Oh of COURSE it's possible!
When most people think of zero waste, they think of harsh bar soap face washing (stripping) and coconut oil moisturizer (pore clogging, see my blog about my feelings on coconut oil). That's not very appealing to most of the skin care pros out there, myself included. I tried it, didn't work for me but some of the information out there is extremely detrimental to our skin health. I shouldn't have even tried some of the things I was told! I knew better but the pressure to use little and do little is real. Did I fail?
Zero waste isn't some crazy, strict idea. It's literally taking things we love and use, then making it create no waste or no extra waste. Just doing what we can as humans to make the world a better place. You don't have to get rid of ANYTHING, it's all about adjusting it to be more eco friendly. It's not some exclusive club in which you live with nothing, or at least, it doesn't have to be. In the end, we all create waste. That's the sad reality but you can make a huge difference and it just takes adjustments. What works for someone else just didn't work for me. That doesn't make me a failure. It makes me say 'Well, what CAN I do for my skin that doesn't hurt the environment, so I know what's in all my things?' TADA!
Every single thing in my routine comes as sustainably as possible, with as little packaging as possible. I make a large majority of it (two I do not make at this time but I will be soon!) and all my packaging is reusable and the companies had NO issue sending less packaging on the two products I don't currently make and my supplies. All I had to do was ask. Less money spent for them, less trash goes to waste. Win win.
Is multiple step skin care for everyone?
Plain and simple, no. It's not. To ellaborate, If you don't know skin care or don't know your skin, do not just jump into piling a ton of products on your skin. No matter how magical they claim to be, natural or otherwise. That can and probably will make things go south. It's always best to talk to your own dermatologist, they can help you pick what's right for you personal skin needs and start slowly. Add things in one at a time. I personally like to wait 2 weeks until I add anything else after I start a new product. Why? It takes that long to develop some pimples! I have rushed into a million products and then had to immediately stop them all and reintroduce each. Learn from me, avoid the yuck stage.
Another reason multi-step skincare may not be for you? Some people just do not want to spend the time on their skin that a multiple step skin care routine would require. That's fine, you do you. Basic skincare provides enough for your skin, if you so chose. Being wise about your choices is the key.
As for me, multiple step skin care has completely transformed my skin in less than 6 months. I saw results right away and complete difference now. I love my skin care time. It's my time to pamper my skin. My me time. My brain says, AH! Morning routine! Time to start the day! At night, it signals that I'm home, I'm safe and it's time to relax. My skin health is just as important as my inner health. Taking care of my skin means a life long positive relationship with my body. Sunscreen, for instance, is a definite must in the health care of your skin and eventually your entire body!
Each person can have as many products as they want/need, again based on your skin needs and issues. I have all mine together in a pretty set up, so it looks like a ton. Some products I use only in the morning, some only at night, some only sparingly. Think of this like a makeup collection but focusing on skin health.
I change some things every 3 months or so, just to give my skin a variety and keep my skin from becoming accustom to an ingredient. So far, I'm shocked at the results. It's been a total game changer for me! My skin went from breaking out, uncontrollably, oily then suddenly with no warning too dry and burning peeling. Not to mention uneven and horrible sun damage (from previous bad habits...). My skin was a mess.
It's your skin. This isn't a one size fits all world where a bar of soap and good wishes will get you clear skin. You don't have to lose anything while making the world a better place. As always, speak to your dermatologist and get to know your own skin before making any drastic decision regarding the largest organ of your body, simple or complex. Protect it daily and take good care of it in the best way your skin responds! Skin care, in my opinion, is what it says: skin care. It's not frivolous. It's not all vanity. It's caring for your skin in a way that your entire self benefits.
If you would like to know more about my routine, leave me a comment below! I would love to share my skin care triumphs! I even make my own makeup that's amazing for my skin!
Get your skin care on,
-The Smart Girl in Pants
Banana muffins... not only delicious but free, amazing smell through the entire house.
Here's my super easy and reliable recipe!
Easy Vegan Banana Muffins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil your pan or use silicone muffin cups as a zero waste option!
1 1/2c flour (any will do!)
3 bananas or 3 two ounce jars of banana baby food (if you need smaller storage containers!)
