With our planets barrier depleting, the animals (including the human variety) have limited built-in protection from the increasing rates of damaging UV rays. We can not adapt to the radiation we are exposed to as quickly as it is always changing. Mutations taking generations. Sun block is the most important step in skin care in this day in age. In this blog, I'll be addressing 3 key topics: The main. The reasons it should be your main step. The unicorns. Misconceptions we hear and maybe pass on. The lessons. The things we think we know but aren't quite they should be.
Making sun protection your goal in your skin care routine is key. I understand, all of us going less waste want to erase as many products as possible to create as little of an environmental impact. We can not be good advisors by giving bad advice on critical subject. That in and of itself taints the message we send to the world. We can show people more ecofriendly and less waste options. I do make my own sun block but there is no at-home gauge for the SPF of homemade sunscreen. Unless you send it in for proper testing, which many will not, you have to be careful. With that being said, I must advise people to do their own due diligence when it comes to sun protection. There are viable, less wasteful options on the market and here is why you should include these into routines.
We are being subjected to harmful UV rays all day, every day. Through windows, when we are outside, in the car... the list goes on. These rays are becoming stronger and stronger as our planet's natural defenses are thinned. As I said above, humans have evolved in many ways to protect our skin from UV damage. Skin with high levels of melanin, such as darker skin pigment and freckles, have come from our ancestors exposure to damage and natural evolutionary reactions our bodies design to protect us. Yet, with the UV rays increasing so quickly, something our ancestors never experienced. It's impossible for our genes to have mutated quickly enough to provide the same level of natural protection, if you will. Evolution just doesn't work that way.
Supplementing our skins natural defenses with sun screen is our only option. Avoiding sun damage is just as important as having a healthy diet or working out daily.
Hopefully the myths and misconceptions portions will provide adequate reasons to make this your main product because the main reason is simple: we need to protect yourselves.
The biggest one is that sunscreen in makeup is the same as sun screen we apply. More than likely, the sunscreen in makeup is just that: sun screen. It's probably a chemical sun protection agent. The way those work is to absorb into the skin and manipulate the UV rays effects on the skin. Chemical sunscreens will not be your best bet to prevent visible damage in most cases. Sun block sits on top of skin, physically blocking rays, aka why it's referred to as physical sunblock. Sunscreen screens the rays that hit your skin in a way that it won't be harmful.
Also, if a Makeup DOES have a physical sun block, like zinc oxide, you more than likely are not applying enough to get the adequate amount of protection. Are you reapplying a full face of makeup every 2 hours or after exposure to water or sweat? If not, then you are only protected for the duration of your sun protection's viable life, the fact that the color/makeup is still on your skin is not an indication of the effectiveness of the sun protection. That's it. The main thing I hear is people are allergic to sun protection creams but not allergic to makeup. In that case, it's time to evaluate your allergies. What does your makeup have that the allergen does not? Many chemical sun screens do cause reactions to sensitive skin. Try a physical sun protectant under your makeup. Sun protection factors of makeup are not meant to be stand alone protection, even makeup companies say that.
Another is that our skin needs sun exposure. Sure, everyone says 10 minutes of indirect sun in non-peak hours can help provide your body with a natural form of vitamin D. Not a day of it, straight beating our skin down. As stated above, we are in an ever changing environment. What our bodies could take hundreds of years ago isn't the same as today. It makes sense to supplement our skin's natural protection. I don't know about you but I'm not actively photosynthesizing my food. I'm not a plant, 99.9% sure of that. As important as the sun rays are to life, our skin isn't too happy about the harmful aspects of the sun. You may get enough sun through the day between applications, parts sun protection missed and more flaws in sunscreen/block and applications but not using it because you want the benefits is not safe. 10 minutes of indirect sunlight.
If we don't burn, we aren't damaged. Lie. It is true, sun burns increase your chances of skin damage. This does not mean that if you just tan that you are okay. That only means the UVB rays didn't burn your skin. You were still exposed to UVA rays that effect the lower levels of your skin, not always an immediate sign that damage has occurred. Any skin tone can receive damage from the sun, especially as the UV rays increase. Those damages may not be visible and often, different skin tones will show drastically different signs of damage. What skin cancer looks like on one skin type could be completely different on another type or tone.
Lack of sun creates issues, wearing sun protection causes SAD.
SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is the lack of sun creating a lack of serotonin. Serotontin is a chemical produced by our brains. When I say protect yourself from the sun, I do not mean never see the light of day. Your brain needs that visual of brightness, not necessarily sun as many would say. Believe me, unprotected skin is not the answer. Biggest issues are often sleep schedules are off, staying up all night, napping during the day, throwing off your bodies circadian rhythm (our body's natural clock). Those can be caused by many unnatural habits such as intentionally staying up late and creating dark (night time) environments. Your body will react well to a set day time (see light and be active) and night time (lack of light and at rest) at generally the same time each day. Having a good schedule, curtains that still allow brightness to be seen, being active and out at normal times of awake periods, bright indoor lights and especially waking with light at the same time are helpful. Your body loves a schedule, it helps it work in the way intended.
