donating, hygiene

A Change

It might be something of a superficial change, but it feels great!

I chopped off all my hair the other day.

It wasn’t a huge deal because I’ve done it twice before. The first time I went from waist-length hair to an inverted bob that barely grazed my shoulders. I was hooked, so I kept getting it cut shorter and shorter over the next few months until I had a pixie. A few years later, I let the pixie grow out because my son was a newborn and I had no time or desire to get my hair cut. By the time it was back to my shoulders, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I went back to the pixie.

I remember talking with a friend who had also recently gone from having long hair her whole life to a pixie. We agreed that we both felt more like ourselves now, and couldn’t imagine having long hair again.

But I would see gorgeous long hair and miss mine. I let my pixie grow out again. I wanted to be able to put my hair in buns and ponytails. But why grow hair long just to pull it back? I hated how long my hair took to dry, and how quickly it would look greasy, even if it felt fine. I had a schedule of when to wash my hair, and therefore when to do sweaty chores like yard work. Rain on a day I was supposed to mow the lawn would anger me because it threw off my hair-washing schedule.

Yeah, I know it was ridiculous. And pointless. So I gave it up.

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My hair is super thick so it looks like a lot, but apparently it was still long enough to donate!

Now I can take a quick shower in the mornings and wash my hair and have it dry before I get to work. I can do yard work whenever it’s nice out and not fret about how much time and effort I wasted washing my hair. Hopefully this will also help conserve water, but I haven’t really been keeping track of that yet.

Regardless, I am excited to feel like myself again – cute, low maintenance pixie cut, lighter head, and all!

home life, hygiene, money, natural living

Changing Your Focus

I previously wrote about Finding Your Focus, mentioning that right now my family was focused on money. It’s tax season, we’re taking a good hard look at our financials, so it just makes sense.

I feel all over the place right now as I find my footing with my new work-from-home life, and that is definitely reflected in this blog. Because right now, I feel like our focus should be finding the products that are best for our family.

We recently switched from Crest or Colgate toothpastes (whatever was cheapest in a 2 pack) to Tom’s of Maine. Now we love our Tom’s toothpaste, so I’m keeping track of how long one tube lasts us – me, my husband, and the 8 year old use the adult mint toothpaste. My 3 year old uses the kids’ fruit-flavored toothpaste and loves it, but of course it will last longer with just him using it.

The point is, we all love this toothpaste now, so it will be worth the expense, even if it’s not as cheap as another brand’s 2 pack. So we’re not saving green by buying this, but we’re using a natural product which is healthier for our family, and Tom’s offers recycling options for something that isn’t usually recyclable. That’s worth it to me, because I’d rather use a sensible product and dispose of it properly instead of buy something cheap, use it, and throw it in the landfill.

We are taking our time while we look at other products we use, trying to make good choices for what we use often. I’ll have to get into our kitchen and food situation another time, since it is always a work in progress. But switching toothpaste is a good start, and I have already switched to Tom’s of Maine deodorant. We drink Equal Exchange coffee because it is fair trade. My friend Victoria has some great information and resources about fair trade products, which we’ll also explore later. For us, it’s definitely worth finding quality, environmentally-friendly products and maybe spending a little more money, but getting more out of your investment in the long run.

How do you feel about spending more for something natural, fair trade, or made locally?

home life, hygiene

Brusha Brusha Brusha: Trying Tom’s of Maine Toothpaste

It seems like I’ve been focused on toothpaste lately, so that’s where I’ll start.

We ran out of toothpaste a week or two ago. I mentioned we were using up my old travel tubes – old, but still good. They did the trick.

But we were almost out of those, too, so while I was at the store I picked up a tube of Tom’s of Maine Simply White. I know Tom’s is natural, but I’ve never used any of these products. Since we just needed a tube to hold us over until our subscription box* arrived, I wanted to give it a shot.

I brought it home and labeled it with the date, because I want to start taking note of how long things last us. This is our first year as a family of four, and my son is getting older and using regular products instead of baby items, so I have no clue how long dish soap, toothpaste, toilet paper, and others will last.

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I was excited to try Tom’s, and brushed my teeth pretty soon after I got home and got that bad boy labeled. I squeezed it onto my toothbrush and… yuck! I thought it was so gross – and I say this as someone who used to brush with baking soda only! The faint hint of mint really ruined it for me.

I’ve been using it for six days now, and it’s really grown on me. I guess since I’ve previously used just baking soda, I adapted easily. I feel like it gets my teeth much cleaner, also. Especially in the morning – I wake up with no gunky feeling on my teeth!

After considering the overall taste and benefits of my short experience with Tom’s, my mind went to packaging. I recycled the box after opening it, but the tube, of course… The tube! I always throw away toothpaste tubes; never really thought about it, since there is always stubborn toothpaste left inside.

I looked it up and found that Tom’s actually does recycle their tubes – you can sign up for free, ship your natural product containers to them, and have them recycled. They are recycled through Terracycle, and you earn points for what you ship, which can then be donated to charity (or redeemed for other things, but let’s keep the cycle of good going here). This is definitely something I’m going to look into, because it greatly affects what products I buy from now on.

I really hope I can get my whole family on board with this toothpaste. My husband has used it before and disliked it, but maybe he can adapt like I did. My 3.5 year old has used it twice, but said it was “too spicy”. He’s said that about kid’s toothpaste before, so I thought this lighter mint flavor would help, but maybe not. I’m going to keep trying it to see if he gets used to it, because he is very adaptable. I would like the whole family to be using the same product.

That being said, our subscription box includes a six pack of Crest toothpaste, which I imagine will taste very chemical-y to me after my Tom’s experience. The older boys (my husband and 8 year old stepson) are not as into natural living as I am, so I have a feeling they will want to stick with mainstream toothpastes.

I’ll report back with any updates to our toothpaste experiences. Next up: the perfect toothbrush!

 

* I’ll share our subscription box information and my thoughts on that whole deal, soon.