1/2 c sugar (in half for liquid or syrup options like liquid stevia or agave)
1/3 c quality, low favor oil (avocado and grape seed are perfect)
1 1/2tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
optional: nuts or chocolate! I chose vegan chocolate chips and let me tell you, I wasn't sure these would make it through the entire week...
Bake for 10-15 minutes, checking often. When a tooth pick comes out clean, it's done!
Now, these silicone cups. Win or fail?
Total win. I have used these for all the things and they show NO wear or tear. They are dish washer friendly and easy to clean by hand as well. Also, no need to waste oil and/or flour to prime your pan! Everything just slides right out!
Highly suggest! Great zero waste option!
Hope you love these as much as The Smart Family does!
The Smart Girl in Pants
Bath Bombs. Bath Fizz. Bath Balls. Whatever you want to call them. Just so I don't upset anyone, I have decided to name mine sometbing crazy and illogical. Fizzier.
Who doesn't love a fun bath addition? Depending on how big your tub is and how long your showers are, bathing could save water and thus, be less wasteful. Baths are so relaxing and perfect time to get all that added pampering in!
Paying $5 or more for one though? Nah... not for this Smart Girl. I'll be adding new bathbomb recipes as often as I make a new batch, so stay on the look out. I'll try to remember to link the base back to this blog.
The basic recipe;
-1 cup of baking soda/bicarbonate soda (buy aluminum free if possible)
-1 cup of citric acid powder (found online in bulk)
-1 cup of medium sized salt crystals
- 1/2cup of arrow root powder (really helps your bath fizzier stay together and combine everything very smoothly!)
-1 cup of oil (I always use infused oils for added benefits, either avocado or grape seed oil)
-A few drops of scent of choice. I use essential oils and my base oil is high in vitamin E)
-Sprayer of plain rubbing alcohol (explained later)
Optional: Pigments. Liquid is fine but limit the use of water based pigments. Add very little and test to be sure it doesn't stain. Oxide powder pigments are fantastic!
Mix the dry ingredients and wet separately then mix together.
As half of your mold is filled, compact down as much as possible. This will form a nice, dense fizzier. Once you fill both sides, add a bit extra and spray the inside of both sides with alcohol. Press both sides together and keep pressure on both sides until the next day. Thump one side (the opposite side you plan to remove first) to loosen it up. Remove the NON-thumped side. If it comes apart, respray and reset. Allowing it to dry all over again.
Why rubbing alcohol? Cant we use something more natural?
Sure ya can! BUT. Prepare for the bath fizzier to seperate more and take longer to dry.
You will also want to use a water based, PH neutral liquid such as a TINY bit of water or saline. Too much and BOOM! Your fizzier just went to town.
Another tip? Try to make this when it's NOT humid... sadly here it's always humid in the Spring/Summer so I'm out of luck that I really wanted to make these now. I often let them dry out in the refrigerator!
And there you have it! Stay tuned for more recipes!
Feel free to comment any ideas you like! If I feature it in my blog, your Instagram page will get a shout from mine out AND you will get a FREE bath fizzier out of the deal!
Stay fizzier, friends!
The Smart Girl in Pants
Rules for the fizzier win:
1) To enter, comment on THIS blog post. Not Instagram or another post.
2) Anyone who comments and tags you, gets you BOTH double chances to win.
3) Free Shipping within the USA. If shipping outside the USA, I will free ship BUT any fees after that are not my responsibility.
4) You are expected to allergy test and use caution yourself. Do not eat, get into eyes or do anything else against the use of what this is intended for. Not for children or pets. I am not responsible in any way for the use of this gift.
5) Damages during shipping and lost packages are a bummer but I will not be able to resend, as this is a gift.
6) If multiple people comment the exact same thing, it will be a random pick on which one gets it. Be specific and I will accommodate the one I have the materials for.
7) If I take a while to make it, I apologize. I am just a Smart Girl and sometimes life gets in the way.
8) I will pick winners as I make them. One may be tomorrow or weeks. Please leave your email address in the comment or email me.
9) I may not have the EXACT thing to make your bath fizzier. I will use what I deem suitable.
