10 things I have stopped using.

I wanted to share a few products I stopped using a few years ago to inspire people to question what exactly they are bringing into their houses and putting on their skin. Thanks to great marketing from the creators of these products, I used to feel that my house, my cleaning routine, and my beauty regimen was incomplete without these products . I can honestly say I do not miss them. Some of them may have been convenient, but their impact on landfill waste or just how toxic they actually are did not make them worth it to me.

Perfume : I used to be all about body sprays and scented items when I was younger. But they always made my skin feel dry and itchy. Once I became aware of the toxic ingredients in most perfumes I stopped purchasing them. Every so once in a while I’ll make myself a spray using essential oils but I never remember to use it  so it’s rare.

Antiperspirant:  Your body is supposed to sweat. Anything that stops you from sweating clogs your pores, which is dangerous because your body releases toxins in sweat. I use the Herban Cowboy deodorant sometimes, but mostly nothing.

Conventional menstrual products: I’ve written about my experiences with menstrual products here. But other than postpartum, I prefer cloth pads because they are much more comfortable.

Shaving cream: Coconut oil or soap is a much friendlier, gentler, less wasteful way to shave if you choose to.

Air freshener/febreeze : Nasty, harmful air fresheners and fabric fresheners have been replaced with an essential oil mix in my house. A spray bottle or mister with water or witchhazel and your favorite EO is a great replacement.

Underwire bras: This one was hard because we all love the shape that underwire gives, but we never discuss the discomfort and health risks it has. I try to only wear tank tops and soft bras or nothing.

Fabric softener or dryer sheets: Also laden with toxins, I either use nothing, or my wool dryer ball sheets. Unfortunately, my dog Stanley thinks the balls are his toys and they somehow always end up going missing.

Stanley, the wool dryer ball thief

Lip Balm in Plastic Tubes : This has been such a fun switch for me. I detest chapped lips and always have to  have a lip balm near me. My friends over at TheEcoBaby.Co have lip balms in compostable tubes and my problem has been solved. The code HILLBILL10 will give you 10% off and free shipping from this plastic free store.

Shower Gel : Wasteful plastic packaging. I use an unpackaged bar soap I get from my local health store and it is much better for me.

Paper Towels : More unnecessary landfill waste. I use cloth napkins instead and  throw them in the was as I go.

I hope this inspires you to get a little more free.

Peace,

Farai

 

Soul Slings Meh Dai Review

If you don’t know this already, I am a huge fan of babywearing.  With baby wearing, I was able to bring my babe to work with me for 6 months and also maintain my sanity at home when I needed to get stuff done. I am on the path to get certified as a baby wearing educator and was looking to try out different carriers. I was really excited when I found out about the Soul Sling Meh Dai because even though its a soft structured carrier, it has these amazing hybrid wrap straps which allowed me to try out different finishes and practice before I started learning woven wraps. I reached out to Soul Slings and they were gracious enough to let me host a carrier for 2 weeks. We had blast using it and took the carrier on lots of walks, errands and just around the house to test it out.

IMG_4075

The carrier is made of linen and is super breathable and great feeling. I was able to carry my 21 lbs, 11 month old  with ease and wiggle around for a few nursing sessions and naps.I will say that the head rest ties are hard finagle when baby falls asleep on you but we figured it out and I loved the overall feel and look of the carrier.

I was excited to work with Soul Slings because it was started by a fellow cloth diapering, attachment parenting, baby wearing family of color in India. I love working with fellow POC all day everyday!

The hybrid wrap straps on the carrier were padded and super comfortable and stayed comfortable on my 3 mile lake walks.

 

 It’s also daddy dancing baby wearing approved . 🕺🏽🕺🏽🕺🏽

​  Thank you to Soul Slings for letting me try out this gorgeous carrier. 
Peace,

Farai

 

The Benefits of Using a Clothesline

I never had a dryer growing up. I never knew that I needed it. We used a machine or our hands to get our clothes clean, then we took them outside still dripping and hung them in the bright sunshine. I’ve been looking to recreate the peace that came with doing such a simple task now that I am a homeowner and I am happy to say I have my own clothesline courtesy of my spouse.  Read more about why I love them over at my guest post on the Black Women Do Cloth Diaper blog.

Peace.

Farai

 

 

 

My First Year Baby Essentials

I’ve been a mom for almost a YEAR now. Holy crap. It’s been amazingly fulfilling and challenging. My daughter is growing into a smart, beautiful, hilarious ham and I am so glad I get to be her mom.

I thought I’d share some products, services, themes and advice on what got me through this first year of motherhood.

 

DSC_0363.JPG

Thandiwe and her fur brother Duke (my middle baby)

Mind

Therapy – I started seeing a therapist a few weeks after she was born to get a handle of my PPA, and PPOCD. It was amazing to have a professional assure me that I was not alone and that other mom’s went through what I was going through.

Baby bookworms – A free book club for infants at my local library that introduces literacy. It was a perfect FREE excuse to get out of the house and be around other parents and babies.

