Homemade Stain Remover

Life is messy. I am messy. My roommates are really messy. Needless to say this homemade stain remover gets used frequently. From removing the tomato sauce I exploded on my favorite light purple sweatshirt while cooking to pure mud from hiking to the chocolate my roommates ground into the cloth napkins, I have had my fair share of tough stains.

This homemade stain remover is powerful without all of the nasty chemicals. It also won’t bleach or discolor your clothes.

Homemade Castile Soap Stain Remover

Homemade Stain Remover Ingredients

2-5 teaspoons liquid castile soap
1-2 cups of water

I love simplicity, and the two ingredients in this stain remover certainly fit the bill. Castile soap is heavily concentrated. When diluted with water, the soap is easy to apply without overdoing it. I make my homemade stain remover in a small spray bottle so its always on hand and easy to use.

To be fair, I don’t usually measure my ingredients when I make this castile soap stain remover. Typically I squirt some of the soap into the spray bottle and add water. If it’s too much soap (I base it off the color of the stain remover and how sudsy it comes out) I add more water once there’s room. Not working as hoped? I add a little more soap. It doesn’t take much to create a powerful stain remover, so err on the side of less soap to begin with.

Best Uses for Homemade Stain remover

I have some pet peeves and some constantly-dirty items. Here’s my list of all of the things that get a thorough spray before hitting the wash:

1. Not so white socks (AKA the reminder to mop more often)
2. Grimy sleeves – sweatshirts are my worst offenders. I blame the gym.
3. Sunscreen marks
4. Armpits and collars of white shirts
5. Food stains
6. Dirt, grass, life stains
7. Blood stains
8. Light colored sports bras (they get a general all over spritz to keep them looking bright and clean)
9. My workout shirts – where I wipe my sweaty face and anywhere that spent time on the floor (sit ups anyone?) to get out the extra oils and dirt
10. Makeup marks (not common for me, but the stain spray has taken it out in the past!)

Digital Digest

Currently reading Clean Eating: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body. While I won’t be doing a “clean eating diet” or a “detox diet,” I am certainly going to incorporate more anti-inflammatory foods in my diet and steer clear some of the big inflammation (and upset stomach) instigators. Hopefully my ankle responds well and heals faster.

Smoothie with Granola

Why do we wait for perfect? Let’s encourage all progress toward sustainability.

I want to eat these dark chocolate pots de creme every day. With only 11 grams of sugar from honey per serving, they are my current favorite substitute that my sweet tooth hasn’t noticed isn’t actually full of sugar.

Why are we so unsatisfied with the limits of our bodies?

The LA Times story on Oxycotin was shocking.

But not as shocking as the wage gap for NBA players and WNBA players. Women athletes still don’t make what their counterparts do. Let’s do something about it already.

Let’s keep doing more of this. And remembering to treat what we have well and buy used first.

Things I wrote:

Best Habits of Yoga Teachers

7 Crazy Things Eucalyptus Oil Can Do For You

7 Things You Didn’t Know Pepper Could Do

The Best Gluten Free Ice Cream Brands (I consider myself an expert on this one)

Zero Waste Trail Mix

Snacks are my biggest barrier to being zero waste. I stopped buying chips and crackers to try to reduce how much processed, packaged food I eat, but I rarely make it from one meal to the next without a snack and my lack of snacks was becoming a huge problem. No snacks is a really bad thing. In an effort to stop scaring people while heating healthier and reducing my waste, I made myself delicious, hearty trail mix.

Zero waste trail mix is so easy! I brought empty jars with me to the grocery store and came home with a killer snack. The bulk bins were full of fun ingredients, and it was great to be able to just get as much as I wanted instead of trying to shove pumpkin seeds into everything I eat before they go rancid. I also got ideas for things I wouldn’t normally put in my trail mix.

zero waste trail mix-zero-waste-trail-mix

Nut-Free Zero Waste Trail Mix

Raw Sunflower Seeds
Pumpkin Seeds
Dried Cherries (unsweetened and unsulfured)
Unsweetened Coconut Chips
Chocolate Chips

All of my ingredients were organic and local if possible. You can leave out the chocolate chips to cut the sugar, but I fell prey to peer pressure and I can’t say I regret having them in there.

Once I brought home my bounty I just poured it into a quart-size jar and shook it up. Done.

zero waste trail mix-zero-waste-trail-mix

Now instead of constantly cramming my face full of (delicious) chips, I am eating nutritious seeds that are full of protein and magnesium. While you won’t find me on a cool trail anytime soon, this is my new go-to snack.

