. I know this may seem like it adds more to my washing but it doesn’t. I just wash one large load of towels a week.

I get most of my towels from Ross (except bath towels. My husband prefers organic). I aim to get 100% cotton and make sure the quality is good and thick. I even found towels at the 99 Cents Only Store that held up pretty well.  So, I recommend checking Ross, TJ Maxx, The 99 Cents Only Store, and your local thrift store.

M E N S T R A L  C U P   &   R E U S A B L E  P A D S: I’ve been using a menstrual cup for about three years now and I WILL NEVER GO BACK to using disposable tampons and pads. NEVER. I wish I had started using one sooner. But, it’s okay. I’m here now and I’m loving it. I have saved so much money over the years by choosing to reuse in this area. Now, I have to admit these can be a bit pricy but it’s totally worth it. I personally use The Diva Cup Model 2. I found this at my local natural grocery store so if you have one check there first. I prefer to buy locally when possible. It wasn’t cheap but I did find The Happy Cup that has great reviews, comes with two in a pack and is reasonably priced.  I believe Walmart carries this brand as well if you want to check there.

Of course, do your research and do what works best for you. Like I said, I personally use The Diva cup but there are different models. So, if you go with that brand pick the one that works best for you. The Diva Cup Model 0  The Diva Cup Model 1  The Diva Cup Model 2

R E U S A B L E   R A Z O R S:  This is a recent purchase I’ve made and one I’ve been wanting to make for quite some time now. I hate that I’ve wasted so much money on disposable razors. They’re meant to be used a few times and then thrown into the trash and they’re not easily recyclable. And, if we continue buying them, companies will continue making them. Since most of them are made of plastic, that means continued use of fossil fuels for a product that will probably end up in a landfill. Or, you can invest in a safety razor ($11-$100), and get replacement blades for about $8 for a pack of 100. I use Astra Platinum Double Edge Safty Blades. The blades last for a month or longer if you dry them well between each use. And, the base should last you a lifetime. 

The blades are stainless steel and are recyclable. You can get a tin can that has only liquid in it (like broth) from a grocery store, take a can opener and make a small slit (big enough for the blade to fit through without falling out, label it “Used Blades”, and put it in the recycler when it’s full. Should take a year or years to fill this up. Or, you can purchase a Razor Disposal Case for about $5.00, and when it’s full toss it in your recycler. 

B A M B O O   T O O T H B R U S H:  This one is simple. Super simple (sorry I had to LOL!) Anywhoo, There are over 7 billion people in the world, most of which brush their teeth (I think. I hope) with a typical plastic toothbrush. What is overlooked, however, is that most of these people go through several toothbrushes a year, equaling an incredible amount of plastic waste in our oceans and landfills. But, bamboo toothbrushes have handles that are completely biodegradable, which means they won’t last forever in a landfill like every other brush! You can literally recycle the bristles, then throw the handle into your compost pile, where it will decompose naturally! You get a pack of 8 Biodegradable Natural Charcoal Bamboo Toothbrushes for $11.39 on Amazon. But, first, check your local natural grocery store if you have one or TJ Maxx. 

C H A L K B O A R D   P A I N T: I love chalkboard walls.  I’ve painted two walls in my kitchen with chalkboard paint. I love it because it cuts down on the amount of paper we use, especially with a home full of artists.  I also homeschool so I use it for teaching as well. I have also painted my kitchen table with chalkboard paint. We play games and keep score without using paper and the kids sit and draw while they wait for dinner.  If you are not able to paint I recommend using Chalkboard Mate Vinal Decals. This is what I used on my kitchen pantry to write bible verses for the week, meal plan, write my grocery list, and let my son be creative.