This, in no way, is a viable excuse expose yourself to burns or UV rays with no protection. I have not seen a study that suggested a lack of UV damage being detrimental to health. The lack of light and off-putting schedules and rhythms seem to be the key to SAD but even scientists are limited on how or why SAD even exists. If you already have an issue with insomnia or depression, see your doctor immediately for help.
Homemade sunscreens work just as well. Depends. This isn't exactly a myth but more like inconsistent risk. I make my own and I have tested it to be sure it works. It's heavy in iron oxides, zinc oxides and titanium dioxide. Where essential oils come in as sun protectants, some are a great add on to the aforementioned. I would not recommend it as a standalone, ever. It would work almost like a chemical sunscreen, if it worked at all. Unless it's been tested and proven, don't trust it. Not with your health. Oils containing 'sunscreen' are vary inconsistent. Don't rely on a plain oil to do the heavy lifting. I hear many things about people being untrusting of oxides but if you check with your dermatologist and learn more about how skin works, it's very unlikely that they could magically slip into your skin. Skin, the thing that actually keeps germs and bacteria OUT and our insides covered. Molecular structure of many things is larger than bacteria, as an example. Zinc can be amazing for many skin issues as well as creating a solid physical barrier, for instance. For those who don't want to go through to trouble of actively having an item tested or just want to blindly trust something a company said, please just buy one.
Lessons can get misconstrued over time and twisted, misunderstood. Here are some 'legends' you may or may not have thought to be true.
Many people see an SPF of 10 and think it means that's 10 on a scale of whatever scale people think of. In that case, 100 would be the best, right? Sadly, misconception. SPF of 10 means 90% of UVB rays are blocked for the duration of your SPF's effective life. It's recommended that people reapply sun screen every 2 hours. Organic sunscreens, not classified as a mineral based or chemical based sun screen, break down at an alarming rate when exposed to UV rays. Meaning they actually need to be applied MORE often. I always aim for an SPF of 30, blocking around 97%. An SPF of 100 does not mean 100% blocked. An SPF of 100 means around 99%. An example of an organic sunscreen would be Coconut oil. That generally sits at about a 4-5 on the scale, blocking around 70% of UVB rays and lasting around 45 minutes before reapplication would be advised. The only positive of a higher SPF than 30 is of human error. We are not good at applying sunscreen. Not at all. Even being careful we are bound to miss a spot. Meaning that coconut oil at 4-5spf could be 1 or zero in some spots. Having a higher SPF may mean those thinner areas would be protected. Always immediately reapply sunscreen after exposure to water.
UVA and UVB rays are the same. Wrong. In layman terms: UVB, sunburn. UVA, skin damage including but not limited to the formation of cancerous cells. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, both physical sun block, are able to block UVA rays and are slower to break down. Chemical and organic sunscreens may not block all or any UVA rays. We are expose to both via sunlight.
Uv damage only comes drom the sun. Another misconception. There are many who say the light from our computers and phones creates a UV damage as well. High energy visible light (HEV) is also found to create shocking percentages of damaging UVA rays to our skin. Remember, UVA rays are not sunburning rays, but deeper damage. You probably won't get a sun burn from your phone light. If the UVA damage is high enough that we should be looking for all day skin care products with physical UV protectants if we are exposed to those devices on a regular basis. Uv lights at nail salons also use, you guessed it, UV to cure our nails. Don't forget tanning beds which provide well above the amount of UV we experience outside and can burn as well as damage deeper layers of skin.
The best sun screen is applied onto the skin. Another misconception Many animals don't have sunscreen! Learn from them. Fabrics designed for sun protection never wear off. You don't have to keep adding clothing every two hours because your sun protectant shirt has become invert (side note, that would SUCK walking around and suddenly your shirt is invisible. 'oh, my apologies. My shirt has become invert.'). Shade doesn't wear off. Tinting windows, wearing a hat, sun protectant specific clothing, avoiding being outside in peak sun hours, finding shade. All of those are great ways to avoid sun exposure. Sun protectant products shouldn't be stand alone, but used in conjunction with additional sun protection all around us. Just like wearing a hat should not be stand alone.
Once you have sun damage, you can never go back. Our skin is fantastic, isn't it? It heals cuts, it sheds. It's advised that everyone always be checked by a dermatologist every year or if any new area of concern arises. We can not undo what has been done. We can help erase some of the physical signs like sun spots but always be aware of your skin's condition. Just because you tanned in the past doesn't mean you have damage so may as well keep on keeping on. Every bit of exposure creates more damage, damage that may cause serious issues down the road. Avoiding it in the future is the best bet.
Running errands is not the same as playing in the sun all day. Wrong. Playing by the pool all day will expose your skin to UV rays, even burns due to reflection. So will running around on the town. The activity does not change that the sun is out, you are out and your skin is exposed. Even in the winter your face is going to suffer. Regardless of what you are doing, sun protection is important.