I have never been one to be obsessed with my phone. I only take it out in public when I want to take a picture, I don't answer calls or texts when I'm talking to someone. All the NORMAL curtesy things.
When you work from your phone, it's easy to get... Obsessed!!!
People want your attention 24/7 and when you don't jump on it, oh man...
I found this effecting my daily habits. I would be cooking dinner and spend 5-10 minutes looking at recipes. Why? I know how to cook and create my own things! I would then switch my focus on social media and next thing you know after twitter, fb, Pinterest, LinkedIn and who knows what else, an hour had gone by. An hour of my already short day I have to get things done! All of that adds up to wow... It's the end of the day already and half my time was on the Internet. NOT how I wanted to spend my days.
Today, I sat my phone down and didn't look back. I made sure people knew I would be gone and checked before I left.
I don't regret it one bit. I got more things done and felt less anxious. Ya I missed my awesome friends for the day but I didn't miss those few back handed remarks from other people.
This is from a person who doesn't just sit on her phone. I don't obsess over what is going on, I don't count down the likes or shares I have. I don't freak when my phone is dead. I just wanted to do my job and enjoy myself.
Instead I was anxious. It stressed me out on a whole new level and seriously... I spent half my day on my phone.
Just put it down. Just don't look at it. Set certain times if you have to! Alarms when you CAN check your phone! Don't grab it every time you get a message. Don't grab it when you are bored. Don't get on your computer. Just don't. At least not until you are used to not being on it.
I try to get all of my business things done twice a day. That's plenty of time to do what needs to be done! Otherwise, I realized I was wasting my real life on things that WERE NOT real life. Once in the morning I check my work things, otherwise this cool feature called an alert will tell me.
Does this mean I care less about my active roles? NO. I still take my job and my admin jobs very seriously. I am still very active with my members. I love what I do! I just can not focus my entire day on my phone. That is too much to expect from anyone and not a healthy habit.
Remember, your life is a series of moments. Don't let those precious moments fly by,
The Smart Girl in Pants
I have read A LOT of blogs on kombucha before I started making it. You know, to prevent any horrible series of events. But one thing I wish I had seen was a picture of the weird phases the SCOBY goes through. Sometimes, I was wondering if I was even doing it right!
So this blog will be going through the steps to grow your own SCOBY, picture of the scoby all the way up to the second ferment of flavoring your kombucha!
If none of this makes any sense, let me quickly explain. This isn't a full tutorial but there are plenty out there! In short, Kombucha is a fermented tea. During the fermentation process, the GOOD bacteria and yeasts eat up most the sugars so you are left with this antioxidant rich, probiotic rich, carbonated drink! I was hooked the moment I tasted it! I drink some daily, though the amount varies. Some days I will drink 16oz, other days I drink 4oz. Just depends on what my body needs!
Now on to how to grow the SCOBY! I knew no one that had a SCOBY baby for me to take home... Didn't want to buy one online because I knew well and good with a little patience, I could make my own!
I started with my own brew of Black tea. I will be posting a VEGAN version of Jun as soon as it's done, that uses green tea! SCOBY do not like flavors or herbs, so let that rest until the second fermentation. Also, tannin is needed for the fermentation process! So black, green and Oolong I have had success with, going to test white tea and let you know but I think the levels of tannin will be too low. If you aren't familiar with making this, black tea is the norm!
Anyway, I did 1 bag of tea, 4 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar PLUS half a cup of tea from the left over store bought.
If you go this route, make sure to get the sediment of the other tea! Stick with the kombucha in the fridge section for this, original, no flavor. You will thank yourself! Let your tea cool down to room temp making sure the sugar is well dissolved before adding the Kombucha.
Find a warm place in your home! My first attempt was in a cold area and 2 gallons of kombucha starter... That takes a LONG time to make a huge SCOBY but as you can tell... I'm seriously addicted to my kombucha. Average grow time is one month! Fermentation of the tea with a mature SCOBY doesn't take as long, but you want to make sure your SCOBY is nice and strong. Heat helps! Not you catching your house a flame or anything drastic but a warm area. Too much heat can and will hurt your baby Scoby. In about a month you will have grown your own SCOBY! If you set it in a cold area it will take longer, warmer less. I have had one grow and finish in 2 1/2weeks with this latest heat wave! It DOES take time!