 

 

 

S T A R T   A   C A P S U L E   W A R D R O B E: Capsule wardrobes are my favorite! They are a collection of clothing that is composed mostly of interchangeable items to maximize the number of outfits that can be created. The aim is to be able to create an outfit suitable for any occasion without owning excessive items of clothing. In the end, you save money, time, and energy. I talk more about this in detail here, here, and here. Your local thrift store is a great place to get started. You could also put together a clothing swap party or boldly ask friends if they have any items they’d like to donate to you in helping you build your capsule wardrobe. 

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Alrighty folks! That’s all I got for you today. Of course, there is more (much more) to low-waste living than what’s listed above, but I believe these are good starting points.  When living a low-waste lifestyle quality IS key. This is to ensure that what you purchase will last for as long as possible. And, yes, this can be pricy when you’re just starting out. BUT, don’t let that stop you from getting starting. Get started the best way YOU can and get in the habit of living this lifestyle. S L O W L Y you will add better quality items in and donate those old items. You know, so you can help another person get started on the cheap!

Have any tips or anything you’d like to share? PLEASE do! Leave a comment below. I love feedback and just conversing with you guys.

I haven’t written anything in months. Well, not on here anyway. Actually, I haven’t shared any writings online anywhere. I disabled my Instagram and facebook so that I could go within and figure some things out. I figured the fewer distractions I had the better off I’d be. I’ve only been spending time writing in my personal journal.  As I’m writing this I’m kinda at a lost for words even though I strongly felt the desire to write and share. I guess it’s because I don’t really know where to start. It’s almost like I don’t even really know what to say.  I’ve been feeling a whirlwind of emotions lately and as I’m writing this I’m trying to gather myself because I suddenly feel a rush coming on. I’m sad that I haven’t been able to share and be in the creative flow I so badly want to be in. But, I know it’s important that I take time to care for myself, which is exactly what I’m doing. And, that takes lead over everything else. This is the first online journal entry I’ve written in years and I’m finding it difficult to let go and be vulnerable. Okay, we’re getting somewhere. I’m feeling fearful. This is why I’m at a lost for words. I want to write and share but it’s like I have stage fright and I”m suddenly lost for words. Ah, now it’s starting to make sense to me. This is actually the struggle I’m dealing with in my life right now. Fear. This is why I stepped away from social media and my blog so that I could face them. I’ve been running from things that are dear to my heart for many years and I’m at a point in my life where enough is enough. I’m tired. No, I’m exhausted. Extremely exhausted.  Mentally, emotionally, and physically. And, it’s starting to way on me spiritually.

I shared everything I’m going through with a good friend of mine and she recommended I read, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. As I’m writing this I am currently on week five of the book. And, I’m loving it! It’s a twelve-week long study full of exercises and explorations that take you on quite a journey. As part of this study, I write three pages every morning in my journal and I go on an artist date with myself once a week. I feel like I’m getting to know myself all over again. I’ve been discovering…actually, I should say rediscovering things about myself I total forgot about. I’ve been painting, drawing, skating, hiking, dancing, listening to music VERY LOUDLY, watching shows and movies (I haven’t done this in years), writing, making videos, and going to counseling once, sometimes twice, a month.  I’ve been documenting my growth on Youtube because allowing myself to be SEEN creatively and artistically is where I struggle the most. So this is where I have chosen to focus my time, attention, and energy the most right now.

I’ve never said this out loud until today, but I aspire to be an actress and artist. I no longer want to play it safe. I want to go after my dreams. So that’s what I’m doing and I’m doing it publicly.

I know I don’t have much of a following here but I am thankful to all of you who have chosen to follow my blog. Thank you. And, I apologize I haven’t posted in a while. Forgive me. I’m just busy these days trying to face my fears, grow as an artist and go after my dreams. So I’m taking the steps necessary to accomplish those goals. Thank you for continuing to support me and my blog. I do plan to post more regularly but it will be mostly in the form of videos and journal entries. I’m on a journey right now. I don’t know exactly how I’m going to get where I’m heading, but I do know I’m heading in the right direction.

