Friday, February 18, 2011

What is a new outdoor activity you can try this spring summer?

Anyone who has been living in a cold climate the past few months is most likely itching to get outdoors. Sometimes it is hard to get motivated though, when you just can't think of what you want to do. Here are some ideas from free- cheap to get you out and moving! Not only will you get extra quality time with your family, you'll burn calories and get some much needed vitamin D. Don't see one of your favorite activities on the list? Add it in the comments below or e-mail me at

Mow the yard. Not your idea of a spectacular spring day? CLICK THIS FUN LITTLE GADGET to see an estimate of just how many calories you will burn! Not only will your neighbors (and yard!) thank you, that shiny new bathing suit wont look near as intimidating!

Play Tennis. Feeling far from a pro? When I play tennis I look like an accident. But boy is it fun! This game is very versatile because many courts are lit at dawn/dusk which gives you a lot more flexibility on play time. Using the rain as an excuse to miss a match? Head to your local community center to play indoors! CLICK HERE to compute calories burned. Looks like I'll burn about 400 calories in an hour long game. Look out Serena!

Shoot some Hoops. Never an excuse not to play basketball. Feeling slow and heavy? You sound perfect to play center! Tired? The adrenaline of 1 on 1 (or even horse) is sure to get your blood pumping. Much like tennis, there are no shortages of courts (indoor and outdoor) in most cities. Having a hard time getting a court to yourself? See if you can join in a pick up game, that will push you even harder to play your best, and to play hard! CLICK HERE to see the difference in calories burned between shooting baskets, playing a game, or officiating! Guaranteed they're all more than calories burned sitting still. By the time you get done jumping and stretching to block shots, not to mention sprinting to get rebounds and catch passes, you'll be the flyest guy or gal at the pool :)

Play Volleyball. This is a great "intro" sport for the self-proclaimed non athlete. There's little to no running and it's a team sport. Don't have a whole team together? You and a pal can hone in on your skills as you practice bumping, setting, and spiking together. No pal? Practice against the side of your house (or the house of an ex you are trying to annoy!) Before you know it your legs will be toned from crouching, and your arms in show condition! CLICK HERE to input your weight, alloted time frame and see just how skinny your little body is going to get!

Take a Walk. For the love of all that is exercise, if you do nothing else, please start with walking. No need to Forest Gump it across the nation, just start where you can, doing what you can. This doesn't mean refrain from pushing yourself, just start with a goal that you can accomplish and that will encourage you to continue. Find a landmark near your house that would be a huge goal for you to meet. Drive  by one day and see just how far it is. Make that your "final walk" in a month, 6 months, or a year. Take the distance, and break it down into attainable goals (i.e. 6 mile mark? If you're shooting for a 6 mile walk in 6 months, start with a mile, and add a mile every month). Goals are a critical part of anything worth accomplishing. For $1 you can purchase a pedometer to tell you just how far you've gone, how many calories you've burned, etc. Many phones now a days have an "app for that" with even more details.

You may be thinking, wow, those weren't very creative, everyone knows about those sports. And it's true, I have, of course, listed a very limited amount of things you can do as it starts to warm up outdoors. The important thing is, start somewhere. Ride a bike or try canoeing. Don't like traditional exercise? Sign up for a dance class, or take horse back riding lessons. If you are learning something new, you may be more inclined to stick with it. If you are a group person, check out any community/local magazine that are filled with co-ed groups and teams in just about anything (from ultimate Frisbee to dog walking). There is an accountability that comes with someone knowing you didn't show up one day, or letting your team down. The bottom line is, there is literally some type of exercise for everyone (stroller fitness class for Mom's anyone?) Find it, get into it, and love it. Make it the favorite part of your day. If you throw yourself (and heart) into it, you may be shocked at just what an athlete you are! Remember, regardless of whether or not you're signing autographs as you walk off of the courts, getting, and staying fit, is one of the greatest gifts in the world, and only you can give it to yourself and your family!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds.  A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.  
~William James

William James. Looks like a reaaal jokester!

Review on Crystal Body Deodorant Spray

Other than the fact that this has no aluminum (which is great!) I loved the fact that this was a spray! It's tough to apply if you already have a shirt on (and can make the pits of your shirt look like you've already had a long hard workout) but if you apply before getting dressed, and after giving it a second to breathe, it's easy, fresh feeling, and smells nice! This deodorant worked for me if I was sitting around the house, but once I got up and moving "re-apply, re-apply" was the name of the game. I loved that it wasn't one of those hard crystals that you add water to, but it just didn't seem strong enough. I give this one a thumbs up for effort, but a slightly down facing thumb for quality. If you used it just as a body spray and did not substitute it for your deodorant, I think it would do the job fine!