So now, pictures!
First thing that will happen is BUBBLES! That's awesome! Look at you little bubbles, all bubbling... Nothing you can do now. Just DON'T move it!!! I'll show you why later...
Second phase, white film. This is normal! It's beginning to form! Notice the larger white underneath? Yup that's a full grown SCOBY... When you shake the jar, the SCOBY can sometimes sink. You will begin to form ANOTHER on the top! No worries!
This is why you don't shake it. I had a week developed baby SCOBY and moved it too roughly. It is all messy and yuck looking now but forming another new baby on top because my SCOBY loved me and forgave me! Kombucha is very forgiving! As long as there is sugar, tea and starter it will usually get back to business!
This is of my huge 2 gallon batch kombucha I had to grow. Not quite done yet but firming up nicely and I think a few more weeks and it will be done! The problem with making a SCOBY of this size is the tea is worthless for drinking. It takes a month+ for a SCOBY this size so by then the kombucha is VERY vinegary and I'll just use it in stuff and dressings instead of as a drink. Still amazing for you so don't let that go to waste! It is white but not moldy. Mold is powdery and textured, generalOh start as spots! That's the best way to tell! If you have any doubts by all means toss it and start over. I'm not the boss of you! NEVER use the vinegar or reuse a moldy SCOBY! Here is a more in depth discussion of healthy SCOBY! Don't freak and toss a good SCOBY! It will feel firm and tough!
Once you are all done here is what a healthy, self grown SCOBY looks like! Start making tea because you leave his poor baby without a tea and it will die! This is an older SCOBY with her baby! Put them both into new tea and they will thrive!
To store them between batches, I leave them in tea and just add sugar weekly. It’s like a vacation spot!
Now on to flavoring!
You may decide you do not like flavored kombucha based on store bought flavors you have tried... Which was me. I knew I liked original, regular, plain kombucha so I was relucant to try after a few yuck ones from the store... But test I did Because I get bored and wanted to play! My favorites are Earl Grey, cantaloupe and chamomile and Peach Ginger! So good, especially the fresh chamomile from the garden! The kombucha really brings the chamomile flavor out!
Basically all you do to flavor it is wait until it's done with the initial fermenting. If you have an established SCOBY, this takes between 3-7 days to ferment to your liking, the FIRST FERMENTATION. Taste it! Too sweet? Keep on keeping on. Too sour? Well next time, don't go as long to taste test and you can still use this in place of apple cider vinegar in cleaning! I kid you not, I did it!!
Moving on to the second ferment, this is when you get the bubbly awesome. Warning, Be careful on second ferment. I have heard bottles can blow if you wait too long! I have had a lid fly off and multiple eruptions. What really gives the fizzy is added sugar drom
fruits, natural sweeteners and syrups. I find that for 16oz of kombucha, 3-4 small cubes of fruit does it. If you add too much, expect flying lids or fizzy eruptions!
Normally 2-4 days on second ferment is normal. Just plop your fruit, herbs or juice right in and put it back in the dark cave of warmth for the next 1-4 days. Don't check for carbonation too often. Problem is if you open it often, you lose your carbonation! So just be very careful!!!! Be sure to check your jars and bottles for any cracks to make sure your jar won't explode. I use 32oz mason jars and reused swing top bottles!
In the hottter areas, your tea will ferment faster. Colder areas, longer ferment time.
I hope you enjoy this new journey of making your own kombucha! It’s so rewarding and an art! It’s easy enough for us busy people as well! I love it!
And here are some cute labels for you! To say thank you for reading! I print these, apply tape over the label and write on it with a regular marker or dry erase so I can rub it off/wash off and start over!
AND please check out my Kombucha Toner and Kombucha Conditioner! Both have been AMAZING for me! I hope fellow Kombucha addicts will enjoy!
May your SCOBY grow strong!
Love and tea,
The Smart Girl in Pants
I love soap. It's an odd fascination I have but the smells and the feel of certain soap is so fun! I think soap during a zombie Apocalypse is very important. There was one season based on an illness that spread and IF they had soap... it would have helped. Remember kids, wash your hands after every zombie attack or coughing person touches you.
