Tuesday, July 30, 2013

7 Paleo Breakfast Ideas (Gluten Free)

I have always been a foodie, but it took a bit of time after I went paleo to really start to play with recipes and make my own creations. The hardest transition was breakfast because I had always eaten carb heavy meals first thing in the morning and with paleo it seemed like egg "muffins", scrambled eggs and fried eggs were going to be my life.  I needed to figure out new, improved ways to make breakfast!


Here are some of my favorite recipes. I hope you like them!

Monday, July 29, 2013

DIY Natural Sink Cleaner: 3 Ingredients

DIY sink cleaner ingredientsI have a love hate relationship with my kitchen sink.

What I love: 
Big and deep
Stainless steel

What I hate:
Looks dirty very easily
Requires a lot of scrubbing (really hate).
Abuse = scratches

 ::sigh::

I'm dreaming about a beautiful farmhouse ceramic sink, but until I win the lotto or inherit a large chunk of money the kitchen makeover will have to wait!

Okay, so this happened by accident, but it's marvelous!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Make a Simple Custom Rug with Fabric

Have you ever wished that you could find a rug that was the right size and the right design for a certain space?

I have!

Recently, I stumbled across a pin from a Amy Vowles from AllParenting who inspired me with her welcome matt to make floor runners using fabric!

I went to my favorite fabric store looking for something for my kitchen and I came across this fabric that is beautiful, wild and bold. It was something that I normally wouldn't have picked out, but I just fell in love with it. It is PERFECT for my laundry room!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Troubleshooting the Oil Cleansing Method: What You Need To Know

The internet is full of confusing information about cleaning your face with oil right now. I've read so many crazy things that I wouldn't be shocked if someone said that it only works if you if you stand on your head and sing kumabya while you rub your face with oil. It's insane. Everyone has an opinion. Including me {grins}

I totally understand why so many people are confused about OCM. Hopefully I can tell you what I've learned and help you figure out what is best for you.

If you'd like to join my Natural Living Support Group on Facebook please fill out this form!

My Story
I started off using coconut oil as a facial cleanser because with all the hype I knew there must be something to it. I did some research and most of what I read was really promising. I was still nervous because in a few places I saw that coconut oil gave people complications with their skin.

The coconut oil made my skin really soft and well hydrated, but I ended up getting some pimples on my forehead which appear to be comedogenic acne (clusters of small, hard pimples) which happens when a particular oils clogs your pores. {sigh} You can read more about comedogenic acne here. For me, it was time to go back to the drawing board.

bumps after coconut oilI am sure many people will use coconut oil and it will work wonderful for them and you may be one of them. In fact, I just met someone who has been using coconut oil and her skin looks wonderful! It just doesn't seem to work for me. ::sad face::

I wanted to keep trying OCM, but I was worried that it would cause similar results so I decided to decrease my chances of having a reaction by blending my oils.

I already knew that blending jojoba and almond oil works well for my skin because I use them in my Aloe Moisturizer and I have seen amazing results. It's basically my beauty product security blanket. I really wanted to use what worked in that product and translate it into something new to cleanse my face with.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?

Blending Oils 101
Blending oils for facial cleaning, which is part of the oil cleansing method (OCM), has been very popular in the last few years. The idea is that by using multiple oils you can reap the benefits of each one and decrease your chances of having side effects from either.

Blending oils for OCMBlending oils is so easy! But I want to stress that it is very important to get quality ingredients because your results will reflect the quality of your products. You should try to purchase non-refined, cold pressed, 100% oils with no additives. If you can, then please purchase organic because that will ensure that no pesticides were used in the growing stages of the plant. Remember, this stuff is going deep into your skin so buy the best that you can!

Let's get started so you can try the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM)!

