Thursday, July 31, 2014

Natural Products: Shampoo/Conditioner

So about two months ago we started going "clean" I like to call it.

No chemicals in household chemicals in beauty products.  I went hardcore...even got rid of the Teflon coated pans!

We made the switch we ran out of things we replaced them with all natural, chemical free, organic products.  I did a lot of research on different products hoping I would choose ones that we liked and that worked as well as the chemical-filled products.  We've had to do a little tweaking, like with laundry detergent, but for the most part it was an easy switch.

Shampoo and conditioner; however, is proving to be a tough one.

I'm currently using Hugo Naturals - Vanilla and Sweet Orange Volumizing shampoo and conditioner.  I ordered from and they were roughly $8.50 for each 12 fl oz size.

 My hair tends to be a tangled mess after showering so conditioner is an absolute MUST.  I don't shampoo regularly,  my typical daily routine consists of scrubbing all the dirt/product out of my hair with water then using conditioner.  I might shampoo twice a week, shampoo is just so bad for your hair, so a good conditioner is what I'm really searching for.

I researched what happens to your hair when you go chemical free and it can be a tough go at first.  There are some homemade "treatments" you can use to strip the silicone and toxin-garbage from your locks quickly and forgo that rough and unruly period of hair detox.  Since I color my hair (one chemical thing I will NEVER give up) and am not due for a touch-up for weeks, my colorist said NOT to use any of the baking soda treatments because it will also strip the color.  So I had to settle for the weeks of detox...and let's just say I've been wearing my hair up almost every day for two weeks.

It's now week three and Hugo just isn't doing the trick.  The shampoo is good...nice lather, pleasant light scent and the hubby likes it, but the conditioner on the other hand...I may as well not be using hair is so snarly and I end up pulling out so much trying to get the comb through it that I may be bald in another week.  On a good note, the conditioner is nice and creamy and smells amazing.

A friend recommended I ordered these today and I can't wait until they arrive.  They were a little pricier than Hugo coming in around $15.50 for each bottle (12 fl oz size) but, if the conditioner works, it'll be worth it.

Stay tuned...

Monday, July 28, 2014

WIP: Journals

I have four journals that are a work-in-progress...not sure how that happened, okay, maybe it's because I'm a hoarder saver.

This first journal is my 2014's basically all my instagram photos.  The journal itself is an old book that I altered.

I actually had too many photos just for the first half of 2014 that I've decided to do four books broken down by quarter...this book is first quarter (I'm a little behind) so it ends with March.

I've got the other three books ready to go...I just need to order my prints from for second quarter so I can get caught up!
This is my junk journal...I always have one going.  As soon as every nook and cranny is filled with junk I've kept from everyday life, I will start on a new one.
This is a sewn journal made entirely of various size patterned papers, newspapers, book pages, old envelopes, etc.  Anything I thought would work as a "page" was folded in half, then sewn down the middle.  Outside cover is brown kraft paper.  These simple and inexpensive handmade journals are my favorite.

You can see there's still plenty of room for little odds and ends, bits of papers and other goodies that I stumble upon daily.  Anything that I think is pretty, interesting or has neat graphic goes in here.
This is my "treasured things" journal made from an old book cover.  I took out the inside pages and added a three ring binder insert with patterned papers and other cardstock weight papers as the pages.
Only treasured things from my daily life make it in this journal...concert tickets, theatre tickets, business cards from my favorite people/shops, etc.   I started this journal three years ago and still have lots of space.

And this last journal is my "Explore Minnesota" smash book that turned into my summer bucket list journal.   It seems every summer, around mid-July, I get a little panicked because we haven't DONE anything and summer is almost this year I made a summer bucket list consisting of 23 things I'd like to do...we have 15 completed with a month to go!

 And the book is almost filled!
There's nothing I like more than filling a journal...except maybe ice cream!

Hope you're enjoying your summer!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Master Bath Remodel...

We're rehabbing our Master Bath.  Yippee!