I told my husband long ago about a post I read about making soap from wood ashes. Being the curious Capricorn I am, I had to figure out how to do this! I made my first leeching barrel from some things I had laying around and a few days after, I failed attempted my first batch. Let's just say, I did everything you could do wrong WRONG. Horribly and painfully wrong. That is what a failed project is to me... painful. My attempt at cold pressed soap sat on a shelf in my laundry room (high enough up as to prevent me from bothering it every minute but close enough to remind me I stink at soap making...) for 9 weeks. 9 weeks before tossing it and promising to never again waste precious time on SOAP!
That all went out the window when I got online the next day and saw soaps... So, I bought lye. First thing I get it on my eye lid but carried on!!! And would you believe it.. It worked! It thickened up and traced... I could have left it at cold pressed soap at this point but I suck at waiting, 6 whole weeks for soap?! Hard pass. So, continued cooking and it kept on working! Needless to say, it was a game changer.
Was very batch perfect? No. Because I'm human and I love to experiment. I love to change everything, I always invent my own recipes and have FUN. Have a learned from that? Yes! No thanks to judgmental people in my life (gossiping over soap must be so rewarding? I wouldn't know.) but thanks to the ones that said 'Ya know, I can help you make that better!' So, thank you to the good humans.
Did I ever make soap from wood ashes? YES!!! That's how I make all my soaps now! It makes me feel great knowing I can use nothing to make something! Goes back to the good ole zombie approach to life!
Emergency prep is important! Even if it's to just to avoid being so dependent on buying things, I'm all about that.
My homemade soap is all we use now. I use it for laundry, shampoo, body wash, dish soap... it's saved us tons of money and it's great knowing we aren't exposed to tons of unnecessary nasties on the daily. It has also helped us work our family closer to being zero waste! It's been an amazing experience. Minus the damn eye ball burn, could have gone without that. Stupid important life lessons...
Thank you you for reading and please feel free to follow for more 'adventures' and future soap recipes!
Stay fresh and so clean, folks,
The Smart Girl in Pants
the newest cure all. What's up with this MAGICAL oil?
Well, it's from coconuts. You can obtain it either refined or unrefined (both still are 'processed' but one retains more flavor or has more flavor added back in and may or may not use less heat in the processing.), it can come in a solid up to 74-76 degrees form or constant liquid state.
It's been screamed all over the inter web that this MAGICAL oil has cured people of everything from acne to severe ailments.
Basically, the chemical composition of coconut oil is pretty similar
to many oils in the same family. It's high in lauric acid, a medium chained fatty acid, which is a pretty decent source of energy for your body internally.
As you saw in the title, I do not use coconut oil on my face, ever. No exceptions. If I even see it labeled on a product, I won't even try it.
Why? Everyone else is, so I must be wrong.
It is HIGHLY comedogenic, sitting around 4-4.5 on a 5 point scale. 0 meaning it will not clog pores, 5 meaning you can bet your bottom dollar it will. That means it's not if but when it will clog your pores. Clogged pores means more than just breakouts and acne flare ups. Clogged skin can't breathe as well or expel toxins at the same rate, according to some.
There are quite a few that have no problems using coconut oil on their face or body. More power to them! Use it if it works for you. For me, not only does it CAUSE breakouts but it causes a very bad reaction when my skin is very dry (I am NOT allergic in any way!). I have suffered a broken lipid barrier more than once, conveniently around the time a friend suggested her coconut oil lotion as the cure for breakouts. I won't flat out say it was the thing that officially wrecked my skin (red burning skin, peeling skin and MORE BREAKOUTS) because there honestly were other factors. I can tell you, as soon as I stopped using it, it got better. My experience, take it or leave it. I'm just being honest on my own personal experience.
There are many people claim coconut oil can kill germs but I have yet to see what types of germs, viruses or bacteria and when it would become inert to the point of no longer being able to kill said germs and bacteria. Also, does it just effect the gram-negative or both positive and negative? Our natural flora (in our gut, for example) generally consists of gram-positive cultures, like most molds. The main component of coconut oil (lauric acid) has been reported to only attack gram-negative cultures.