Basically, you can pick your oils based on your skin type, but it is recommended that you use one product that is an astringent:

Astringents
You have three options for astringents:
  • Natural oils
  • Essential oils
  • Separate astringent after OCM
Here are some natural oils that you could use:
  • Grape Seed Oil for any skin type, but most helpful for oily skin
  • Castor Oil for all skin types, but highly recommend for acne prone skin, but not for sensitive skin
  • Hazelnut Oil for all skin types
*If you have hemophilia, take blood thinners or have another blood clotting disorder do NOT use Grapeseed oil. It improves circulation, but, in these conditions, may effect the clotting of blood. 

If you do decide to use castor oil it should be 50% or less of your blend due to the level of sensitivity, it's reputation to dry out the skin, and it's ability to deep clean. Don't eyeball it. Measure it. I actually recommend starting out with less and working your way up. Personally, I think a range between 10% to 30% castor oil in a blend is all you ever need (and want), but you may find that you disagree. I just urge you to not use more than 50%.

Essential Oils

You can use an astringent essential oils such as juniper, carrot seed, ginger, lavender, myrtle, patchouli, rose, rosemary, and frankincense. I particularly LOVE frankincense for my complexion-- it's fantastic! Lavender is my other favorite because it can help to smooth out raised areas or scars.

I recommend that you start small and use 4 drops of an essential oil per ounce of natural oil if you have dry skin and up to 8 drops/per oz if you are oily. If later you feel as if you need more or less, then go up or down by one drop at a time. You do NOT want to exceed 12 drops combined of all essential oils per oz as it is recommended to keep essential oils to 2% or less of a skin care product. Even at 2% you will think the scent is weak, but trust me, it's better than having skin problems! 

Just make sure that you do a small "test" of your mixture on your wrist or hand before you use the product. They are very concentrated and you don't want to have a reaction slapped across your entire face. And remember, never use undiluted essential oils on your skin as they are far too concentrated.

Unfortunately, it's very difficult to find quality essential oils that are safe for skin care because the regulations are so poor. In fact, an essential oil only needs to be 10% "pure" to say that they are pure on their label! I have spoken to several people who have used brands which have caused them to develop skin conditions. So please be careful and only use high quality oils. If you want to learn more about essential oils please read this post about how to get good quality essential oils

You can also join my Natural Living Support Group on Facebook by filling out this form. We talk a little about everything natural, but we always have lots of fun!

Astringent after OCM
You can also use an astringent product (such as witch hazel) after you use OCM. I like Thayers Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is typically gentle on skin and has great properties for acne, rosacea, and other skin problems because of it's anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties. It is a gentle astringent which also has moisturizing properties so it's less likely to dry your skin like other astringents.

Blending your Oils
After you decided on your astringent, then you can pick your oils! I recommend using one of these oils with an astringent oil OR two of these oils with essential oils or a separate astringent method. 
*Note that if you have a food allergy or sensitivity to a the food product listed in the oil, then do not use that oil on your body or face

Cleaning your skin with coconut oilAfter you pick your oils, then you combine them at a 1:1 ratio (with the exception of castor oil- please use 90% whatever oil you picked:10% castor oil to begin).

There is no medical reason why you can't choose more than one or two oils. Theoretically, you could put all of them in a jar, but the problem is that the more oils you pick, the harder it will be to tell which ingredient is causing any reactions. Also, the more diluted they are, the less of a result you will get. I recommend 2-4 oils, but you are free to make your own recipe. That's the beauty of making your own products-- you can really make it perfect for your skin.

But if you have never used oil on your skin before, then I would strongly recommend trying two oil initially, and then waiting a few weeks before you add another just to make sure that you don't have a reaction.

If you decide you need more moisture or are too dry, then increase your ratio of the oil that is for your skin type by 2:1 (again the exception is castor oil: You can slowly go up to 50% of the blend if you are oily and as low as 10% if you are dry. If you are still dry at 10% remove it completely and add a different oil)

Bare with me because I want to show you some examples:

Example: You have oily skin. You are using Grapeseed oil (oily skin) and Coconut oil (all skin types) at a ratio of 1:1. Your skin is still oily, so you increase the proportion of grape seed oil to coconut oil to 2:1. Also it can be said this way: grapeseed 66% and coconut 33%.