I look fine so I don't have damage. Wow, wrong. Different skin types, fatty deposits, facial expressions, heritage and facial structure will depend on when or how someone 'wrinkles' or if you develop spots. Just because you don't have freckles (a cluster of melanin to provide some protection from damage), sunspots or wrinkles does not mean you are free of damage. Visible damage is only part of the spectrum. UV rays destroy collagen in the skin, collagen being a main building block of our skins ability to rebuild. Collagen is a large molecular structure protein that can't just be slapped on the skin and expected to absorb. Nor can it easily survive the digestive system when ingested. Sunburns are the result of damage skin, damaged skin structure and damage under the top layer of skin.
Apple Cider Vinegar cures sunburns, NO.
The top layer of the skin then sheds to remove the damage. The skin is dehydrated and in a very delicate state. Even a light pink color to the skin still is considered a burn, and should be treated as such.
Apple cider vinegar is very acidic and contains alcohol. This is not the time to expose week skin to something so strong. Avoid any synthetic and artificial fragrances. Remember this is a period of time that your skin is very damaged. You need to treat it like a little, tiny baby. Anything you put on your skin when it's very damaged like this could result in added sensitivity of the skin or risk of becoming allergic to ingredients. Focusing on fragrance free hydrating products is probably your best bet.
For those of you who love summer sun this summer, I implore you to rethink your skins protection to the sun. Skin cancer rates are high and being found in so many of our younger people. When I heard of a man that died in his 30's from skin cancer, my jaw dropped. 30 years old. That's way to young.
Protect yourselves, protect your children. It's worth the small amount of time to really invest in your largest organ. You are so important, remember that.
Love and Sun blocking all over town,
The Smart Girl in Pants
Ah reusable things. Even better? Reusable things you can MAKE. I'm VERY reluctant to buy anything if there's any chance I can make it. Reusing what I have is far better. In this case, I was lucky enough to have a friend with extra fabric that I bartered my homemade skin care for. No cost, no waste. Win. Friends who barter are the best friends, period.
Now, I wanted mine to look really homemade. That way people knew I made it, right? Such ah and wonder of skills! Bow to me! My tip for that? Ignore your sewing machine for at least a year and basically have to relearn how to use it! With those obvious mistakes it will make it quite apparent you made it yourself. Was that dripped in sarcasm enough? Because that's what I meant to do.
I didn't really have a plan for how to make these either. I just made a rectangle with a flap. Ya... if you read many of my other blog posts, you may agree my name should be Smart Lazy Girl or maybe Oops, Almost Chopped Off My Finger But At Least I'm Wearing Pants... off subject so anyway, Here's some better plans that I can assure you explain these better than 'rectangle with a flap'.
Plastic lunch baggies have been a staple of lunches and snacks for so long. Time to say good riddance to those!
I love how durable these are. A few of ours have added snaps, that just makes them close and not dump the food item all over in the event of a child-handling. And it makes them sooo cute.
Just because you don't think you can, or in my case was overly confident because I had sewn for years yet forgot all the things, and won't like your products, think of this: Anything is better than wasting. I still get compliments on mine! Granted, no one is asking where I got them from (because they are so obviously made...) but they still love them! Here's a few affiliate links in case you want to skip the Do-it-yourself part (I don't blame you)!
Get those plastic baggies OUT!
And get to being stylin'!
The Smart Girl in Pants
Being zero waste is such a fun journey! Every time I think I have it down to a science, I find another thing I can work on! I think that's how it should be. Not a huge trash dump of our old lives. Rather, a journey into a more sustainable living practice. Learning at our own speed.
We never needed a water filter until recently. Our water was always fine! Until one day... *dramaticness*. We got new pipes ran and ever since, it just tastes horrible. I can't stand it. No one else seems to care but I won't touch it. Almost as bad as the 5 seconds we lived in the city but not quite as bad as chemical filled pool water. Just chemically. No no no. Just instantly felt horrible in my mouth and was bitter. The Smart Guy thinks it's all in my head, as we did everything correctly, installation to flushing, but I swear it's not the same!
They sell amazing charcoal water purifying sticks here:
Charcoal water stick
but I didn't have time to order! I wanted them NOW. So, what does any Smart Girl in Pants do? I get my DIY on.
Making charcoal isn't hard. It's not even very time consuming. Both of those are completely personal opinions, of course, because this isn't my first time making charcoal. You have to have spare wood, what type depends on many things. Of course untreated. We happen to have loads of that, including my favorite apple tree that is now DEAD. I was heart broken. Good news, she left at least 6 baby apple trees to take her place! Our peach tree spread as well and peaches for days! Made places will tell you one wood is better than the next... blah blah blah. As long as we are researching our wood choices and not choosing anything toxic, dangerous in any way or gross tasting. Of course, no taking that's not ours either.
Then, you need fire. Do not even attempt to use a charcoal used for the grill... oh my. Don't. I did use the charcoal for the grill in one way... to make my charcoal sticks but not in my water!
To create charcoal, you place dry or damp (I have done both) in a fire proof container and place in the fire. Do not use aluminum cans! Just don't. Depending on how hot your fire is, it's usually done in 1-2 hours. This batch was closer to 1 1/2 hours. I was cooking on the grill anyway, smoking with the apple wood chips we obviously have loads of. Be careful around and with fire. It does get hot, you know, and hot means burns. These will be hot.