Minimalism – I have written about this before here but minimalism freed my house and mind of clutter. I only allow items that are useful or bring me joy in to my house. That goes for Thandie’s clothes and toys too. I have a clear idea of what I want for her (the strict african mom in me dances with joy) so If she is gifted something that does not fit then it gets passed on to another kid who may enjoy it better.

Lactation Consultant – Thandiwe spent the first 9 days of her life in the NICU and I had to pump every  2-3 hours so she could be bottle fed. When she came home, we struggled to latch. Without the help of Gale, the amazing lactation consultant from the hospital and her continued support and encouragement I think our breastfeeding journey would look a lot different.

Body

Toy and Clothing Rotation – This has been an amazing money saver for my friends and I. Thandie gets hand me down toys and clothes from my friends kids that have outgrown their stuff and she passes them on to my friends with younger kids when she has outgrown them too. I rotate her toys around weekly so she has something different to play with often.

Buying used – Kids are gross. Thandiwe is almost always covered in cantaloupe stains (she’s obsessed with cantaloupe) . My parents encouraged lots of outside play and I was a filthy kid too, which makes me a big fan of letting her be outside and exploring. My head would explode if her brand new items got holes and stains on them too. Buying used toys and clothes when you can-is better for the environment and my wallet. Her summer wardrobe for this year was almost completely second hand and free except for a few new gifts.

17757297_10155055564391000_4740321195185640526_n

Me being a filthy kid. Check out my cool sagging cloth diaper lol

Baby wearing – Ive written about my love for babywearing and its benefits before here.  I had Thandiwe at work with me for 6 months before I became a SAHM. My lillebaby  carrier was a life saver. Now that she is older I am excited to try out different carriers.

Baby wed leaning – I had this beautiful vision of me feeding my baby pureed organic foods that I made myself. She quickly squashed that by refusing all pureed foods. She only wanted what was on my plate. I learned about baby led weaning and started giving her soft hand held vegetables and fruits that she could eat when she wanted at meal time and she has been happy as a clam ever since. She loves cucumber, potato, broccoli, melons, and apples.

Mango butter – The main component of my handmade diaper cream. I love a good multi-use product.  I buy mango butter in bulk and make diaper cream, body lotion and hair moisturizer for my family. I use different essential oils to tailor the butter for its different uses.

Chewelry – Chewable jewelry made of silicone or wood are great to have around if you baby wear or breastfeed. It is entertaining for little twiddling hands to explore and to soothe little teething gums. I have a coupon for 20% off some cute pieces from Okrosh etsy store if you are interested in investing in some pieces for your wardrobe. The code is HILBILL20

Cloth diapering and wipes – We’ve been cloth diapering since Thandie was 1 month old. I was cloth diapered and I knew it was something I wanted to do so save money and reduce my contribution to landfill waste. My favorite diapering system is pocket diapers followed my covers. Learn more about different types of cloth diapering options here.

Envelope System – I am a fan of the envelope system for keeping things organized. It allowed me to keep my diaper bag/purse in order. My diaper bag was very minimal. One pouch had her wipes, cream, diapers and wetbag, another -my wallet, keys and lip balm. Id use the pockets to keep a water bottle and some toys for her and that was it.

Honorable mentions

Daniel Tiger – Shout out  to PBS for producing sweet, educational content. Daniel Tiger has provided many a distraction while I attempt to manage Thandiwe’s thick curls and his catchy songs have brought many smiles to her face.

15541128_10154732536926000_3173150854069186757_n

Thandiwe loves Daniel Tiger

Lullaby renditions of Rihanna has brought on many naps for which I am ever so grateful.

Discovery Center and other free programs – It is so fun to watch my little one engage with toys and other kids. Free programs and places like splash parks and drum circles are a great way to socialize your kiddo.

BWI – My local chapter of Baby wearing international was a great help in teaching me how to safely use and try out different characters as well as meet parents with kiddos of similar ages.

Podcasts – For keeping me company and making me laugh and cry.

Online communties – For advice about cloth diapering, to breastfeeding and meeting kindred spirits.

I hope you find a simple system that works for you and your littles.

Peace,

Farai

 

10 Ways You Can Become A Part of Your Community

 

Humans need interaction with each other. Whether you’re an introvert, extrovert,or ambivert such as myself, we all need to get together and enjoy the presence of other humans for our sanity and well being. As spring is upon us, the phrase “bloom where planted” has been on my mind. Today, I wanted to share a few different ways you can get out there and be a part of your community and maybe reduce your carbon footprint a wee bit.