And, yes, I know it only adds up to 99%. I wasn't a math major, but I'm sure that there are some decimal places behind those numbers somewhere!

Example: You have regular skin. You are using Jojoba oil (all skin) and Castor oil (all skin) at a ratio of 80% jojoba and 20% castor oil. You notice that you are getting dry spots on your chin and cheeks so you increase your jojoba to 90% and your decrease your castor oil to 10%.

Example: You have dry skin. You are using sunflower oil (all skin) and avocado oil (dry skin) at a 1:1 ratio with 5 drops of lavender essential oil per oz of natural oil. Your skin is still dry. You can increase your avocado oil to 2:1 OR you can decrease your lavender essential oil to 4 drops. If you are severely dry, then perhaps try both.

I recommend reading Crunchy Betty's post about coconut oil and the oil cleansing method. She's one of my favorite resources because she does a lot of research and is very detailed.

For ideas about making your blends, I have been informed that I cannot "prescribe" you a custom blend to try for your particular skin type. My suggestion is to listen to your skin-- it will tell you what it likes and what it does not like. There are also many comments below which can help guide you in your selection and also a list of comedogenic oils-- the higher the number, the more likely to cause acne.

How I Am Using The Blend:
OCM
I have combination skin so I started using jojoba (all skin types) and almond oil (oily skin) at a 1:1 ratio. I became dry, so I removed the Almond oil and replaced it with Avocado oil at a ratio of 1:1. My skin felt better, but I was still a little dry so I change my ratio by increasing the avocado oil to 2:1 and my skin loved it! But then my oily T-zone started to be a little too oily, so I added the almond oil back in for a ratio of 2 Avocado: 1 jojoba: 1 Almond. My skin seems to looovveee this combination!
I cleanse in just a few easy steps:
  • Lightly massage the oil into your face 
  • Use a warm to hot washcloth on your face for at least 30 seconds to help loosen up the gunk in the pores and open them up so that the dirt can be removed.
  • Softly wipe/blot away the oil and dirt with the washcloth. Especially if you have sensitive skin-- no scrubbing! 
  • If you still feel oily after 10 minutes, then splash a little water on your face to remove any extra. 
  • I follow up with a witch hazel astringent (post to come!)
I can't believe how much dirt is on my face when I clean with this product! Amazing!

If you want to add essential oils here is a chart that talks about the benefits of each. Remember though that citrus does make your skin more photosensitive. Essential Oils Benefits to the Skin

If you have a different skin type or this formula doesn't work for you, then experiment with the information provided and see if you can't make something wonderful for yourself. If anything I've found out is that OCM is very much an individual process. There is no magic formula that will work for everyone so if this is something you want to do, then it's probably going to take a little experimentation.

Troubleshooting:
If you have sensitive skin, then you may want to only use a lukewarm wash cloth as the heat my irritate your skin. Also, you may want to gently pat your skin with the washcloth to remove any excessive oil and then splash cool water on your face to remove the rest.

Do you feel like OCM is too much for your skin? You don't have to do OCM every night. I do OCM every other night, while others cleanse with oils once a week or any where in between.

If you have any redness, itching, or develop a rash there is a good chance you are allergic to something in your blend. Usually, it is an oil made with nuts or it could be the essential oil if it's not therapeutic quality. I would stop the OCM until the symptoms calm down and then eliminate the suspected culprit or change your OCM formula.

If your skin becomes just terrible immediately after you start the oil cleansing method (OCM), then you should probably listen to it. You probably have the wrong blend. I suggest stopping it completely while letting your skin return back to normal and using something gentle like the aloe moisturizer, which also has a gentle cleaning ability. When your skin calms down, then use a new formulation.

However, if you simply have a few extra pimples in the beginning it is probably NOT a reaction, but simply the skin purging itself of the old toxins and attempting to get used to the new, healthier method. This is especially true if you have used OTC acne meds, prescription acne medication, or have frequently used chemical peels. You can add Frankincense essential oil to your mix to prevent acne or you can use raw honey to treat existing pimples.