Once your sticks are done, boil them. Some people say don't. I say, even if you order the one above, just boil it. Takes a bit more time out of your life but just safer than sorry. Plus, in the DIY case, debris for days! I boiled mine then stuck them in cool water in a jar and shook the heck out of them. Look at that! I don't know about you but I really want clear water. So after shaking them and rinsing them until the water was clear, I was happy.
Then just air dry. These don't take long at all to dry!
Leave in your water for, recommended, 24 hours. I have had mine in the water for... an hour? About that. Here goes the test!
Holy Hades, you guys. That horrible taste is almost gone. There is still a bit of an after taste but the initial 'OMG IM DRINKING POISON' feeling I get when I drink my tap water straight up is GONE. Whoa. I'll check in tomorrow morning, that would be 12 hours from now.
Good Morning, world! Is it just me or did that seem like last night went by almost as fast as scrolling down just a smidge? Anyway, the results.
I am shocked at how well this works. Yes, I know charcoal has been used for a vey long time to absorb many things but this works so well. I wish we had taste-o-vision here. Everyone would be shocked at how much BETTER my water tests!
That being said, I can not vouche for how well this gets ALL nasties out of the water, if you were trying to filter bad things this will not. I will be testing further on composition and PH to see what changes there are so be seen but I am just happy the taste is back to normal! Everyone says replace these every month, certain sizes able to 'filter' certain amounts of water. I am filtering 32oz with 6-7" sticks.
Bit of lessons I learned:
-The wood shrinks substantially when converted to charcoal. Go big or go home, right?
- Messy task but works.
- No wasted money buying them, no shipping (so less resources wasted), I know my charcoal wasn't a wasteful product and I had it ready in less than 3 hours.
- Won't filter bad, bad things out and I haven't tested anything to know for sure what it DOES filter/absorb. I am simply going on taste tests here. If you are truly worried about the quality of your water, dig deeper into research than just on taste.
- I'm used to this process, someone else may very well think it's horrible. To me, an extra step in my already grilling event is no big deal.
- Always ask your doctor before investing things. Even though this wood was completely natural, I knew what was done to it and around it, I still asked. It's just a good thing to do, second opinions are always welcome. That's why I'm Smart.🤓
With all that being said, I am SO happy with this! I like my water cold most of the time, I'm actually not picky, but letting a big jug with a few sticks sit in the fridge over night wouldn't hurt at all. Much less wasteful than the types of filters that screw on to my tap.
Rmemeber, my blog is for inspiration and entertainment. Don't just haul off and make things without doing your research and being responsible. I'm not responsible for what ya do, savvy?
There ya have it!
What do you think? Would you try it?
Made it with FIRE!!!!- The Smart Guy in Pants
The Smart Girl in Pants
Oh bubble tea... it's just so FUN to drink! Really busts my bubble (all the pun intended) that around where I live, people ONLY serve bubble tea in premix, milk infested drinks. Yuck. No thank you. It was so painful just ordering sweet tea with boba, they couldn't understand why in the world I would want that. People, come on.
So, making my OWN.
I am not a fan of summer but I do love vacations and fresh produce right from my own local farmers. I really appreciate a farmer that knows what they are doing, grows with passion and responsibility. I have a few at my local farmers market that I am happy to call friends! I swear, it's just not because of the produce game! It's because they are genuinely passionate people who really are amazing humans!
For this recipe, I used a golden honeydew. Oh honeydew. It's the best thing ever. Team that up with The Republic of Teas Organic Lean Green SuperGreen Tea and yesssss. Perfection.
Honey Dew Green Tea Bubble Tea (Vegan)
-1/4 cup honeydew melon, sliced, rind removed and seeded
- 1 cup of Organic Lean Green SuperGreen Tea
- 1Tbsp dried stevia leaf powder (or any sweetener like sugar)
- Boba Tapioca pearls (I chose green!)
-1/2 ice or frozen almond milk
Heat your cup water for tea and add boba pearls. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes or until soft. Pour tea into blender with all your ingredients and blend! Add boba back into your tea and enjoy!
I LOVED THIS ONE. This tea is the bomb! I will be making this one again for sure! Freezing some honeydew now so I can enjoy this for a long time!
Honey, oh hell ya I dew.
The Smart Girl in Pants
Ah summer. I have such a love hate relationship with summer. I am NOT one for heat, bugs or sun burns. Nope. What I love about summer is vacations and fresh produce. Yes. That's all it boils down to. We have been gone more than we have been home this summer, exploring and finding new things to love together.
That being said, my husband finally convinced me to take the dive into an RV. One we can take places and not be shy about. It's been a whirlwind ride but it's here. It's gorgeous. We love it.
As with any other big change in life, I was researching and found that for some reason or another, zero waste and camping in general hasn't really gone hand in hand. Honestly, I find that so odd. It's about as eco-friendly as you can get, camping wise, which we love. Plus, it makes things a million times easier.
So, in honor of plastic free July, here we go! A bunch of tips on how to go waste free or at least, help you have less waste when you camp out this summer!