If you’d see what I’m up to these days, check out some of my videos. I’d surely appreciate and love any support and feedback that comes from your kind hearts.

Thank You,

Shalieah G.

 

 

 

I love making my own skincare products. And, here’s why. I know EXACTLY what’s in them. Here I’m going to share with you an oil-based cleaning paste that I love.

Using natural homemade cleansing oils can be more hydrating, more effective, and less irritating on the skin than traditional face washes because they don’t contain any surfactants. Surfactants are typically used as foaming agents, and can sometimes be harsh on the skin. 

The key to using an oil-based cleanser is using the right oil for your skin type. For example, avocado oil is a fatty oil and is good for dry and dehydrated skin. You might want to avoid it topically if you have oily skin. Almond oil and sunflower oil usually work best for oily skin and are suitable for all skin types. Also, you want to make sure your oils are 100% pure. 

Following is a great oil-based cleaning paste that can be used for all skin types. 

INGREDIENTS:
100 % pure Almond oil: 3 ounces
Ground almonds: 3 ounces
Apple cider vinegar: 2 ounces
Purified Water: 2 ounces
Essential oil of your choice: 6 drops

NOTE: Clary-sage, lemon, lime, sage, and thyme are awesome cleaning oils and are suitable for all skin types.

DIRECTIONS:
Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth for about two minutes.
This recipe will thicken as it blends so have a silicone spatula close by to scrape it out.
Store in a clean glass jar.

NOTE: I use a small kitchen scale to measure out my ingredients. I place my jar or a measuring cup on the scale before turning it on. This way, once I turn on the scale the weight of the container is not being calculated. 

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TO USE:
Apply a warm damp washcloth to your face for about 20-30 seconds (this opens pores and softens skins so the paste is more effective). Then, with clean wet hands or a face brush, gently massage the paste all over your face. Once done, rinse off the paste with the washcloth or fill hands with water and rinse. 

I know the thought of using an oil-based cleaner on the face can make some feel nervous. Especially if you have oily skin or are prone to breakouts. A good idea is to add the oil cleaning step to your skincare routine without changing anything for about a month. If you start breaking out then it’s most likely the oil, and you can stop using it right away. But, if all remains well, try using the oil by itself and see how you like it. 

 

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I share a lot of homemade non-toxic products that require the use of the bain-marie method and I thought it would be a good idea to create a reference point explaining what it is. 

So what IS a bain-marie, right? It’s a French cooking term for a hot water bath. It’s pronounced ban-mah-REE. Traditionally it’s used for cooking delicate foods over low temperatures. This is the method I use to gently melt a lot of the ingredients I use in the products I make.

HOW TO MAKE A BAIN-MARIE

A bain-marie is super easy to put together. All you need is a small or medium saucepan and a large bowl that covers the top of the saucepan. I like to use a clear Pyrex bowl for this. 

Fill your saucepan with 2-4 inches of water and set your bowl on top. Over a low-medium heat, the water in your saucepan will begin to simmer and the rising steam will melt what you have inside your bowl.

NOTE: You don’t want the water in the saucepan to touch your bowl, and you want to make sure your bowl fits snugly, so the steam is trapped beneath it.  Also, be sure to keep an eye on your water to make sure it doesn’t boil off. Add more if necessary. 

IS A BAIN-MARIE THE SAME THING AS A DOUBLE BOILER?

In a nutshell, yes. A double boiler is two pots: a large one that looks a lot like a saucepan and a small shallow pan that nestles on top. Same steps apply. You fill the bottom pan with a few inches of water and the steam melts what you have in the top shallow pan. 

BAIN-MARIE VS DOUBLE BOILER

Owning an actual double boiler is handy if you do a lot of cooking or regularly make products that require one. If you only need one occasionally, you can accomplish the same results with a bain-maire. 