If you start to have clusters of acne around one month after starting the OCM that are small bumps, then one of the oils is probably blocking your pores. Research shows that this is usually a result of olive oil or coconut oil, but it can happen with other oils too. You can check this chart to see which oils in your blend may be causing your blockages: Comedogenic Ratings of Oils. Either remove the oil or blend it further with a less comedogenic oil.

If you start to have excessive drying, it may be due to jojoba oil or castor oil-- either remove it, decrease the amount in your formulation or dilute it with a moisturizing oil like avocado oil.

If your skin feels dry, you may be tempted to exfoliate more often. Exfoliation should only be done at the same rate the skin cells turn over: every 2 weeks at most. If your exfoliate too often, then you are making your skin raw and more susceptible to irritation.

Recommendations
I recommend using a honey mask once a week while using the OCM. I use one with coconut oil and avocado and it works great for me. The honey is the absolute best solution to keeping bacteria in check which is great for conditions like acne, eczema and psoriasis.

You can also use the honey mixed with cinnamon at equal ratios as a spot treatment for acne. However, this may irritate sensitive skin. If you have sensitive skin, then decrease the amount of cinnamon.

I have been researching and working on this post for weeks so I really hope it helps. Please let me know how things work out for you or if you have any other useful information to add!

Questions? 
If you'd like to join my Natural Living Support Group on Facebook please fill out this form or you can read DIY Beauty Basics 101

If you want more Coconut Oil ideas
Coconut Oil Hot Chocolate 

And if you're Pregnant or planning on becoming Pregnant, you have to read this!
Avoid Chemicals in Cosmetics while Pregnant

Disclaimer: Young Living and Amazon affiliate links are provided. This means your price stays the same, but I receive a small commission to support my blogging shenanigans. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Make a Custom Desk Pad. Any Size! Any Design!

I've mentioned before that I'm cheap, right? 

My home office has a cute, but small (cheap) desk that I use quite a bit for blogging/studying and the table top shows it. It has areas where the paint is dented and even flaking off. Of course, I could sand it down and paint it, but that seems like too much work for a cheap, cheap desk. I decided to just cover it up instead until I find a thrift store desk to reinvent.

Has it ever happened to you that when you make a decision (that you think will be simple) and it turns out to be a major pain in the butt? Yeah. Story of my life.

Well, I thought I could just buy a desk pad. Ha! My desk is too skinny!  It's only just over 15 inches from front to back and that made it impossible to find a commercial desk pad that would fit the space.

In true, Overthrow Martha fashion,  I decided to make my own. You're totally surprised, right?!
#DIY make a custom desk pad! It's simple and easy.

While on a recent (and very important) mission to look for fabric, I noticed that Hobby Lobby sells vinyl by the foot and at that moment an idea was born. I could use the vinyl and create my own custom desk pad! It would be the EXACT size I wanted.

So, there I was, standing in the middle of Hobby Lobby, lovingly caressing this roll of vinyl, pondering my plans. In retrospect, I am pretty sure that I looked a little like Gollum caressing that ring because the lady who worked there was staring at me. My precious vinyl!!

Okay, okay, yes, I'm weird, but my mother sat on my head when she was giving birth to me. I'm pretty sure that has something to do with it.

Anyways, plain vinyl is boring and a little thin, but I remembered that I saw this great tutorial from A Little Tipsy where she uses an existing desk pad and decorates it using wrapping paper. Brilliant!

So, I'm at Hobby Lobby with my new idea floating around in my head, but I hadn't taken any measurements. I decided what the heck! I'll buy 5 ft and do one for my craft table, too. It was only $6.99/yard anyways so I might as well have some extra just in case I made a mistake.

And I did! I made 2 mistakes cutting so I'm glad I bought extra, but I still have A LOT left over-- nearly 2 feet!  At least I have plenty more for whatever crafting project comes up next!