I pop it in a small, reusable container to take it on the go or straight into my hand for convenient snacking sans dishes around the house.

6 Healthy Cookbooks

These healthy cookbooks were a breath of fresh air and a fun way to try new recipes. I am on a major crusade to add more vegetables and nutritious foods of all kinds to my daily diet. To get inspiration, I have been checking out loads of cookbooks from the library after reading Skin Cleanse  – I had 10 at home at one point. From a couple of my old standbys to new goodies, I highly recommend them all.

6 Healthy Cookbooks-6-healthy-cookbooks

6 Healthy Cookbooks

1. The Oh She Glows Cookbook
I loved this book. Every recipe is stuffed with vegetables and whole foods. I made the miso orange bowl that was ah-maz-ing. More please!

2. Thug Kitchen
I can’t get enough of this cookbook. It makes me laugh every time I flip through it or make a recipe out of it. Thug’s blasé approach to cooking is refreshing and makes my time in the kitchen so much less stressful. No other cookbook has ever encouraged me to take a break and check my Tumblr while I waited for something to cook. My mom gave this to me a couple Christmases ago (you heard me), and I’m still discovering new recipes out of it. I can’t recommend it enough.

3. My New Roots
The pictures in this book are stunning. It felt full of light and the seasonal recipes were a fun way to remember that nature takes care of variety for us. Some of the recipes had a few more ingredients than I usually use, but for the most part they are straight forward. I saved quite a few recipes to whip up sometime soon.

4. Superfood Smoothies
I wanted to love this book. I really did. But I just couldn’t. It was a great introduction to a lot of new ingredients and it definitely encouraged me to open my mind at least a tiny bit about what I can put in my smoothies. But a lot of the recipes just didn’t suit my taste. Totally worth a perusal regardless of how you feel about vegetables in a smoothie.

5. The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon
I do wish these recipes had fewer ingredients and overall less sugar, but I do love me some bowls. I really enjoyed seeing so many different takes on one of my staples. Bonus, the photos are gorgeous.

6. The Homemade Pantry
Sometimes you just need to step up your snack game and kick the packaged stuff to the curb. I’ve written about this one before, but I think it’s worth mentioning again. If you want to get a little more in tune with what you are eating and you love snacks, this one is for you. It’s also great if you are hoping to be zero waste (or just have fewer chip bags in your trash).

Is anyone else hungry now?

More Books: You can see all of my recommendations here.

DIY Shea Butter and Coconut Oil Body Butter

I have been making my own body butter for years, and my skin has never been happier. This shea butter and coconut oil body butter recipe only has two ingredients, and it’s so versatile! I put it on after I shower on my whole body, my hands and feet before bed, and on my the back of my hands throughout the day. It soaks in fast, and it leaves my skin feeling moisturized all day.

homemade shea butter and coconut oil body butter-homemade-shea-butter-and-coconut-oil-body-butter

Body Butter Ingredients

1/2 cup fair trade shea butter
1/2 cup organic, unrefined (also called virgin) coconut oil

I tend to do a straight 1:1 ratio on my body butter, but you can use more coconut oil for a lighter, faster absorbing oil or more shea butter for a richer, more moisturizing oil. In the winter I add a touch more shea butter.

You can also add a couple drops of essential oils for a nice scent. I don’t typically do this, mostly because I like the simplicity of the body butter as it is. Without essential oils, the body butter has no scent once it is rubbed in and absorbed.

homemade shea butter and coconut oil body butter-homemade-shea-butter-coconut-oil-body-butter-ingredients

How to Make It

Melt the shea butter and coconut oil together in a microwave safe container. Typically one to three minutes is plenty to get them completely melted. Stir the oil together to make sure they are mixed well. Pour it into a container and let harden on your counter or in the fridge.

How to Use and Store Your Body Butter

Scoop out the body butter and apply like you would lotion. A little goes a long way, so be sure to start with less than you think you might need. I typically apply it when I get out of the shower, and by the time I’m done drying the shower it is soaked in enough for me to get dressed.

If you feel like it’s not soaking in fast enough, you can try using less or reheat it and add a bit more coconut oil. I also highly recommend slathering your feet and putting on a pair of junky socks for 10 minutes or so if you plan on putting it on before bed. This protects your sheets and makes sure your feet get all the goodies.

homemade shea butter and coconut oil body butter

In the summer or warm temperatures, the butter will melt a bit. You can absolutely use it like this, or store it somewhere cooler. I don’t recommend the fridge, however, or you will be trying to cut it like cold butter before giving yourself a bit of a cold-lotion-torture-treatment. If it separates a bit, simply give it a stir.