We've come to a decision on who is going to do the work for us now I just need to decide on the shower tiles.  Not an easy decision when there are so many choices!

I like the small aqua squares above...but I also like these mermaid/fish scale type tiles below mixed with the patterned tiles on the base of the shower...Although, I have a feeling these tiles would be a little pricier than the small squares.

These are gorgeous!  They're called quatrefoil tiles and I can't find them for sale anywhere...again, probably really pricey..but sheesh, they're so pretty!

Benjamin Moore paint samples...I'm really liking "f"

Our vanity sits in a little alcove so will look very similar to this photo...I'm going to do the towel racks on either side but one large mirror (cause I'm too cheap to hire an electrician to convert our one light fixture to two light fixtures)

Target bath rug...

Home Depot double sink vanity...I'm not a marble person but this might have to do, I think I love it.

We hope to start on the project in late August.

I'll be sure to take a lot of before and after photos to show you...after that is the Hubby's man cave!

Note:  All photos are from pinterest and I tried my best to link back to the original source.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Information Overload...

Friday, June 21, 2014 continued...

I was on a mission to find out everything I could about Bradycardia.  My husband, coincidentally enough, has worked for Boston Scientific for over 17 years.  They're a manufacturer, developer and marketer of cardio medical devices, including pacemakers...the one thing that "cures" Bradycardia.  He came home from work that Friday with an armful of brochures and pamphlets given to him by the kind people that work in his Marketing Department.  And I cried, and cried, and cried.  And then I began the research...and thinking of ways in which I could break the news to my three children without scaring the sh*t out of them.

After I told the kids, the only other person I could tell was my dad...nobody else needed to know until I could figure out what to do, to process it all, to assure myself I'd be okay.  My hubby helped a lot too, with joking about it, like the morning I put a tank top on he said, "you know your pacemaker will show if you wear that"...that made me laugh.

I received a phone call late Friday afternoon from a nurse from the clinic to let me know my Vitamin D levels were extremely low.  She said the doctor recommends I begin taking 2000 I.U.'s of D3 immediately, funny thing is I told her during the exam I was taking 2000 I.U.'s of D3...guess she had better things to do than listen to me.  Another key thing to note is when the doctor first told me I had Bradycardia I asked her if my coming off a 21 day cleanse could have contributed to the problem, her answer was a definite "no".

In my research, I found that Vitamin D deficiencies can contribute to cardiovascular disease and even increase risk of death from cardiovascular disease (WebMD)...however, I'm not going to worry too much about the death part since I'm really showing no symptoms at this time.  I also started researching cleanses, fasting, "starvation mode" etc. to see what those do to your body.   I learned from reading "Clean" that everything seems to be linked in one way or another and I was sure that my Vitamin D deficiency and the cleanse had something to do with this diagnosis.

Before I tell you what I found, I do want to stress that a cleanse, if done CORRECTLY, can do wonders for your body.  I will certainly do the "Clean Program" cleanse again...however, I have learned from my mistakes the first time around!  I am a very picky eater and did not follow the cleanse rule of making sure my daily calorie intake remained "normal" during the 21 days.  There were certain things I could not stomach, like the plant-based protein I should have mixed into my morning smoothies.  I knew my calorie intake was reduced (and those calories consumed were being reduced further during my workouts) but I had no idea that I was starving myself causing my entire body to  s l o w   e v e r y t h i n g   d o w n.    I certainly did not feel hungry or deprived of anything, as a matter of fact, during the cleanse I felt better than I had in years, full of energy and just feeling great!  And, I only dropped four pounds during the 21 days so it was not until I started reading about the myth of "starvation mode" on the myfitnesspal website that I had that uh-ha moment.

