Category Archives: DIY projects

How to Cut Your Own Hair

how to cut hair at home, DIY haircut, DIY hair care, easy hairstyles for women, easy long hair styles for women,

I have cut Peter’s hair since we were first married. Using lots of pictures and the best set of clippers ever, I have successfully managed several hairstyles for him including mohawks, faux hawks, and crew cuts.

When it comes to my hair, though, it’s a sad story. My last haircut was the big post-wedding chop (almost 2 1/2 years ago!) and it got cut all the way up to my chin. It wasn’t really the best look for me. Chin-length hair makes my face look too round.


Pregnancy made my hair grow very long very quickly, and now that my sweet babe is 15 months and running everywhere but oh-so-attached to Mommy, I can’t go anywhere for a haircut without him clinging to me or wailing in the backroad. Hardly relaxing. But my hair was getting super long and starting to dread itself into one big circular super-attractive nest on the back of my head no matter how many times I brushed it.

So I decided to save $25 and a guaranteed stressful event and just chop my hair off at home. Luckily I had noticeable layers and Peter was able to cut the length off at the longest layer.

I found this tutorial on YouTube for cutting my own layers to add body. This technique is super easy, but I’ve noticed it doesn’t take any length off in the back. This is why Peter cut it to the length I wanted first before I layered it.

It took 5 minutes, I could hold Tristan, and it was free! The final result was tons of well-placed layers that looked professional, but without the price tag.


It really is very empowering to be able to do things ourselves at home. In case you’re keeping track, so far I’ve made our toothpaste, baked our bagels, birthed a baby, and now added cutting my own hair. It all started as a way to save money but it’s morphed into this lifestyle of self-sufficiency and a more natural, wholistic mindset that resonates with my soul at a deep level. I can’t imagine living a life on any other path.

3 Habits of Healthy Millennials

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I am a millennial, and I’m fairly stereotypical. We are fun creatures, at least I like to think so. We’re basically the same as everybody else, but we do things a little differently most of the time. If you happen to visit the house of one, here are three things you might expect to experience:

You can smell their diffuser going before you even open the door.

Millennials tend to be more naturally-minded, and avoid the toxic chemicals found in most commercial air fresheners. The maintenance man at our apartment complex told us once that he enjoyed walking past our door because it always smelled good. We almost always have an essential oil diffuser going! Essential oils play a huge role in our home from our homemade cleaning solutions to our hygiene products to our air freshener.

They don’t wear their shoes inside the house.

Studies show that not wearing shoes in the house helps with overall cleanliness. I would prefer no shoes at all, but  we wear house shoes to keep our feet from getting dirty. Tristan hates shoes in general so he wanders around in just socks, and I am jealous (my socks wear out too quickly if I do that).

Their kitchen looks like a laboratory.

Millennials are more health-conscious, but heaps of student loans and other bills have forced us to save money whenever possible. One of the ways we do this is DIY-ing our favorite health foods.

Fermented foods and drinks are so nutritious, but they take up so much counter space! Once you get going with one ferment it’s hard to stop. Kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, sourdough, and even salsa and ketsup are all popular homemade ferments that you might find on a hippie’s counter top. And don’t forget the bone broth in the crockpot or Instant Pot!

What else would you add to this list?

What You Need in Your Natural Medicine Cabinet

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Today I’m going to take you through our natural medicine cabinet.

When transitioning to a more natural, wellness-based lifestyle, one of the major changes is how you treat illness. A wellness-based system looks at not just symptom relief, but immune support.

Your body comes equipped with a natural immune system. When you give it standard OTC medicine, you run the risk of suppressing the immune response, dragging out illnesses for longer than necessary.

Supporting the immune system requires a holistic approach that includes not only symptom relief but also natural detoxification and organ support.

The best part about a natural cabinet is that everything has multiple uses, so you don’t just have random things sitting around. Many of these staples are also ingredients for DIY projects like homemade toothpaste, homemade air fresheners, and facial moisturizers.

Ready for the tour? Here’s what’s in my cabinet:

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Activated charcoal – for detoxing or food poisoning (also put in tooth powder for whitening!)

Witch hazel – an astringent, great for cooling and healing the skin.  I typically use this with any sprays that I would make with essential oils as it tends to evaporate faster than water.

Tallow – High in vitamin A and E, this healing balm is what I use with a drop of melaleuca essential oil to keep my eczema away.  I’ve also mixed in frankincense, lavender, and peppermint to help soothe my skin after a bad sunburn.