1) Refrigerator. That means we can store things just as we do in the home! No one time use plastics, no need for a plastic or styrofoam cooler. Just, simple! You don't even need an RV, try finding a small, compact size refrigerator. The newer the better, as many new ones are eco-friendly and lots of people sell them used. Many camp sites have electricity and it would be possible to use solar (if your pulling enough watts for a fridge that is! Always check.). It's an investment, one that with care, can last you years. Yes, it uses electricity but it also means no plastic ice bags, no plastic coolers and works so well especially for longer stays.
2) Solar. We use solar power for all the things, from big things to electronics. We plan to expand futher as we go but solar can make a huge difference. Even something as small as a solar charger can help! The only thing wrong with starting small is thinking that small change won't help. It does, much more than you think. These small ones are usually cased in plastic so look for rugged and good reviews so you don't accidentally create plastic waste. In this case, I truly believe you get what you pay for.
3) Cleaning. I use the same things as I would at home! Cotton dish cloths, homemade cleaner and homemade soaps. Easy. One time use wipes are easy but so is tossing a thin, .10 cent wash rag in the laundry. Takes just as much time and barely makes even a dent in laundry. Just skip the paper towels. You can go even cheaper and cut up an old towel! Boom, saving money and the world, you Earth Campion, you!
4) Buying used. This, I believe, works for EVERYTHING of good quality. I won't buy a new car because the value drops as soon as you take it off the lot. Not to mention, it's cheaper a few years older. Really, if some thing new strikes your fancy, get it. It's an investment but used works just as well, in my experience. Our RV is not brand new (2016 model) but not old enough to need tons of work, which is just what we needed to get our feet wet in the RV world. We would love to convert a bus later but that is big $$ and time. We decided on a gently, very gently used rig and we reused it instead of it becoming wasted or creating new waste. Even if you choose the tent life, used if you can find it used. If it's used and not worn to s&$t, it's probably great and reliable! Just my opinion. Of course, be careful buying used. Some people don't have respect for things. Make sure it's CLEAN and in use BEFORE you buy it. If it's gross and/or can not be proven it works 100%, hard pass. That's a lot of abuse on something already. Someone will want it, that someone doesn't have to be you. Go for a good, reliable item you can use for years, not something you have to toss because it didn't hold up. Buying broken or abused things won't last as long, will take resources to fix more often due to the wear and tear time takes on things and will become Waste sooner than later.
5) Make and prep meals ahead of time. I have all things marinating, precut... you name it. In reusable, zero waste containers. This is such a life saver for the Smart Pants fam. Saves crazy money, we have already saved well over the investment in containers and it's so nice to have it all DONE before the hustle and bustle of things. Worth. It.
Takes a five whole minutes to wash out!
6) Bring your own homemade creations. From fire starters to bug sprays. I have watched families carry bag after plastic bag of of their vehicles full of plastic bottles... that they just later toss. How disappointing. If you don't want to DIY anything (I'll gladly post some of my DIY recipes if you are interested!), there are plenty of Etsy shop owners that will gladly work with you to create zero waste products. More than likely at an extra charge if they don't already have them in zero waste containers but it's worth it to find a seller that will help you reach your goals! Just be kind and accept those who don't have the time or want to create custom items.
7) Ditch the plastic utensils! It's really not hard to rinse off and go again. Just stop. Same with cups. It's such a huge waste and those things will outlive us. That's a creepy thought, isn't it?
8) Prepare for everything. I know, that sounds a bit over board but the more you prepare, the better. If you stay organized and prepared, you are less likely to grab a one-time-use plastic item or shop where things you need are wrapped in plastic. Have all your items from blankets for the chilled nights by the camp fire to swim gear ready to go.
9) Composting Toilets. This is something we are just warming up to the idea of but it seems like a grand investment. Not everyone is comfortable with it until they research how waste is treated and the resources used... not to mention our own drinking water. Composting toilets can range from expensive contraptions to simple, homemade devices. Do your due diligence and check your area that you are in for regulations and of course, the idea in general.
10) Wrap and secure glassware in extra blankets and/fabric items BEFORE you travel. This will save those precious jars!
There you have it! It's really simple to help our planet and save yourselves some cash, even when you are on the road. Just takes a bit of prep, organization and motivation! No one is perfect at zero waste, no one. We all make mistakes. The best part about mistakes is the ability to learn from them. All the time! And always strive to do better!
The Smart Girl in Pants
I am a SUCKER for smoothie bowls! They are so pretty and fun to eat! It's like a smoothie dessert!
This post is brought to you by The Republic of Teas, who sent me several teas to test out! Check my blog for the review of the teas!
Smoothie bowls are so easy to make, literally a smoothie with goodies on top!
Ginger Peach and Apple Smoothie Bowl
- 1/2 Cup of Ginger Peach Tea
- 1/2 an apple, cubed
-1/2 cup frozen Peach slices
- Dash of almond milk (or another dairy-free alternative), frozen or not.
END LESS OPTIONS. I used peaches, cinnamon and oats but you can add anything you like! Easy peesy, custom yum!
That's it! Blend it up in a food processor or blender, pour into your bowl and top! This exact one tasted like apple pie!
Smoothie bowls for the win!
The Smart Girl in Pants
Ya ya, I know. Everyone has seen the black lemonade recipes all over. Well guess what? This is not that recipe. Thank you to The Republic of Tea for providing the tea for this recipe and zero waste canister options! Check the main post for the entire review!