In the end, it’s a matter of preference. I love using the bain-marie method because it’s simple and easy to put together. I don’t feel the need to go out and buy a double boiler if I can accomplish the same results with a bowl and saucepan. I did buy a clear Pyrex bowl just for making my products, that way I’m not using it for food as well. If you have a double boiler or plan on using this method, I suggest getting one just for making your products. I personally don’t like cooking in the same dishes I use for making my products. That way there is no chance of cross-contamination. 

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Between Pinterest and one of my favorite books, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood, I was able to put together a super simple DIY essential oil recipe that I really like, and I want to share it with you.

Whether we use our makeup brushes a little or a lot, over time they become filled with dead skin, oils, dust, and…bacteria. So, a simple cleaning is a MUST. It helps to maintain the longevity of our brushes and aids in good skin care practice.

 When buying or making products I try my best to find options that are simple, natural, and low-waste as much as possible. I love that this recipe offers exactly that. 

Deep cleaning my brushes is something I like to do weekly. I wash my hair once a week and I just go ahead and clean my brushes while I’m at it. My routine is to wash my hair in the evening so that it can dry naturally overnight. So, I figure I may as well work my makeup brushes into this routine so they too can dry naturally overnight. That way, in the morning after I’m done doing my hair and getting ready for the day my brushes are completely dry and ready for use.

To maintain the cleanliness of my brushes throughout the week, I mist them with an essential oil spray.

Okay, so here are the recipes:

Essential Oil Makeup Brush Cleaner
1 cup of warm water
1/4 cup distilled vinegar
1 tsp. castile soap
10 drops of tea tree essential  oil
10 drops of lemon essential oil (or oil of choice)

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Steps:
1. Mix warm water, vinegar, soap, and oils in a mason jar.
2. Pour a small amount of that mixture into a small bowl. (Just enough to cover the bristles 1/2 way. You don’t want water getting deep into the brush and ruining the glue)
3. One at a time, GENTLY swish your brushes around in the mixture for about a minute or so. (This step is disinfecting your brushes) Video below.

NOTE: I swish one brush at a time in the mixture and then dump it. I pour a fresh mixture from the mason jar into the bowl for each brush. That way I’m not disinfecting my next brush in a dirty mixture.
4. Head over to a sink. One brush at a time, add a drop of castile soap to the bristles and GENTLY wash them in a downward motion until water runs clear. (You want to keep your brush tilted downward as well.) Video below.
5. Give your brush a squeeze and shake to get as much water out as you can.
6. Hang brush downward to dry.

 

 

 

 

 

FYI: this video has no sound.

 

 

 

 

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Essential Oil Makeup Brush Spray
One 2 oz. bottle filled with purified water 
10-15 drops of tea tree essential oil
Optional: fill bottle 1/2 water and 1/2 witch hazel plus the essential oil

Step:
Give brushes a mist after each use. (Don’t make them too wet)

Please let me know if you try this. I’d love to hear how it worked out for you!

Also, I shared a video giving a visual of this process over on Instagram and YouTube if you want to check it out.

 

Meal planning is my least favorite thing to do or think about. It’s been quite a stressful event over the last few years. When I found out my son is allergic to gluten and my daughter is allergic to cows milk, meal planning suddenly became something I dreaded. Sitting down and trying to plan weekly gluten-free and dairy-free meals that everyone enjoyed stressed me out to the point of tears. I was so lost! But, after a lot of praying, research, reaching out to lots of moms for help, and many failed attempts, I slowly started coming up with meals the whole family enjoys.

Minimalism is a key factor in managing my mental and emotional health. I crave it in just about every area of my life. It provides me a sense of calmness and peace. Sitting down to meal plan every week was making me cringe and feel overwhelmed and anxious. So, I knew right away weekly meal planning was not going to work for me. But, what was? Then one day it hit me, why am I not meal planning with a minimalist approach?? Why am I making this much more complicated than it needs to be? So I went back to the drawing board and created a minimalist meal plan. Doing so has definitely reduced mental fatigue, decision fatigue, and stress. It’s also saved me time and energy on planning, prepping, and preparing meals. And, this is exactly what I wanted…and needed.