What You Need: 
  • Vinyl by the foot
  • Wrapping paper or fabric
  • Spray Adhesive
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Gridded paper (optional) and L-shaped, right angle ruler
There are two ways to do this project: One if you have gridded wrapping paper and the other if you don't or are using fabric.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

DIY Perfume: Making Your Signature Scent

If you read my post about my DIY dryer balls or my carpet freshener, then you know that I'm in absolutely obsessed with the smell of orange and jasmine. {sigh} The jasmine is romantic and the orange gives it a little bit of crispness and freshness. I love it! I love it! I love it! So why not wear it, right it?

I decided to make my own signature fragrance, but I needed to figure out how to do it!

If you'd like to join my Natural Living Support Group on Facebook please fill out this form!

Research
If you know anything about perfumes (I did not until a year ago) then you know that there is a top note, middle note, and base note. It's recommended that you use one of each of the notes in your perfume, but you don't have to. It's your signature scent! Do what you want!

But before you decide on a scent, let's get some education on the basics of notes....
  • Top Note: Your first impression and the scent that will fade the quickest. 
  • Middle Note: I have seen it referred to as the heart of the perfume. It will fade after a couple of hours
  • Base Note: This will be the anchor to your perfume and it will be the note that lasts the longest.
    •  It is also important to note that usually a base note isn't the most pleasant of the three initially, but it will become more pleasing over time.
Make your own DIY Perfume #DIYbeauty
My top note is orange, my middle note is jasmine and my base note is.... uhhhhh.... I don't have a base note. And considering that it's the longest acting, well, I think I want a base note.

Lucky for me I stumbled across this great website that talks about blending essential oils and gives a general idea about which scents pair well with others. The author offers some ways to make perfume as well, but I decided to go with a slightly different recipe from Small Measures with just a small adjustment: Less alcohol. I was a little worried that I would end up smelling like a drunkard with all that booze. The alcohol mainly acts a preservative from what I've read, so to hell with it! I'm changing things up. BTW: She has great step-by-step pictures and she is way more detailed than I am so definitely check out her site.

No Sew Cat Toy with Catnip

Make a cat toy

I have three cats and one of them is FAT. We call him Fatticus, Fatty McFatterson, Fatty Mcbeal, Chubby Kitty and all sorts of names that if he understood he'd probably hate us and be horribly scarred. Luckily, he doesn't understand English. Well, except "Are you hungry?" He understands that.

Fat Cat in a Box
Meet Leo, the Lazy. That's his official "on the record" name anyways. 

We've put him on a diet, we've been playing with him more and he lost a little bit of weight, but not enough! So our goal has been to get him to exercise!! We have tried a bunch of toys, but he is fancy and only like the really expensive toys that use batteries and move. Unless it's a string. He looovveesss strings.

We been trying to find something (anything!) to get him moving around to drop some more weight. To help him get a little more interested in play time, I thought I'd reinvent some of his old cat toys. Especially the ones that aren't very popular because maybe I can bring them to life with a little Overthrow Martha pizzazz. So, of course, I started with the lamest toy: those cheap $0.99 little plastic balls with the bell inside that no cat ever likes. 

It's time for a plastic cat ball make over!! 

Make a cat toy

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Caulk and a Billy Bookcase: Hiding the Holes

I made the mistake of asking the man, "Can you show me where the caulk is"? Do NOT ask your boyfriend/husband that question unless you want to hear, oh, about 100 jokes about, well, you know...

Trust me. This is experience talking.


This is part 2 of how to make a Billy Bookcase into an Entertainment Center Built-In and this part is soooo simple. It's even easier than the wallpaper project that we did in the previous post and this takes about half the time.

What You Need:
  • Caulk (latex or latex mix recommended)
  • Caulk gun
  • Spatula
  • Paper towels (recommended)
There is a type of caulk that you can buy that doesn't require a gun, but I have never used it before so I can't say how it works. But there are options. If you have questions, just ask your local home depot sales man and I'm sure he'll have the answer! 