Since you are dipping your fingers in and out of the jar, be sure to wash your hands first. If you don’t use it frequently I would recommend making a smaller batch so you don’t have to worry about it going bad. However, the coconut oil, a natural antibacterial, should keep the butter pretty stable and safe for a while. I make myself a new batch when I run out every couple of months.

Want it to be more of a lotion? This whipped body butter works great and can be pumped out of an old lotion bottle.

The Glory of a Budget

Nothing makes me feel more in control of my life and the way I’m living than my budget. Call me crazy, but I love knowing where my money is going and I get a thrill from socking away money like a squirrel.

I was taught from a young age to save. When my brother and I got money as birthday gifts, at least part of it went into our savings accounts. Our meticulous savings bought us things here and there, but for the most part once money went in, it stayed there.

I started working the summer I turned sixteen and I hoarded money like nobody’s business. I worked as a lifeguard making very little money for the amount of hours I worked and the effort I put in (especially given the fact that I was trusted with so many lives). The thought of movie tickets or lunch out only reminded me that it took me a couple hours of work to make that money back. While my coworkers bought iPhones and went on trips, I spent half of my first and last paychecks and saved the rest.

save money budget homemade clutch-budget

This habit has stuck with me. I am slow to spend money and quick to save. I made myself budgets before I realized that was what I was doing. I have never once regretted saving my money. It has bought me so much more by staying in my savings account.

Freedom.

Nearly half of Americans cannot come up with $400 in an emergency. I couldn’t believe it. American’s used to save as aggressively as I do. What happened?

Why You Should Have a Budget

Have you ever heard of a F**k Off Fund? You need one. To make one, you have to save.

Do you know where your money is going? I can bet there is at least one or two expenses in your life you could cut and put that money in your savings or toward paying off your debt. A quick look at last month’s statements or a money tracking app can open your eyes and help you cut back (and cry about spending $400 at Whole Foods each month).

Peace of mind! You won’t have to worry about paying the bills or having enough money for that extra thing. Once you get in the habit of only spending your allotted amount you don’t have to think about it anymore. Money and saving it becomes so much less stressful.

A budget allows you to set aside money for the future. Whether it’s for Coachella tickets that you buy with birthday money six months from now or big financial goals like buying a house, a savings account buys you so much more than money in your wallet.

Cherry Blossoms-financial-freedom-with-a-budget

You Won’t Regret It. Ever.

Not once have I thought “why do I bother tracking my spending or saving so much?” I have gone through periods where I was saving nearly 80 percent of the money I was making (to be fair, I was living at home and working towards buying my car).

Yes, you will have to say “no” to some things. Concerts, drinks or dinner out, trips. But that doesn’t mean it’s always “no” or that you can’t have fun. And trust me, everyone will understand and respect you for it. Not once have my friends been upset when I said I couldn’t do something because it just wasn’t in my budget.

For the most part, I have been able to do all of those things because of my budget. I have savings and extra money each month to spend however I want. Some months I put my spending money in savings knowing that I have a trip coming up or a night out with friends that I’d rather spend it on.

Start a Budget

Save your money, please, I’m begging you. So is your savings account and the voice in your mind that can’t stop stressing about money.

Ready to start saving? Start here:

Try a short-term (or hell, year-long!) shopping ban.

Instead of buying something immediately, put it on the list and wait for two weeks or 30 days.

Make a plan to become debt free.

Start your budget! Even if you only do a week at a time. Apps or this guide can help you get started.

Figure out your steps to financial freedom.

Shop online? Block your favorite site for a week or two just to see how you feel. Turn off one-click shopping to reduce impulse or lazy buys (hello toilet paper on Amazon).

Why You Should Read Skin Cleanse Right Now

I haven’t stopped talking or thinking about Skin Cleanse: The Simple, All-Natural Program for Clear, Calm, Happy Skin since I started reading it a few weeks ago. I have long been looking to my diet to clear my skin and help me heal, but never quite like this.

While Skin Cleanse focuses on curing skin aliments with what you put in your body and on it, I took so much more than that from it.