A review on Alba Coconut Milk Face wash

Again, I had high hopes for this one. When I read "coconut milk" I immediately thought "moisturizing.' The texture of this is fairly creamy, but for some reason it is still hard to spread? I found it takes several pumps to evenly cover my face, so the texture isn't unbearable, just a bit of a hassle. Other than the texture, I wasn't crazy about how it made my skin feel. It actually causes my skin to get a little blotchy after use, and is incredibly drying. It is possible that I am allergic to an ingredient, but it still seemed odd to me. If nothing else, you would think coconut milk wash would be moisturizing :(

A review on Zum Face Wash

Don't waste your money! Unfortunately, this face wash is not everything I had hoped it would be. It is incredibly thin, which makes it very hard to spread on your face. To get it on your face you kind of have to pump it into your hand, close your eyes, and attempt to slap it on your face before the wash slips through your fingers. In doing this, I managed to get it into my eyes (and with ingredients like lemon, it was a nightmare). That day marked my last day of use. Other than the poor texture quality, it dried out my face like craaazy. Overall, this one is a no go in my book.

What I will be making next... Hair wash!

CLICK HERE to view where I got the recipe, and detailed descriptions about why they recommend staying away from traditional shampoos. She also explains why you should use these ingredients, and answers questions about why it may not be working for you right away.

Here are the basic ingredients/instructions :

Use one tablespoon of baking soda per one cup of warm or hot water. You can double or triple the recipe if you have very, very long or thick hair. But do not use more baking soda, your hair will become hard, dry or feel brittle if you use too much. You can put this mix in a recycled shampoo bottle, and apply to your hair with warm water.

The mix should not feel gritty, and should be a liquid. If you have very short or thick hair, you may find it easier to make a paste with a tablespoon of baking soda (or less) and sprinkle it over very wet hair and massage in. Otherwise, spray or pour the mixture onto your hair and work it in. Let it sit about a minute, and then rinse. I personally find it easiest to make a liquidy paste in the palm of my hand with about half a tablespoon, and then sprinkle and massage into dripping wet hair. I have very short hair, so I use less. Experiment and see what works best for you, there are no official rules.

For a typical rinse, make up a solution of one to two tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) per cup of water. Apply to wet hair, massage into scalp and rinse off with cold water. Please note, you don't always have to apply a rinse with every wash! I personally find I only need to do a rinse every 2-3 washes.

From what I gather, this is a two-part wash. I am not sure if you are supposed to use it as a substitute for shampoo AND conditioner, or just shampoo? If anyone has any insight on this before I make and use this product (starting 3/1/11) please let me know! Thanks!

First thoughts on making Deodorant

Made deodorant on right and left. Please note: I do make an attempt to not "pretty up" the products I make, or pictures I take. I want it to be portrayed as "real" as possible. I could have spent more time perfectly arching my mounds of deodorant but that would not have been realistic to how I normally make things (the quickest and easiest way!)

Parts and Price:
(All Purchased at Whole Foods)
1 container Baking Soda= I already owned, but let's call it $2.00
1 jar Virgin Unrefined Coconut Oil= caught a brand on sale for $5.99
Organic Cornstarch= $2.69
Organic Tea Tree Oil= $5.99
2 Deodorant conatiners= $0.00 we had a couple of old ones laying around.
Total Cost: approx $17.00 for all ingredients. 

*One batch easily made 2 deodorant sticks. Also, this recipe did not make a dent in any of the ingredients. Once purchased, all could be used again MANY more times (or for multiple other uses).*

The Process:
Very easy to make. No boiling, no blending, just mix up the ingredients, pack them in an empty deodorant container and you're done! The one thing I learned quickly while making this was: DO NOT USE YOUR HANDS TO MIX OR PAT. The coconut oil immediately turns to liquid upon contact with the warmth of your skin. As I started mixing with my hands, I noticed that were instantly coated in all of the ingredients, and little remained in the bowl. Use a spoon! Also, I was a bit dismayed that mine never turned into a paste. The instructions call for 2+ tablespoons of coconut oil until pasty, and I ended up using about 4-5 tablespoons before I realized mine just wasn't going to change in texture. I wondered if I had put the coconut oil in a heat bath (not actually touching the hot water, but setting in a glass bowl in the bath), if it would have mixed better with the other 3 ingredients? That being said, I decided to see how my sticky powder held up being put into the deodorant container. Again, I would recommended using a spoon to scoop and pack it in there. Surprisingly, it packed quite well, sticking and holding together nicely. It looked exactly like something you would buy at the store.

How hard the coconut oil was to mix in. Also, you would have to pack this deodorant in a cooler if you were planning on taking it with you while traveling (to prevent melting). Lastly, if you don't own any of the ingredients initially, $17 makes for 2 expensive deodorants.