There are lots and lots of peg holes in a billy bookcase. It's really not too bad once it's over but when you're just starting the project, well, it just looks overwhelming!

Eck!


From personal experience, I recommend removing everything off the shelves and then taking a big, deep breath. Now grab that caulk gun and get to work!


That's my serious face.

Friday, July 19, 2013

DIY 100% Natural Laundry Fabric Softener

Make our own Fabric Softener. This WORKS! #DIYIn my quest for chemical free cleanliness, I started browsing the internet for ideas about fabric softener and I was bombarded by this recipe that is based on mixing vinegar with hair products. I'm sorry, but ew. Gross.

Do you know what's in most shampoos? It pretty much defeats the "natural" part of green living.

It seemed like everyone else used just vinegar and essential oils which is fine, but a little boring. I thought that there could be something more! That's when I stumbled across a post from An Organic Wife where she uses alcohol in her recipe. Cha-ching! Thank you very much!

It's brilliant because alcohol has been used by a lot of people to help remove stains, plus it is a disinfectant!! It makes so much sense to put it in your laundry!

However, she also added dried herbs, but I am going to skip. But essential oils-- heck, yeah! She used lavender, which has calming properties, but also acts as to clean clothes. But don't feel like that's your only option! There are so many essential oils that have great cleaning properties: Lavender, Tea Tree, Peppermint, Spearmint, Thieves Purification... this list goes on! Personally, I love Tea Tree. I think it's the best single ingredient in the essential oil world for making sure your clothes stay clean and sanitary!

What You Need
  • 3 c White Vinegar
  • 1/4 c Rubbing Alcohol (or vodka)
  • 20 drops of Essential Oil (such as Tea Tree, Purification, or Thieves)- I recommend this brand
This is easy! Simply put the ingredients into a glass jar, shake it up and you're ready to go! Just add ½-¾ cup to your fabric softener dispenser in you washing machine the next time you do a load.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Make Vanilla Extract Naturally with 2 Ingredients!

I love vanilla extract, but that stuff is expensive! In true diva hippy fashion, I got tired of paying too much and decided to make my own.

When I decided to do it I had no idea that it was so simple and cheap. I don't know why everyone doesn't make their own instead of paying $8 a bottle of the stuff. The best part is that once you start making your own, you can just refill the bottle with the booze and tada! New vanilla extract. You never run out! Brilliant. And you have plenty of booze left overs to make a cranberry vodka or a screwdriver after you have one of "those" days. I don't know about you, but I consider that a win. Sometimes a girl just needs a drink!

Oh, AND the other thing that makes me annoyed is the cost of a vanilla bean at the grocery store. $7 for ONE vanilla bean. ONE. Shame on you, Whole Foods! Shame! It makes me want to start a vanilla farm in my back yard. I could become rich!

A DIYer Guide to Creating a Centerpiece

Be forewarned: I am not an interior decorator, but I have spent a lot of time with one. I love making things look pretty and I am very particular and a slight perfectionist when it comes to the "rules" of decorating. In fact, many of my friends and family as me for decorating advice, particularly with paint colors and centerpieces.

Which leads me to the entire inspiration of this post: my bestie is decorating her new house! Yay!

She has been trying to find a centerpiece for her dining room table, but she was having trouble making it look natural. She really wanted it to be balanced, but she was placing the objects in a very symmetrical way which was making her feel uneasy about the project. She asked me for some advice about how to make a centerpiece visually interesting and organic looking.

I thought I'd share what I told her!

By no means am I an expert, but I have spent a lot of time with my interior designer, Celeste. She has helped me on countless projects in my house and taught me a bunch of things along the way. It helps that I like to pick her brain constantly so that I can come up with my own ideas and stop paying her (I, of course, did not share my motivation with her). Most of this information is what I learned from speaking to her about projects (she is awesome and I love her) and most of the pictures are what I've done with the information she has given me and then a few inspirational pictures as well.

Basic Centerpiece Concepts:

Pieces that are grounded by some object-- a tray, a placemat, a table runner--- will give you boundaries so you know what you have to work with. For most people, this is the easiest way to create a visually appealing focal point.