Went I was looking for a great morning detox, I collected several recipes I loved. Decided to create my own Wake-Up-and-Go drink!
Detoxing. One of those words that people often vaguely explain. Let me say this real quick. Our bodies do a great job detoxification all on their own. This is not intended to detox you, as I am not generally considered your liver. This can have a laxative effect, so be sure to ask your doctor about it before you go, excuse my honesty, all in.
I wanted this recipe to embody something dark, yummy but at the same time, loaded with good-for-me-things. I hope you enjoy! Feel free to tweak it however you like!
Dark Tempest Tea Recipe
-One bag of black tea
-1 tsp of activated charcoal
-1/2tsp of turmeric
-1/2 tsp of macca root powder
-1 tsp of bentonite clay
-1 tsp of black strap molasses
-1-2 drops of homemade vanilla extract or other flavor of your choice
-fresh herbal stevia leaf or other sweetener of your choice, to taste
Mix it up! Blending sometimes helps, adding ice is super fun. Make it yours! Feel free to add in or subtract whichever ingredients you like! I love all of these and here's why:
- Black tea: helps give me a pep to my step but doesn't wire me up like coffee can.
-Activated charcoal has been rumored to treat overdoses. The reasons behind believing that charcoal detoxes, not your cubes in the grill BTW, is that it absorbs toxins. This can be semi-true! It actually could absorb almost anything it comes into contact with in your digestive track. It is not recommended that you ingest any charcoal within 4-5 hours of taking any medications or supplements, unless you want to take the chance of it being absorbed and thus, ineffective. Again, ask your doc. This recipe doesn't boast a large amount of charcoal, not as much as clinically believed to absorb things, but better safe than sorry.
- Turmeric is amazing, it helps with inflammation and so much more. I try to add turmeric to everything.
- Macca Root, known to give energy and act as a libido enhancer. This is something I put in my coffee every morning and I am in love.
- Bentonite clay also boasts amazing detoxing benefits according to many. Also, generally reacts the same way as AC. So ask your doc.
- Black strap molasses. If you haven't experienced this gem, buckle up. It's the heavy hitter in the world of sweeteners now a days. Winning over honey any day in a bad a$$ vegan way, it has a very high amount of all kinds of good things! I use it in ANY recipe that 'needs' honey.
- Homade (or store bought) flavoring. The reason I PREFER homemade is I generally make mine from herbs, thus incorporating even more goodness. I love fenugreek (maple syrup type taste) and vanilla. That's just me.
- For optional added sweetness, real green powdered stevia is great but any sweetener will do. Either way it spikes your body's reaction to sweet things so it's not like one is really better here. I do love the herbal taste, almost slight mint taste, to REAL herbal stevia.
That is it, peeps! Make it and pop it up on the social medias with the tag 'thesmartgirlinpants' so I can see it! I would LOVE that!
Get your drink on,
The Smart Girl in Pants
That's right. One product, all the clean. I use this baby for everything. It's my literal all purpose cleaner. Floors. Counters. Fridge. Stove top and inside. You name it. Even windows! What could be more simple?
I love cleaning. I mean, there are 550,000,000 things I would rather do sometimes but in the end, I love cleaning. It's my go to when I'm upset. Clean and think. I REALLY love to make cleaning products and this takes away the laborious aspects and leaves the fun parts, creating and making things smell yummy. Thus, this concentrate is UNscented. You may feel free to add your favorite but this 32oz repurposed pickle jar will last me over a year. Scents are one thing I love to match with seasons, just seems to make the season all that more special! Ya know?
So to the recipe!
It's so simple.
Clean All The Things Concentrate, by The Smart Girl in Pants:
- 1 bar of firm soap, pass on the glycerin based soaps for now please.
- 1/2 cup of baking or washing soda
- 3 TBsp glycerin
- 24-32oz of water, halved
- 1/3 cup salt
-Optional: soap berry extract (which I added but forgot to get a picture of).
-Extra optional: scent like essential oils
That is it folks! Now the making of this does involve some weird steps but stay with me.
First, put half your water to boil. I prefer 32oz of water for a 4oz bar of soap. So that would mean you would boil 16oz of water! If you do less than 32 ounces, please expect your cleaning concentrate to be more stiff.
Grate your soap while you wait. I make soaps (which I love) and after I stash some back, share some and barter some, I have a few lingering left overs dying for some purpose. The more fine you get it, the easier of a time you will have melting it. Trust me. This particular bar of soap was lavender, thyme and lemon, in case you wanted to know.
Once your water is rolling, take off the heat and add your baking soda. The key here is to dissolve all the baking soda. That will make things easier down the line. It will fizz when it hits the water, so be careful about that!
Once your baking soda is completely dissolved, now you may add the soap. Stir and stir until it is melted. I wish I could tell you to pop it in the food processor but unless you want a bubbly mess, I would refrain. Add in the glycerin at this point as well and any drops of soap berry.