This is a recipe you have to look at more as an investment. If you decide to continue making deodorant with these ingredients, you will clearly end up saving money, specifically by your third batch. (assuming you are buying 2 deodorants at $3 each). You could easily half the recipe if you are only looking to make 1 deodorant at a time. Finally, no aluminum, or hard to pronounce ingredients in this deodorant!

No comments yet, as the instructions advise you let it set 1-2 days before use (I am going to be chomping at the bit to try it!) I will take this time though to talk about my first experience with coconut oil. It TOTALLY won me over while making this. Yes, it was a bugger to try and mix in with the other ingredients, but it feels so stinkin luxurious on your skin. I have attempted using a few different oil on my dry skin (and I do mean dry) but I always have a hard time getting them to spread. Coconut oil spreads wonderfully. Depending how much you apply, it can initially feel almost greasy immediately after application. Literally within seconds, however, it dissolves nicely into your skin leaving it baby soft and smooth. I also thought it was cool how it transformed from a solid to liquid. It makes it incredibly easy and nice to rub in.

I got so excited I chased my family members down looking for any visible dry spots. "OK, we get it" my Husband said after being covered without warning in the oil (you have to apply it quickly once in your hand because of the melting). "C'mon, just let me try it on your knuckles or something" I protested. "You could rub it into my feet?" he kindly suggested, at which point I lost interest. I did rub it into my own feet though, then pulled my socks back on to create some insulation. "If this works," I declared to an uninterested audience, "I will never use anything else." Not all of my audience was disinterested, I sat on the couch with my legs bent in a frog-like position attempting to keep my dog from licking my feet as I applied. It was one of those "what would someone think if they walked in now?" moments. I am hoping I am equally as pleased with the deodorant!

Displaying the difference in coconut oil's texture when cool (on spoon) and warm (on finger)

Final Reviews on All Purpose Cleaner

Picture from Zombie Lace

CLICK HERE to see my review on price, products, and process while making the all purpose cleaner.

My final thoughts:
Cons- The vinegar. Granted, I am pregnant, so almost every smell is overpowering to my bloodhound schnoz... taking that into account, the vinegar smell bothered me. I barely noticed it when "spot cleaning" (using little sprays here and there to wipe up a mess) but when I did some heavy duty cleaning with it Friday (testing it on every surface to see just how "all purpose" it was) I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I should throw on an Easter Sunday appropriate dress to finish scrubbing down the shower. Other than the vinegar smell, I noticed that the cleaner left a film on some surfaces (i.e. glass and wood). It is very necessary to clean with circular motions while using this cleaner on most surfaces, mostly because you have to really rub it in to prevent streaking.

Pros- The first thing I have to brag on with this cleaner is that it really works! It got put to the test in my home almost immediately. My 18 month old had a pen explode in her hand and in an attempt to get clean, wiped her hands all over the bathroom. From the toilet, to the cabinets, to the walls, and door our bathroom looked like that blueberry chick from Willy Wonka exploded. I knew I would have to act fast, so I grabbed the first thing I could reach (which happened to be my little homemade cleaner) and put it to the test. It IMMEDIATELY got the pen out of the vanity, cabinet doors (faux wood), door, and toilet. It also easily pulled the ink out of the tile floor. The only place it did not work instantly was the door frame. I was immediately sold. I then fell in love all over again as I stopped mid-scrub to see that my project manager (the aforementioned 18 month old) had picked the cleaner up while my back was turned and stuck it in her mouth. I went to grab it out of her mouth, but I didn't have to, apparently the taste of vinegar works even quicker than Mommy. My first thought was "wow, what if that had been bleach or some other chemical cleaner?" I am in NO WAY condoning giving your child this cleaner as a lollipop, but I was instantly reminded how important it is to rid my house of chemicals and toxins. As I am learning, there really is no need for them. While the cleaner worked wonderfully in my kitchen, I still reverted to my Lysol wipes for areas that were near or touched by raw meat. I wasn't sure of the disinfectant powers that this cleaner had. Upon further research, I found these articles (CLICK HERE and HERE to read) which gave me a little more clarity. Anyone who has further information on this fact, please share!

Overall- I would recommend this cleaner. I think recommending it as an "all purpose/surface" cleaner may be stretching it's capabilities a bit, but I think "most purposes/surfaces" cleaner would be an accurate description. It is ridiculously cheap, ridiculously easy to make, and mostly effective... what more is there to say?!? It's a great cleaner to have on hand and feel safe about. You can clean highchair trays, plastic toys, counter-tops, most bathroom fixtures, and most "non-wood" and "non-glass" surfaces spectacularly. Plus, I get the feeling it's going to last forever. 1-10 this product gets an 8.5 from me.

*Have you made/used this cleaner? Will you? Do you have a cleaner you have made and love, or do you remember one your parent or grandparent used to use? Please share! Comment below or e-mail me at "Subscribe via e-mail" to receive updates whenever a new product is made. Thanks!!*