Always remember function-- using trays as a place for your make up, perfume, or daily beauty supplies is perfect in the bathroom. It will make things look neat and less cluttered even if they are scattered around the tray.

To add interest, opt for objects that have varying height or place some objects on books, in a bowl, on a butcher block or other objects to create a height difference.

I really like odd numbers because I think they automatically look less contrived. So if you find three to five objects to put on your base then you will have a good foundation. They can be big or small depending on the space that you have, but always remember to think of function and not just how it will look.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Simple DIY Carpet Freshener and Deodorizer with Essential Oils

DIY carpet freshener #easy #greencleaning
I am obsessed about smell. It's bad. I used to have plug-ins in almost every outlet of my house, but then I found out that they really aren't healthy. Like at all. So, of course, I stopped using them, but now I'm worried about what people smell if they aren't bombarded by wonderful scents of cinnamon and fresh baked cookies.

If we are going to be honest then I should just say that I think I'm paranoid. I really believe that other people will smell something horrible that I simply have just have gotten used to. It's like oohhh... your house smells like vanilla and dog. What a wonderful combination!

Anyways, this has causes my house to be the headquarters of all my experiments. I've tried a million things from refilling old plug-ins with essential oils to using diffusers. Don't get me wrong-- I love all of that stuff, but neutralize odors is something they can't really do so well.

Hello ah-ha moment!!

I  have often use odor neutralizing carpet deodorizers to help stop the smell of pets on my carpets and that's when I had a thought: Hmmm.. what about putting baking soda on the rugs? It absorbs odors in the fridge so why wouldn't it work on the carpets?!!

And the Essential Oil blend Purification is amazing because not only does it purify and neutralize odors, but it also has oils that keeps bugs away! BONUS! It has lemongrass, rosemary, tea tree, myrtle, citronella, and lavandin. It's lovely. :)

Now I want to roll around on my carpets. Seriously, it smells so good! 

What You Need
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups of Baking Soda
  • 20-30 drops of Essential Oils (I recommend this brand)
  • Optional: 1/2 cup of fine salt
  • Jar with holes on top
Mix the ingredients in the jar, cover the holes and shake to mix the ingredients. Sprinkle it on the carpets and let it sit for at least 15- 30 minutes to absorb the odors then vacuum it up! 

It's that simple! The strong scent fades after a couple of hours, but the freshness stays and a mild scent lingers. I hope you like it as much as I do!  :)

Make a Jar
If you don't have a jar, then you can easily make one with a mason jar or re-purpose an old parmesan cheese container. I used card stock with a mason jar, but you could probably use a paper bag or a magazine cover if you don't have card stock. 

You simple remove the lid insert of the mason jar and use it to draw the outline of the size you need your cut out to be.

Make a shaker jar

Then use a hole punch to add the necessary escape route for your carpet freshener

DIY shaker jar

Essential Oils
If you don't want to use the essential oil blend Purification, then here are some other ideas for your scent:
  • Orange and Jasmine
  • Mint and Orange
  • Lavender and Frankincense
  • Grapefruit and Mint
  • Peppermint and Tea Tree
  • Lavender and Rose
If you want to learn more about essential oils please join my Facebook Group by filling out this form. You don't need any prior knowledge about essential oils to join or you could be an expert-- everyone is welcome! The goal is to learn, ask questions, discusses topics and find out how the oils are working for each other. 

I hope you like this easy idea!! I'd love to hear about your favorite essential oil combination for this recipe! 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

3 Ways to Clean Your Kitchen Naturally

3 ways to clean a kitchen naturally
Once a week I dedicate a day to cleaning my kitchen. It is kind of my sacred space and I think it deserves a little TLC every now and then. I do, of course, put it through a lot so this is my attempt to make up with it.

I like to keep it clean for a lot of reasons, but, as you may know, I don't like spending a lot of time cleaning (who does!). This has lead me to try to find the most efficient ways to maximize the cleaning outcome while decreasing the cleaning time.