If the desire, time, and energy are there I still occasionally throw in a meal that may be calling out to me. But, I always aim to keep it simple no matter what. I love cooking and I especially love eating. And, I look forward to having the time and energy to play around with different foods and meals again one day. But, the fact is right now in this season of my life with homeschooling, working part-time out of the home, and still making time for myself and the things I love, using this minimalist meal plan is what works best for me. So, it’s how I roll!

So what does a minimalist meal plan look like, right? I have created a themed weekly meal plan that we repeat EVERY week. I do different variations of each meal just to switch things up a bit from week to week. For example, every Tuesday is tacos or burrito bowl night. One week I’ll do turkey tacos, the next chicken tacos, the following chicken bowls, and the fourth a steak bowl. I do this for just about every meal. I come up with at least four different variations so we can go a whole month without repeating the EXACT same meal.

I do all meal planning for dinner only. I try to plan enough for dinner so that we have leftovers for lunch the following day.  If we don’t have any leftovers I default to what I call “My Lunch Go To’s”. I always have these items on hand just in case there are no leftovers.

For breakfast, I have a list of 7 dishes we can pick from. I make sure to always have the items need on hand.

 

BREAKFAST

Omelet.

Oatmeal.

Bagels.

Yogurt and Fruit.

Smoothies.

Huevos Rancheros.

Fruit Bowl with Vegan Nut Sauce.

 

LUNCH

We most likely have leftovers but if we don’t I use, “My Lunch Go-To’s”. It consists of salads, soups, and sandwiches. These are easy to make and the options are endless. Most of the time I opt for a salad and I allow the kids to pick whether they want a salad as well, sandwich, or soup.

I buy one loaf of bread a week and when it’s done it’s done. (Gluten-free bread ain’t cheap!) The options then become meat roll-up, soup or salad.

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DINNER THEMES

Monday: Stirfry Night (chicken w/ veggies, vegetarian, beef broccoli, shrimp)

Tuesday: Taco or burrito bowl night ( turkey tacos, chicken tacos, chicken bowls, steak bowls)

Wednesday: Pasta Night. (creamy chicken, creamy shrimp, vegetarian, red meat sauce)

Thursday:  Fish Night. (Baked fish, grilled fish, or a fish stew. I use cod, salmon, or mahi-mahi)

Friday: Pizza Night. I have everyone pick 2-3 topping each week.

Saturday: Burger Night. (Turkey burgers, chicken burgers, veggie burgers, or salmon burgers)

Sunday: One Pot Meal or breakfast for dinner. One pot meals are so simple I just have a list I keep on Pinterest and I just pick one for the week.

To each meal I add a small veggie salad of some sort and fruit on the side.

FYI: I don’t eat meat so I either substitute meat for beans, quinoa, Beyond Meat products, or I eat the meal as is without meat.

SNACK LIST

Popcorn

GF Crackers and cheese

Banana Chips

Boiled Eggs or egg salad with crackers

Fruit and cheese

Granola and milk or yogurt

Veggies and dip

I always have some sort of fruit for the day. I usually just cut some up in the morning and add it to whatever snack the kids choose from the list above. If the fruit isn’t finished before dinner it becomes apart of the fruit salad I serve with dinner.

If you want to make your own minimalist meal plan, pick out simple meals you love that you don’t find exhausting to make. The key here is to keep things simple (Pinterest is my go-to for finding and saving simple meals and recipes.) Also, take into account your daily life schedule and routines. For example, I make pizza on Friday and burgers on Saturday because it’s quick and I know we won’t have leftovers. I’m okay with that on those days because my husband is off from work and I don’t have to worry about him needing food for his lunch. Plus, I find homemade burgers and pizzas just aren’t as good the next day.

So, figure out what works best for you and your family (if you are living the family life) and make it happen. I promise you’ll love it!