Skin Cleanse: The Simple, All-Natural Program for Clear, Calm, Happy Skin-skin-cleanse-march-april-reads

Skin Cleanse Takeaways

Food heals.
What we eat matters. Before you ‘duh!’ me, hear me out. From the macronutrients we live off of to the micronutrients that feed our cells, each thing we eat and the things it’s made out of make a difference. We so often break down our foods into “carbs,” “fruits and vegetables,” “fats,” and “proteins,” but do we ever stop to consider how much vitamin D we are eating or what sources of folate we added to our diet today? After reading Skin Cleanse I am much more aware of the micronutrients I need and finding whole food sources to get them.

Less is more.
Whether it’s what I slather on my skin and hair or eat, less is almost always better. Simple ingredients and routines will do just as well, if not better, than the 10 step morning skin regimen.

Variety matters.
It’s so easy for me to fall into eating the same things every day. Toast or oatmeal for breakfast. Carb-rich leftovers for lunch. Rice and vegetables for dinner. The same foods rotate through my week constantly depending on the season. Same goes for skin. What works in the winter might not be what’s best in the summer.

calafia cafe buddha bowl-skin-cleanse skin cleanse

Your body knows what it wants.
Adina Grigore really hit this point hard, and I appreciated it. Your body knows what it needs. It’s up to us to pay attention and figure it out.

Listen more closely.
Stop being in denial. It’s so easy to ignore what our bodies tell us, but if we actually take the time to listen we can take control of our health. I am a firm believer that we have the tools we need to improve our health, we just have to tap into our bodies’ feedback.

You’re in control.
From acne to lingering fatigue to frequent headaches, what’s happening to our bodies can feel completely, overwhelmingly, out of control. The frustration can be extreme, as can the feeling of helplessness. Endless trips to specialists and prodding tests often lead to fewer answers and more confusion in my experience. Every time I end up in and out of the doctor’s office I am reminded that no one knows my body like I do. While I may not be able to tell you the exact chemical reaction or cellular function of what’s happening in my body, I can certainly tell you how I feel and what seems to make it better or worse.

And that knowledge is powerful! I am so thankful every time one of my doctors tells me how I can improve my health. Whether it’s tips on things to avoid or eat or a not so subtle reminder to relax and reduce my stress, sometimes we need to be reminded that so much of our health and wellness is within our control.

Balance is key.
A clean diet is important. Enough is sleep is paramount. But making room for the things that bring you happiness and joy is vital. Skin Cleanse, while pushing me to eat better and take care of my body with better nutrition, also made me more aware of where things were out of balance in my life. Feeling guilty over eating a serving of ice cream isn’t healthy, but neither is binging on the entire pint.

Beauty products are hiding in your kitchen.
I can’t wait to dig into some of her recipes and slather myself in magical, homemade creations.

Doing it right.
Sure, there are things I hope to change, but there are also so many things I am doing right. Pat yourself on the back for eating healthy fats, getting enough sleep, and chugging water like a champ.

What I changed after reading Skin Cleanse

Wash my face with water.
I started washing my face in the morning with just water per Adina’s advice, and was surprised by how great it works. The queen of less, the constant advocate of ‘simple is better’ somehow completely forgot to think about how people washed their faces for thousands of years.

Try new foods and mix it up.
Most people would not describe me as ‘adventurous,’ but I am approaching what I eat with a greater sense of wonder and exploration. I’m looking forward to trying new foods and coming back to some of the things I’ve written off before. I also want to break my habit of always eating the same couple of things, but not at the expense of extra stress and time.

Food journal for two weeks
The word food journal makes my skin crawl, but what Adina outlines in Skin Cleanse is unlike any food journal I’ve read about before. There’s no measuring. There’s no calculating calories or serving sizes or macronutrients or grams. I tracked how I felt when I woke up and during the day. For her recommended two weeks I generally tracked the things I ate and how much water I drank. I didn’t learn anything that I didn’t already know or have a hunch about, but putting in writing “I feel nauseated after eating dairy” is powerful. It’s a lot harder to justify eating a hunk of cheese when I know that in an hour I won’t feel well. Ditto for sugar jackpots.

I’m an experiment.
I get frustrated when I try “cure” after “cure” only to end up no better or worse. Instead of treating each new thing I try as an end all, be all, I’m going to take a cue from Tim Ferriss and treat myself like a walking experiment. I’m taking out the investment I often feel that this new thing has to make it better. I’m substituting amazement and curiosity instead of pressure and desperation.