As your soap melds with your baking soda water, heat up the other, separate, half of your water to dissolve the salt. Salt has this fantastic ability to firm up most soaps. Sometimes, I have people tell me they tried making shower gel from bar soap to end up with goo-gone-wrong. It does that. Salt water can help a ton. It's just adding it at the correct stage and amounts that can be a pain.
Once your soap is melted and your salt dissolved, you may now combine the salt water and soap mixture as follows. At this point, all should be cool enough to add to the food processor, but still little bit warmer than room temp. If it is hot, wait. This part is important! Add the soap mix first. If you have the option to blend and add things withOUT having to remove lid (dangerous and messy) do that. If not, stop blending every so often and add more salt water. Or dump it all and blend like crazy. You do you, k? Blend at least for 1-2 minutes. Just to insure it's all smoothed together.
The salts reason for existing in this recipe is to cause the mixture to firm up. Bringing it from a goo mess to a cream type consistency. If you add too much salt, crazy stiff. If you don't add enough, goo mess.
It will seem like watery soap, while it's still kinda warm. Did you mess up? Idk, I'm not there BUT I do suggest you wait until it completely cools before being sad. It may look a bit like this at first, separating.
Blend it again. Just blend it 1-2 minutes again. Go for it. It should look like this...
Ah. That's better! Now it should stay together nicely and firm up a LOT. Possibly even to the point where it's hard to scoop out. If it gets too firm, get sections and blend with the smallest amounts of water until it looks like soapy joy... or the picture above.
The reason we want to ensure the baking soda is totally dissolved and not just hanging out, is that once it's to this point, it would be very messy to try to get that grit to dissolve. If the gritty baking soda doesn't dissolve, you risk clogging and ruining your favorite spray bottles. Let's skip that, shall we?
One TBsp of this concentrate will make 32 oz of cleaner! Can NOT beat that! I have used this for all things, hence the name... If you want it a bit stronger, add more. If you would like it less powerful, less. Easy peasy. With window cleaning, I spray a bit and scrub. Then, if I need to, wipe off with a clean towel.
You can scent this now or wait and scent each cleaning product as you make it, like it do. There are many oils that have been known to disenfect! Here are some basic blends using those oils:
-Tea tree, Rosemary, lemon
-Cinnamon, Rosemary, clove and lemon
- Spikenard, tea tree, lemongrass and oregano
-Tea tree, oregano, thyme and lemongrass.
I love these seasonal essential oil blends, which just smell so grand:
- Jasmine, lavender, peppermint and lemon.
- Rose, jasmine, honeysuckle, neroli and thyme.
- Rosemary, lemongrass, lemon and vanilla absolute
- Neroli, sweet orange, lime and spearmint
-Cinnamon, anise, clove, cedar wood and coriander
- Cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and vanilla absolute
- Peppermint, vanilla absolute, lemon and cedar wood or pine
- Pine, rosemary, cedar wood, spearmint and vetiver.
See? I love my seasonal things! Not to mention you can scent this differently for each cleaning job or room!
As much as I love cleaning products, this just takes all the work out of it and leaves the fun. Plus, to me at least, using amazingly scented products just makes the whole experience worth it. We all have to clean daily. May as well enjoy it!
So there you have it! Simple and zero waste! If you don't make these things, be sure to find a great seller you can request waste-free shipping! Most are completely ready and willing to help, albeit sometimes at an added cost but that's fair, I think!
Now, let's go clean all the things!
The Smart Girl in Pants
As promised, I am sharing my way to make REAL Herbal Extract!
It is so easy but does take quite a bit of time. You can do this so many ways! Completely frugal, organic, cheap organic... The list goes on. Not matter how you look at it, you are going to save big money and get the product YOU want.
There are tricks to making this a strong extract and not just flavored like vanilla or whatever herb you use, so listen! Read... You know what I mean.
Let's go through how to make basic Vanilla extract.
First buy your vanilla beans. This is what costs the most and rightly so. The better quality vanilla will result in fantastic extracts! I bought my vanilla beans from Vanilla Products USA they are AA beans. I was not disappointed! Plus they sent me some free beans, which was just amazing!
Okay, great, so you ordered your beans. Now you have to get to know your base. I used organic vegetable glycerin (VG food grade, always) this time but the usual is a high alcohol content liquor, like vodka (V). The VG yields a super sweet extract. VG is not going to be as strong as alcohol based extracts, I don't think it matters how long you let it seep. Mine has been going for about 6months, still not quite as strong. My V vanilla is very harsh but also very strong. Now, there are cheaper VG than what I used. Also, just because it says organic, doesn't mean the quality is the same. You want a pretty thick VG.
I liked testing this because now I know! The VG is great for adding to drinks, smoothies, shakes, coffee and tea. Sort of okay for adding to baking but you have to add a touch more and consider the texture differential. That being said it is your organic option, so a few may want to choose VG over V for that reason alone. Plus no alcohol content, which just sweetens the deal! See what I did there? :)
Back to how to make it! Remember, with alcohol based extracts, unless you are baking, the alcohol will be present. Not ideal.