I do want to share with you that my doctor NEVER called me with the results of my EKG.  I ended up calling a week after the test was done...the lab blamed it on the doctor, the doctor blamed it on the administration, yadda, yadda, yadda.  They told me they would get the doctor to look at it and call me that afternoon...the nurse did...and she said:  "you have Bradycardia"..."do you have chest pains",  "do you have shortness of breath", "do you have dizzy spells" though they had never seen me or asked me those exact questions the day of my I sort of gave her a piece of my mind and let her know how disappointed and disheartened I was by the impersonal treatment I received from them.  I'm now looking for a holistic-type "wellness" doctor who might be a little more concerned with me as a human being and less concerned with shuffling patients through the office like cattle, collecting money and writing prescriptions along  the way.

These days I'm working very hard to rid myself of Bradycardia, I'm convinced that I can get my resting rate up to at least 60...that would thrill me beyond belief.  Perhaps I will never get rid of the disease, maybe I'm in denial and using my vitamin D deficiency and low calorie intake during my cleanse as excuses because those are things that can be corrected...or maybe I will never show symptoms and can live the rest of my life being able to wear a tank top..only time will tell.

I take my pulse daily, both at rest and during workouts.  Today, my resting rate was 54 and right after my three mile morning run it was 154.

That makes me happy.

Monday, July 21, 2014


Note:  I finally got an iPhone in December 2013 and immediately got hooked on my blogging stopped.  It was Instagram all the time.

In April, 2014, I became interested in living a healthier, toxic free/chemical free lifestyle.  I was tired of being tired all the time, I was tired on not being able to think of words and I was tired of the dark circles under my eyes...I was hoping to find a way to manage my Hypothyroidism "naturally" instead of with prescription medication and I just wanted to feel better in both mind and body.  Time to break my Diet Dr. Pepper addiction.  It was time for a body Detox.

I happened upon a book while visiting a home decorating blog (of all places), the book was simply titled "Clean" and was written by someone I now (half jokingly) refer to as my "boyfriend", Dr. Alejandro Junger.  I immediately bought the book, I mean I got right in the car, drove to Barnes and Noble and bought the book.  Couldn't put it down...earmarked it, highlighted it and covered it with post-its.  I learned so much about my body and how things trigger other things and how chemicals and toxins prevent your body from working correctly...I decided to do his "cleanse" for 21 days (yes, 21 days.)

After the cleanse, I made an appointment with my doctor for a full, fasting physical exam, complete with blood work for vitamin deficiencies, hemoglobin, cholesterol, etc.  I wanted to find out what wasn't "right" and what more needed to be "fixed" after the detox cleanse.  This was the start of all the life-changing events that I now want to share with anyone who's interested, who might be going through something similar, who wants to know about "natural" products I've tried or am trying and who might get some inspiration from this blog.

On Friday, June 20, 2014, I saw a new doctor (my regular doctor decided not to return from her maternity leave, can't say I blame her.) I ended up having to plead my case to this doctor to have her approve a lab order to check my Vitamin D (possible cause of my tiredness and other problems per my "boyfriend"), she was very reluctant but finally gave approval.  After the physical, I was waiting in the exam room for paperwork before heading to the lab, the doctor came back in, a little alarmed, to tell me that my pulse was only 49 and that I have Bradycardia.  What?  Bradywhat?  (I think my heart rate increased right then!)

She explained that a normal heart rate is between 60 and 80 beats per minute, mine was only 49. She said that only extremely conditioned athletes have rates this low (insinuating that type of person was NOT me) then asked if I had chest pain, shortness of breath, tingling in my arms..."no" to all of that.  She immediately sent me to the lab to get my blood work and for an EKG.  What the hell is happening?  I was panicked to say the least...but that was it, she drops that bomb on me, gives me a 1/2 page printout on Bradywhatever, pats my head and sends me on my way.

I managed to hold back the flood gate of tears while heading down to the I am, a 46 year old mother of three with no history of health problems (aside from Hypothyroidism)..I've always been athletic and in good physical shape and I have a heart problem?  What? Why? How?

After the EKG, which showed my heart at 47, the lab technician told me the doctor will read the results and get back to me.

That was it.

Nobody said anything else to me.

I got in my car, called my husband and the flood gates opened.  I have Bradycardia.