  1. Volunteer: Whether its at your local soup kitchen, homeless shelter, a reading to kids program or even a nursing home, get out there and volunteer. Find something that appeals to you and go do it. Its a great way to meet people, have some amazing conversations and give yourself the warm fuzzies inside.
  2. Patron Local Spots: Ditch the big companies and spend your money at local coffee shops, book stores and restaurants. Its a fact (I just made this fact up…but trust me) that local spots are great for people watching and great conversation. Plus there is the added bonus of stimulating your local economy and supporting small businesses.
  3. Ditch Amusement Parks for State Parks: Big amusement parks are fun. They are also expensive and crazy busy. State Parks are a fraction of the price, have fun activities,and give you a chance to be up close and personal with native fauna and flora. Camping is a fun way to meet new people and bond with the people in your life. Buy your camping gear second hand or borrow it to cut the costs.
  4. Host a clothing swap: This is especially a good idea as the seasons change and you are looking for a new wardrobe. Host a free clothing swap among friends and add some new to you pieces to your wardrobe for FREE. Its good for your wallet and the environment.
  5. Take a class: Places like community centers, libraries, and community colleges are great places to learn something new and meet like minded people. Whether its belly dancing, archery or composting there is always something new to learn.
  6. Go to community events: Food truck festivals, Pride parades, and city council meetings are great ways to get involved in your community.
  7. Carpool or ride a bike: Carpooling to work and different events are a great way to save on gas. If you can, riding a bike is an even better way to get places too. If you don’t already have one, get a bike second-hand from local buy/sell/trade group or from a local cycle project so you can save money. Remember, to always wear a helmet.
  8. Cook: Learn how to cook if you don’t know how to. The act of cooking for yourself and others may seem paltry but it is an amazing privilege that we take for granted when so many people go hungry worldwide. Be mindful, meal plan and prepare food that’s good for your body and share a meal with people you want to connect with.
  9. Create or admin a freecycle group or free items group on facebook for your community: I love the idea of a community that shares and barters for things that they need. Sometimes you may want to part ways with something that is in good condition that you don’t need anymore, online give groups are a way to pay it forward and find items you may need yourself.
  10. Visit your local farmers market: Talk to farmers and learn about where your food comes from. Better yet, if your county allows,  start a community garden.

Connecting with people, hearing their stories and sharing mine is integral to my experience on this earth. One of my most favorite online communities is blackminimalists.net . I’ve been working with 4 other brilliant women and our amazing contributors to bring publish an ebook and start an online community. It launches May 1st. I hope you can check it out.

Peace.

Farai

 

 

 

Curly pro-tips

My natural hair plays a big role in my path to living a more eco-conscious lifestyle.Going natural is what started it all.  I have been accosted enough times in the natural hair section of Target to know that its a big deal to other moms and women out there. After being natural for 9 years, here are my pro-tips that make my life a lot easier.

Hair is just hair – I have shaved it all off, braided it, colored it and attempted to loc my fro. At the end of the day, I love my hair, but it does not define me. Remind yourself of that when your twist out flops. Throw a scarf on and move on with your day sis.

Find realistic hair goals -Sadly, the most popular natural hair gurus and online accounts tend to have a loose curl pattern. We all don’t look like that. Don’t waste your time coveting a pattern your hair will never confirm to. Find people who look like you and support them. Representation matters.

Get you a bonnet or silk pillow case – Cotton absorbs moisture and our curls need all the moisture they can get. Make sure to sleep with a satin scarf, bonnet or pillow case

Be kind to your fro – braids,weaves, and wigs are cute but if you are not careful, when you take them off, they will take your edges and sometimes even your hair with them. Give yourself time off between protective styles and make sure to do a deep treatment.

Simplify your routine – It is easy to waste money on products that you don’t need. Especially since the natural hair community is inundated with sponsorships and native advertising that suckers us in. Find people that give honest product reviews, find products that you can use on more than your hair (like shea and mango butters, almond and coconut oil) .

My routine looks like:

  1. A deep conditioner or oil treatment
  2. A shampoo
  3. A conditioner or leave in conditioner to detangle with.
  4. A butter to moisturize with after i’m done. Right now I am using a homeade mango butter mixed with a drop of melacula oil.
r1-01181-0013

Embrace that fro

Dassit. I like to keep it simple.

Peace,

Farai

 

 

 

5 Safe Online Spaces for WOC

These internet streets can be treacherous. Full of trolls, nazi’s and “I can’t be racist, my best friends are black/mexican/asian” type folks. Its annoying and frankly, tiring. If your timeline is full of trash, here are some of my favorite blogs and websites that I feel are safe spaces for everyone, but specifically WOC. If you feel like fixing your fingers to type “why cant this just be a space for everyone not just WOC” then this post and this blog are probably not for you. See yourself out! Peace!

Black Girl in Om : Chock full of content and images, Black girl in Om is an amazing space to see black women be vulnerable, thrive and just be.

Hey Fran Hey : If you know me, then you have probably heard me gush about Francheska of Hey Fran Hey. From her youtube channel to her podcast to her website. She makes health and wellness approachable.

Another Sunday : A blog by author and self care aficionado Alex Elle. I love her honesty and transparency. Her Instagram and blog are both serene and full of self care tips.

The Lazy Natural  : A tumblr blog run by Marenna, a great place for natural hair inspiration among other things.

Yolanda V. Acree  :  Fellow minimalist shares her travels and minimalism journey on her blog and YouTube channel and is very sweet, intelligent and down to earth

If you have any other blogs or websites you visit that you know are safe places, please share in the comments!

Peace.

Farai