My test will consist of growing mold. Why? Mold is generally gram-positive. So, basically the same as the bacteria we produce. There are unhealthy gram-positives as well as healthy that help balance everything, balance is the ideal when it comes to everything I believe.
If no mold is seen in the test, we can assume that coconut oil does indeed disrupt the formation of some cultures, including but not limited to gram-positive and mold.
If mold does grow, we can:
1) take the test a step further and introduce another culture to see if the coconut oil only inhibits gram-negative cultures, this theory would mean that it only attacks gram-negative cultures.
2) Agree that coconut oil isn't fool proof in the control of cultures, considering most of the cultures of our skin are also mostly gram-positive.
So here I decided to do a little test of my own involving coconut oil and some other poplular germ killers to see what it could really do.
How do I use it then?
Again, as stated above, many studies have shown it to be very high in medium chain fatty acids. Which can be amazing to eat! While it is high in calories, it's all about moderation. Treat it the same as you would any oil.
I love it on toast, when I'm cooking anything on the stove top (coconut oil has shown to have a VERY HIGH smoking point!), as cubes for oil pulling and even a bit in my tea! It's amazing for sugar cookies and as a vegan butter replacement. Blended with a liquid sweetener (which you can omit) and flavored oil in the right amounts makes an AMAZING straight from the fridge spreadable vegan butter! I have also made an amazing vegan ranch dressing with coconut oil and avocado.
Of course, many people may have an allergy to coconuts. Before you ingest or apply ANYTHING new, you should always do an allergy test, sometimes spanning over a few days to weeks. Watch for subtle changes in your own body rhythm. Always ask your doctor as well. I'm not your doctor or your dermatologist, so they can answer many questions pertaining to your personal skin and body.
There are people who say it has a low, but viable sun protection factor as well. The amounts stated online are very low so either mix it with zinc oxide (non-nano is what I prefer), use with a more powerful sun protectant or use under clothing as a physical block from the sun. This after you have checked it on to be sure you don't have a reaction or breakout.. You can test it however you like but I would not personally go outside with coconut oil alone on my skin, even on a cloudy day. It's just not enough sun protection. Again, please consult your professionals in your life pertaining to your personal body. They know you better than I do!
As you can see, when exposed to water and sealed in a dark place, most of these grew something. The coconut oil mold thrived.
While this does not mean that coconut oil will grow mold on your face, it does imply that the theory that coconut oil loves to attack gram- cultures over gram+ or nothing at all. Further tests would be required.
Two weeks is a long time, long enough that one would say it became inert. Fair point, but I do say that the proof is in the Petri dish, if you will.
The ones with the least amount of growth were the hand sanitizer I make and the popular essential oil blend of cinnamon, rosemary, eucalyptus, lemon and rosemary. Gentian Violet grew a very interesting white mold. Coconut oil grew a very distinct green.
What does this tell us? Well, interpret how you will with all the knowledge you have!
For sure? With knowing this, we shouldn't use the reasoning that coconut oil kills everything too strictly. Always use a clean utensil to get coconut oil out of a container and avoid contaminating your coconut oil, especially if left out at room temperature.
This oil has many uses, no hate on coconut oil at all. It's just the more
we understand something, the better we can use it to the full potential and help others do the same.
Due to the high amount of saturated fat, please consult your doctor before ingesting coconut oil. Especially for those with heart or artery issues.
enjoy your coconut oil however you like and please feel free to tell me your favorite coconut oil recipes or if coconut oil works for you in the comments!
Update: there are actually debates online about the safety of our natural flora balance when ingesting coconut oil. So I repeat, do your research, ask your personal doctor with the information you find. Just because a blog or website tells you to try something, does not mean you should.
I am not your doctor or your professional. My blog is for entertainment and thought provoking purposes, not to be used as medical or any other type of advice. I am also only a scientist by hobby, my tests are proof of the great tests of nature. No test is 100%, if you are a fan of the quantum theory. Any test can be fallible. Please feel free to test your own and see how you do!
The Smart Girl in Pants
The Smart Girl in Pants