Organic raw honey – also good for skin healing and antibacterial properties.  I usually use this for a face wash but I also use it for sun burns.

Echinacea tea – For immune support, especially if I’m coming down with a cold.

Raw organic coconut oil – For skin health, burns, and antibacterial protection.  I also add essential oils to this.

Magnesium oil – nothing helped my first trimester food aversions like spritzing this oil on my stomach before meals!  It absorbs easily through the skin and works quickly.

Bentonite clay – to remove toxins, either as a face mask (which is amazing!) or taken internally.  It attracts toxins to itself and is then easily excreted.

Cranberry capsules – to treat UTIs or kidney infections

Essential oils – I use all sorts of essential oils for just about everything.  I apply either directly to the skin (following precautions for safe dilution), diffuse aromatically (especially when we don’t feel well we like to diffuse the respiratory and protection blends), and take internally (be very careful about internal use, make sure if you are ingesting that it is 100% pure grade, not just “contains 100% pure”). If you would like more information about essential oils, see my post on safe usage.

Fractionated coconut oil – to dilute essential oils.  It’s always liquid, it doesn’t have that coconut aroma to it so it doesn’t interfere with the aromatic benefits of the essential oils.  It absorbs quickly and doesn’t stain clothes (or microfiber couches – ask me how I know this).

Veggie caps  – for making our own capsules!  Especially for ingesting Oregano (a hot oil) and DigestZen (which doesn’t taste that great when you’re nauseous), this is the perfect way to get the benefits when we need them!

So that’s a peak into our medicine cabinet!  One thing we don’t have yet that I would like to get soon are epsom salts for detox baths.  Also great during pregnancy to help stop preterm labor!

What’s in your healthcare cabinet?

No more shampoo!

how to make the change to a no shampoo method

A quick recap of the past few weeks:

(When having friends over or visiting friends)

Me: Hi!  So good to see you!  Uhh…sorry about my hair…I’m transitioning to a no-chemical hair routine and my hair is detoxing.  I really do shower…uhhhh…

Yeah.  The transition period of the no-chemical thing  is NO FUN.  I feel like I’m 13 all over again.  And trust me, 13 was not a good year.

I’m not sure if my hair is finally adjusting or I’m finally figuring out the best way to go “no shampoo.”  I’ve done this before and I don’t remember the transition time looking like I hadn’t showered in a week.

I think I’ve finally settled on a good routine.  Before I wash my hair, I pour about 1 1/2 TBSP baking soda into a little container.  When I’m ready to wash my hair, I fill the rest of it with warm water, gently pour it over my head, and massage it into my scalp and rinse. Following that I pour about 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar into a large plastic cup (I get my ACV for personal care use organic by the gallon) and fill the rest with warm water.  Pour over hair (avoid the eyes!!!) and let sit on your hair for a few minutes before rinsing thoroughly.  When I had longer hair I used to dip sections of my hair into the cup at a time.  Now that it’s short it’s easier to cover all of my hair with the rinse.


I am still researching homemade shampoo. If you are looking for natural shampoo options, be sure to check out my Pinterest board for a look at the ideas I find.

 

DIY tooth powder

How to DIY homemade natural toothpaste

Completely random conversation that just happened at the Hippie House this morning:

Peter: “You know, I’ve been using your tooth powder recipe for about a month now and my teeth feel stronger and clean.”

Me: *socially awkward happy dance*

My adventures in making our own tooth paste started last year when I thought I was getting a cavity.  I consulted the internet for a homemade toothpaste recipe and ran to Whole Foods for the ingredients. I kept it as a tooth powder instead of a paste because the pipes in my apartment were questionable and I didn’t want to clog them with coconut oil.  After using it in conjunction with oil pulling (which you spit into the toilet or the trash can, out of respect for the afore-mentioned pipes),  my teeth were not only healed and felt stronger, but the dental hygienist spent 20 minutes at my appointment looking for any signs of plaque or tartar and found NONE.  Natural health for the win!


The downside to the recipe that I used was that it left a brown residue in the sink from the cinnamon and cloves.  So, when I FINALLY (about 8 months later) ran out last week, I consulted Pinterest and after not finding anything I liked enough to copy, I made my own.

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Recipe:

4 TBSP Bentonite clay

2 TBSP baking soda

1/2 TBSP sea salt

20 drops On Guard protective blend

The result?  A silky-smooth tooth powder that doesn’t leave a nasty brown residue in the sink.  The On Guard blend has cloves in it, so we still get the immune-protecting effect and a pleasant orange after-taste.  We keep it in a jar by the sink and dip our wetted toothbrushes. This is by far the easiest recipe I have found.  The ingredients are simple and it doesn’t take any special prep!

