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

 

Simple Ways to Introduce Minimalism to your Kids

Following my awesome live chat this past Monday over at the BlackMinimalists facebook page, I wanted to share 4 simple things you can do to introduce minimalism to your kids. I have a lot to say about this topic and like many things, I could talk about it all day. Find me on facebook or instagram and we can continue the conversation there.

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Peace.

Farai

My Summer Diaper Bag Essentials

Summer is my SEASON. Growing up in Botswana where it is hot for the most of the year  makes me LOVE this season so much. I like to spend my time outside exploring or swimming and since I prefer babywearing over using a stroller, my diaper bag has to be functional for both my partner and I.

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I am a fan of multi-purpose items and the Kavu Rope Bag works great for us because its spacious, with multiple pockets and has one strap, which is perfect for me when I carry my daughter on my back. It fits all my essentials that and still has room for more items.

Diapering 

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Bag of wipes in reusable wipe bag. We cloth wipe at home, but use disposable wipes on the go.

A wet bag to store dirty diapers

2 pocket cloth diapers. I prefer pocket you because I can adjust the absorbency  and its still a simple snap and go diaper.

A changing mat, because we go places that don’t always have a safe changing table.

Body

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A change of clothes, homemade sunscreen, some diaper cream and hand sanitizer.

Miscellaneous 

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Daniel Tiger never fails to put a smile on my daughters face so we almost always have a DT book and one other toy to keep her amused.  A Kid Kanteen bottle for her water, burp rag and my wallet which has a pen,  cards and chapstick and thats it!

My diaper bag changes with the seasons. I add warmer clothes in the winter and I rotate out her toys weekly too. Not pictured is my water bottle and hat that I shove into the bag when it is sunny too.I don’t like to be weighed down by unnecessary items so I’ve streamlined the bag to the necessities and it works for us.

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

 

 

 

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

 

Spring cleaning – Bathroom Edition

Cleaning the bathroom is my least favorite chore after washing dishes, I hate the smell of bleach and the harsh cleaning chemicals always make my eyes water or give me a headache. Once I  simplified my regimen, cleaning the bathroom became a lot easier. To end the week, here as some ways to simplify your bathroom cleaning regimen.

  1. As always use up what you have. Then reuse or recycle what you can. Take the labels and clean sturdy spray bottles and make your own cleaning solutions. I use a water, vinegar and tea trea oil mix.
  2. Ditch paper towels for micro fiber or cotton clothes you can wash and reuse.
  3. Vinegar is king. Because it is a disinfectant,you can use a vinegar to clean your entire bathroom.
  4. Add baking soda to your toilet bowl and then add vinegar and scrub to clean the bowl. There are also wooden, compostable toilet brushes with natural fibers you can buy instead of plastic ones.
  5. Vinegar and baking soda will also get rid of hard to scrub stains.
  6. Clean your mirrors with a water and vinegar mix in a spray bottle.
  7. A simple aromatic toilet spray is easy to make, add equal parts grain alcohol or witch hazel with water and then add your favorite essential oils for scent to a metal or glass spray bottle and viola!
  8. Add plants to your bathroom to brighten things up and help purify the air.

That’s it! Nice and simple. If I missed anything, let me know in the comments below.

Peace

Farai

Why I Babywear

Our ancestors have worn their offspring for thousands of years. Growing  up, I watched countless babies on the backs of their mothers and knew that I would carry my own children. But I live in the mid west. All I saw was babies in strollers. Luckily enough, after I went to a La Leche Leauge meeting, I met women in my local baby wearing international chapter and joined soon after.

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Here is what I love about baby wearing

  1. I get shit done. I would not have been able to work at my office with Thandie for 4 months if it was not for my ability to wear her. Thandiwe is content to hang out on my back while I do chores, blog (i’m wearing her right now), grocery shop, or walk my dogs.
  2. Unlimited snuggles and kisses
  3. Babies who are worn cry less, they feel safer, they learn faster. Learn more here
  4. Hands free breastfeeding! I’ve given presentations standing and moving around in front of groups of people while Thandie happily nursed.
  5. Its simplified my travel with an infant. I don’t have to worry about a stroller. She is going on 8 months and we still have never used one.
  6. Baby wearing builds a bond with her dad. Because I am her primary source of nutrition and comfort, Thandie spends most of her time with me. Baby-wearing brings my partner closer to her.
  7. Baby-wearing allowed me to meet a new community and make great friends.

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*full disclosure – I am a chapter support volunteer for my local baby wearing international  chapter so even though I am not getting paid for this I am completely biased*

If you are interested in baby-wearing, here are some tips:

Try out different carriers until you find the one that works for you. That is what is great about the baby wearing international organization. Its a non-profit that focuses on education surrounding baby wearing. Most local chapters have lending libraries that allow members to try out carriers for a period of time before they make their own purchases. I tried out several different carriers for 30 days before I settled on the best one for my family.

Look for a local baby wearing buy sell trade group so you can buy a pre-loved carrier second hand. It is cheaper and better for the environment.

Join a support group like babywearing while black  or a chat group so you can ask questions online.

Don’t give up, at first, Thandie hated being worn- but after I found the right fit for us, she loved it. I will write a post about my favorite carriers soon.

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Peace and baby snuggles

Farai