I usually do a wipe down every night, but this week I didn't clean one thing. I mean no cleaning at all just to show you how awesome my DIY cleaners are. This actually took a lot from me because I live with a man who looovveess the microwave and actually cooks, too. You can use your imagination to fill in the rest.

But I did it! I survived! Barely. ;)


I admit I was a little happy today when I knew this was the day that my dirty kitchen would be clean again! It's the small things...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Paleo Chunky Monkey Muffins (Gluten Free). Yum!

Lately I've been on a health kick, but I still want my chocolate! Personally, I think chocolate should be part of the essential food groups. I mean, it has calcium, magnesium, releases endorphins and can aid in heart health. What more can you ask from a delicious little treat?

Gluten free chunky monkey muffins

Thursday, July 11, 2013

DIY Star-Burst Laundry Room Clothespin Wreath

Clothespin wreath for laundry roomThis was one of the most simple and cheapest craft projects I've done. It's as simple as clipping clothes pins onto wire and cost less than $8 to make. Win!!

The 12" wire hanger was $2.50 at Joann's Fabric and I spent $4 on clothes pins at the dollar store.

In total (including damaged pins) I used 138 clothes pins. I believe 6 were damaged, but I could be wrong.

The vinyl design I made with my silhouette machine, but honestly you could do anything! There are so many options!

This is so easy that I feel a little silly writing a tutorial on how to make it!

What You Need
Clothes pins
Wire Wreath Form (single or more depending on what you would like it to look like. I have 4 wire forms in this wreath, but I only used two)


Just clip them to the wires. This is what it looks like when you clip them all to one wire

DIY clothespin wreath

I decided to do another layer. Clip clip. Clip some more. 

clothespins crafts

Mine are all on two wires, but I just attached them alternating high and low to give it a star burst look.

This is what using two different wires looks like:

starburst wreath with clothespins

Personally, I think you could hang it up just like this, but you can embellish if you like. Add flowers, a banner, or whatever you like! Let your imagination run wild!!

I used my vinyl cutter and made a laundry room wall art piece to go in the center of the wreath.

So easy and cheap and it could even be functional! I love it!

Laundry room wreath

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Find Out How Safe Your Beauty Products Are!

As I have become more interested in leading a more natural and healthy lifestyle I have often wondered  how do these advertised "natural" products actually stack up especially compared to my old products. Is there even a difference?

I have found the tool to help me figure out just that!  It's from the Environmental Working Group and it's called the "Skin Deep Cosmetics Database".


It so easy to use! You simply type in a product name like a shampoo, conditioner or moisturizer and the database gives you whatever information it has about the product with a safety rating with easy to understand information.

For a demonstration I used my old favorite Shampoo-- Aveda Pure Abundance Shampoo. It cost around $40 for a large bottle and it was told it was 94% natural. Safe, right? Look at these screen shots:


It gives the product an average score of 5 (moderate toxicity) in the yellow bubble in the upper corner and then gives you a bar diagram as to how it does in relation to Overall Hazard (med), cancer (low), reproductive health risk (low), allergies (high) and use restrictions (high). They give you a summary in the box directly below as to why they received that score.

 If you scroll down they will be even more specific with their concerns and give each ingredient a score:


We can see that their fragrance is the most concerning as it has allergy properties, it's ecotoxic, can be an irritant, and can have organ system toxicity.

It lists the ingredients from most concerning to least concerning and gives you reasons why they rated it that way.


I also looked up the Kiss My Face Soap Bar that I reviewed last month and it got a green rating of 0. Yay! That makes me a lot more confident in using it as a natural replacement for soap.

You can also find some of my other recipes like my hair rinse (a natural substitute for conditioner), deodorant, facial cleaner and facial moisturizers. I have more recipes under the beauty/cleaning tab as well and some other natural products I've bought that I've reviewed (shampoo bar, toothpaste) under the review tab if you're interested.

I was really excited to find this! I hope you like it!
 
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