You put WHAT on your face?

My evening face care routine is very simple:

* wash face with washcloth and warm water

* use cotton ball to wipe face with homemade toner

* smear face with the clarified adipose tissue of a grass-fed bovine

WHAT?

My face has never been so moisturized and clear since I started using this method!

I learned a long time ago that I cannot use “oil-free” products on my oily skin.  My skin gets dry, irritated, and reacts with more oil than I had in the first place.  It sounds like it would be counter-intuitive, but putting oil on your face actually helps calm oily skin and keeps it from over-producing.  I already practice oil-washing a few times a month which is the same concept (more on that in a later post), so this wasn’t a big hippie leap for me.   The tallow is apparently very similar in chemical structure to our own sebaceous glands that our skin is able to use it as a moisturizer.  Since Mommypotamus already had a wonderful post on it, I will just direct you there to learn all the science behind the tallow.

In my personal experience with tallow, I have found it absolutely wonderful as a skin care product.  Sure, I smell like hamburger for a minute every time I put it on, but it’s shelf-stable, you only need a tiny bit for your whole face, and it absorbs quickly.  I wake up in the morning and my skin is bright, clear, and markedly more moisturized.

I render my own tallow using the crock pot method, but you can also purchase some here.

 

How to Make Continuous Brew Kombucha at Home

In Liz Wolfe’s book, Skintervention, she suggests eating something fermented every day to improve gut health.  So, in keeping with her “improve gut health and you will improve skin health” philosophy, I have braved the world of fermentables.

Why would you eat moldy foods?

First off, no, I do not eat moldy foods.  There is a difference between “moldy” and “fermented”.  And thank goodness there are more options than just pickles or sauerkraut. Foods can be fermented by using some sort of starter.  I make beet kvass with a whey starter (or you could also use a whole lot of salt) and kombucha with a SCOBY.

Foods that have been fermented by bacteria and yeast are especially good for the gut lining because as they eat the sugar of whatever you are fermenting, they produce probiotics.  You’ve heard that it’s good eat yogurt when taking antibiotics because the yogurt has the “good bacteria.”  Antibiotics don’t play favorites; they are created to kill everything.  Good news if you’re sick, bad news if you want to stay healthy.

There is a battle in your belly.

Think of it this way:  there is a limited amount of food that all the bacteria in your gut lining can eat.   (in case you were wondering, there are about about 3 pounds worth of bacteria living inside of you…but maybe don’t dwell on that).  If there are more good guys (bacteria that are supposed to be there) to eat the food than bad guys (disease-carrying germs that make you sick), then the bad guys starve.  Therefore, being careful to maintain a diet with lots of probiotics that add to the naturally-occuring good bacteria in your intestinal lining is vital to overall health.

What foods are good?

Personally, I’m not a sauerkraut fan, and everyone who knows me know my distain for pickles.  Instead, I have a continuous brew kombucha system on my counter and have recently started making beet kvass.  Both of these are very low maintenance.  Both of these projects are easy to do, and the benefits are visible.  I started drinking these consistently about a month ago, and as I was walking into my third night shift in a row a few weeks ago I noticed that I felt very alert and energetic.  I don’t usually sleep well on night shift and I hadn’t had any extra coffee. The only thing that I’ve changed was the increased probiotics.

How to make continuous brew kombucha:

8 teabags of plain black tea

1 cup white sugar

2 gallons water, separated

1 bottle plain kombucha

1 glass container with a plastic spout (I use this one)

bottles for your new brew (I like these!)

Instructions:

Bring 1 gallon of water to a boil. Remove from heat, steep tea bags 10-15 minutes. Remove tea bags and add sugar, mixing until dissolved. Pour into drink dispenser. Add second gallon of water (this speeds up the cooling process). Pour in bottle of store-bought kombucha. Cover opening with cloth, let sit in warm area at least 5 days. After 5-7 days, dispense most liquid into bottles, leaving 1-2 cups as your “starter” for the next round. Repeat all previous steps (except now there is no need for store-bought kombucha).

If you like flavored kombucha, now is the time to add the different options! My favorites are lemon juice, ginger juice, and whole blackberries. Close the bottles and let sit for another 5-7 days. This develops the delicious “fizz” that makes kombucha seem like a healthy soda alternative!