No more denial.
This has two meanings for me. The first is ignoring my body’s feedback. My food journal was a great reminder of how often I eat things that don’t really nourish my body. It also opened my eyes to how frequently I eat things that I don’t really like or that don’t make me feel very well. Second, food should certainly nourish and heal, but it should also bring joy and contentment. Denying myself a cupcake because sugar is bad for my body and feeling like I am suffering or in a constant state of want isn’t good either.

Best eclair in Menorca, Spain

Sugar awareness.
I know, I know, sugar is the devil’s work. Our bodies respond to it like cocaine. I hear you. While I will certainly curb my intake, I am not going on an anti-sugar crusade. A treat every once in a while is part of my balanced, healthy life. Sugar after every meal or even each day, less so.

All.the.vegetables.
The more vegetables, the more micronutrients. Count me in for more. I’m on a mission to massively increase my intake. I even put some spinach in a smoothie, despite being adamant that there should be a strong divide between fruits and vegetables. I also am swapping out my go-to snack of potato chips for crunchy veggies.

More:
My minimalist skincare routine
Safe and effective mineral sunscreens
My love of face oil

Best Mineral Sunscreen

Let’s be real, I use a lot of mineral sunscreen. Anytime I’m outside or driving for more than 10-15 minutes I’m usually slathered in something or wearing sun protective clothing. After years in the sun, I take sun protection and sun damage very seriously.

Why Mineral Sunscreen

For years I have avoided non-mineral, or chemical, sunscreens. After reading the Environmental Working Group’s Sunscreen Guide, I refuse to use anything that has oxybenzone, octinoxate, avobenzone, or nano particles. I want to know that my skin is safe and I’m actually being protected. With that in mind, I would much rather drench myself in mineral sunscreens that will protect me better and not seep toxic chemicals into my body.

The Best Mineral Sunscreens

the best face body waterproof mineral sunscreen-mineral-sunscreen-face-body-waterproof

Face: MyChelle Sun Shield SPF 28
I had been unhappy with my face sunscreen for a while, so much so that I was neglecting to put it on at all. But after doing a ton of beauty research for this article, I was motivated to find a new one.

I picked this one up on a slight whim before my last camping trip, and it exceeded my expectations. It goes on SO easily for a mineral sunscreen. There’s not endless rubbing and constantly having weird, white streaks down your face from where it didn’t get rubbed in enough before it dried. It also doesn’t leave you looking like an Edward Cullen wannabe. Finally, a face sunscreen that goes on clear!

While I’m usually wary of putting anything on my sensitive, temperamental face, I haven’t had any problems with irritation or breakouts. After I do my morning skin routine, I apply it before I leave the house, including before I exercise. The only time I notice it is when I sweat a little bit. My face feels like I have something on it, but it’s not bad and it feels pretty similar to other sunscreens. The rest of the time it’s incredibly light and I forget I’m wearing it. Bonus points for being untinted – no more staining my clothes! You can find it at many natural food stores and Amazon.

Body: Solar Body Moisturizer SPF 30+
When I was commuting hours each day in the sun, this beauty was my best friend. It goes on like body lotion and makes my skin feel moisturized. There’s no heavy, oily coat on your skin, and it works great. I took this all across Spain with me. It’s so easy to apply it on the go. I frequently bring a little bit with me in a smaller tube if I’m unsure of the weather or I think I might end up taking off a layer (or two).

It’s not water or sweat proof, so it’s not great for extended exercise or a dip in the pool. I do, however, put it on my legs before I run and it stays on great. Whole foods and a few other markets carry it – although Amazon is usually cheaper.

Water/sport: BurnOut Eco-Sensitive SPF 35 Sunscreen
This little tube is by far my hardest working sunscreen. I wear it when I ride by bike, go for a run, swim, or do anything else where I’m going to sweat or otherwise get wet.

From the tops of my feet to the part in my hair, I use this sunscreen everywhere. I haven’t had any trouble putting it on my face. It’s a bit more work to rub in than the other two, but once you’re done you can’t really tell it’s there. I’ve tried a few other sunscreens from BurnOut, and I think this one goes on the most clear. It stays on in water pretty well, and based on the burns I’ve gotten when I’ve missed little spots, it definitely works. This one is usually a bit more expensive in most natural food stores, but it’s also on Amazon and it looks like it might be cheaper at other random online stores if you Google it.

In case you missed it:
All the sunscreens I’ve tried in the past
Sun Safely, my article in Yoga Journal