You get your dark, glass bottles filled with the base of your choice (now that you have a better idea of which you may prefer!)! Fillet the vanilla beans! The brown, grit on the inside is what you want to expose! The more exposed those are, the more flavor you are going to have. Don't cut yourself, this isn't as easy as it sounds! The beans are thin, hard and wiggle! So be careful! You may not want to scoop the grit out, that leads to grit in your vanilla extract but give it a try if you want! For other herbs that don't need a fillet, just crush DRIED herbs. Fresh has water which will lead to mold growth in your extracts!
Once your get the beans cut, add the beans to your liquid! Store in a cool, dry place for however long you want! A few weeks to a few months! V will extract the vanilla quicker!
You can even make some herbal infused oils, which will be my one of my next blog how to's! So stay tuned!
Here is the cost breakdown:
Organic VG: 22 oz of organic Vegetable Glycerin= $22, would make little over 10 2oz bottles like I have pictured.
Vanilla beans: 10 Organic AA+ beans= $14, would yield 14 bottles, easy
Store bough organic vanilla (1 bottle, 100ml approx. 3.4 oz): $14
Our cost per bottle: $6 and some change a bottle!!
So, saves so much money and you know where it came from! This doesn't just have to be for vanilla either! Make citrus extract, Rosemary extract... Let your mind go crazy! These are ADORABLE in gift sets for the person in your life who loves to cook or bake! Create things that would otherwise be so hard to find in stores. I love my lavender and my fenugreek extracts for instance which are very expensive!
So have fun and great creative!
As with any new herbal anything, allergy test and ask your doctor before use. Doing research on if an herbal anything is safe.
Love and Flavor everything,
The Smart Girl in Pants
Hello Summer... my sorta enemy. I'm not a fan of summer, never have been. Winter is my favy. Spring, sure. Mild, fresh breeze and new growth. Autumn, ah yes. Cool nights and bright, productive-inspiring-weather days. Summer? No thank you. Here it's hot and humid. If the heat doesn't get you, the humidity will. Every bright and happy full sun plant that boomed in the spring gets moved to at least partial shade or withers under the beating sun. The only thing I like about summer is summer break.
That being said it's a good idea to bring everyone, even pets, inside during the times when the sun is the hottest. It's generally between the times of 12pm-4pm, depending your area. These are the times when sunburn/dangerous UV rays, heat stroke and temps are at the peak for the day. So, for those times, it's great to find something inside to do. For us, it's creative time!
We create something every day, it just comes naturally to us. Today it was play dough. There are two recipes: one to cook and one with no cooking needed. Both vary on shelf life so I suggest popping them into the refrigerator and check often for signs of it going bad.
For the cook version:
-1/2 cup of water
-1/3 cup of salt
-1 cup of flour (I like plain white or coconut for gluten free)
- splash of oil (something that STAYS in a liquid state)
- herbal ingredients for tint and scent
💗Hibiscus, dandelion root, rose petals
💛Turmeric, dandelion heads
❤️Red raspberry, Beet powder
💚Plantain, rosemary, oregano, seaweed
Boil the water and salt until dissolved.
Add in your herbs (we went with hibiscus that wasn't fresh enough to be tea anymore) and boil until color is apparent if it's a fresh herb, once cold for a powder herb.
Add your splash of oil and drops of skin friendly glycerin. I find the glycerin really adds such a great texture but feel free to omit.
Once totally cooled add blends of essential oils for scent. Avoid any citrus! Those increase photosensitivity. Also be sure to ask doctors and allergy test before using anything new. Natural things can and will cause allergic reactions. Poison ivy is very natural and thus, m͞y͞ p͞o͞i͞n͞t͞ i͞s͞ m͞a͞d͞e͞.
No cook version:
-1 cup flour
-pinch of baking soda, not too much because the PH is very different from our skin and our hands... they have skin...
-1/2 cup arrowroot or cornstarch
-1/2 cup salt
-1/2 cup oil, again liquid state oil
-dash of glycerin
-essential oil blend, just a few drops.
-Herbal powders. As there is no heat, extracting pigments from straight herbs is difficult, powders would be the best option.
This takes a bit of added elbow grease to get it all blended but if you are avoiding heat in the house (to keep electric bills down!) this may be the way to go. This is also more difficult to make herbal pigments with, as there is no heat.
I blend all the dry ingredients and pour wet on top and kneed! If you find it too sticky, add more flour. Too dry? More oil. Stay away from water, that will simply decrease shelf life. Which is already short because of the flour and starches.
For essential oils in both recipes, 1-2 drops of single oils is enough. In blends, 1 drop per oil not going over 4 drops. Essential oils are very powerful, respect that!
Here's a few blends I love:
-Frankincense and Jasmine ( like a woodland floral scent)
-Cinnamon and anise (fall perfection)
-Ginger and peppermint (if anyone is feeling tummy sick)
- Spearmint and vanilla (gum scent, love it)
- Vanilla and ginger (ginger snap scent)
-Vetiver, lavender and chamomile (calming blend, very calming)
- Jasmine and rose (floral and awesome)
- Rosemary, lemongrass and vanilla (love! Our go to!)
Just for some ideas!
So there ya have it! Zero waste play dough for summer!
Let me know what your favorite tweak to this recipe is!
Fun and away from the hot sun,
The Smart Girl in Pants
The Smart Girl in Pants