Category Archives: Going "Natural"

DIY / Going "Natural"

Get Rid of Fruit Flies (the natural way)

July 31, 2014

fruit bowl

Well kiddos, sorry for the radio silence over here the past few weeks.  Prior to the beginning of this week, I was soaking up every minute of my forced summer vacation, and relaxing like I’ve never relaxed before.  I must say, it was pretty nice.  But, alas, I got a new job and returned to work this week.  So I’m back in the routine of being a real person now, which means that the blog may or may not be making a comeback onto your computer screens.

Let’s transition to what this post is actually about, shall we?

I don’t know about you guys, but this is the time of year when my countertops are generally overflowing with summer produce.  Tomatoes, summer plums, peaches, melons…  I hoard them and eat them by the dozen.  All this fruit ripening away on the counter though generally means that at some point or another we get overrun with fruit flies.  And it’s really not so appetizing to grab a nectarine from the fruit basket and immediately see a swarm of gnats start buzzing about.

I don’t like the idea of spraying a bunch of chemicals near the fruit I eat, (I mean, I try to avoid pesticides in my food before I buy it, so why would I want to add some after the fact?) so I did a little research on how to deal with the fruit fly problem naturally.  After a bit of googling and a trial run, I found the perfect natural solution.  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • small bowl or container (I used a small mason jar)
  • apple cider vinegar
  • dish soap
  • plastic wrap
  • rubber band
  • small sharp knife
  1. Place a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into the bowl or container you’re using.  Add a squirt of dish soap, then cover the top with plastic wrap.
  2. Secure the plastic wrap around the edge with a rubber band, then take a small knife and cut a few slits in the top of the wrap.
  3. Place your contraption near where the flies are congregating and let it sit for a few days, and that’s it!

The fruit flies will be attracted to the smell of the apple cider vinegar and will fly into the container through the slits in the top.  Once in there, they will be trapped by the plastic wrap.  Also, the dish soap changes the surface tension of the water, making it so that the flies drown if they land in it.

Easy right?  Problem solved!

Going "Natural"

Back to Basics: How to go “No ‘Poo”

March 26, 2010

Ok, first I’d like to apologize for the lack of photos in this post, as well as the extreme length of what’s to follow; but I realized that a lot of the basic information on how to go without shampoo and conditioner is a bit chopped up on here (and on the internet… yeah, it’s a sh#@ show out there for those of you researching going no ‘poo), so I’ve decided to condense the necessary info into one post (think of it as the Campbell’s soup version of no ‘poo info — dense, but all you’ve ever needed.  Minus the water and microwave…)

First things first, I recommend brushing your hair before getting into the shower to assist in the detangling process (as, remember, you’re not going to have the detangling power of conditioner on your side).

Here’s what you’ll need to go no ‘poo (seriously, who the F named this movement??):

-Baking soda
-Apple Cider Vinegar
-2 squeeze bottles (I use two 8 oz ones I found in the travel section at Target — 99¢!)
-Tablespoon measure
-Comb
-Any additives you want to add to the Apple Cider Vinegar rinse (see ADDITIONS TO THE APPLE CIDER VINEGAR RINSE discussion below)

***NOTE: I RECOMMEND WASHING YOUR HAIR NO MORE THAN ONCE OR TWICE A WEEK ON THIS DIET.  YOUR HAIR DOES NOT NEED TO BE (NOR SHOULD IT BE) WASHED EVERY DAY, OR EVEN EVERY OTHER DAY.

Ok, onwards and upwards.

CLEANSING:

Use 1 tbsp. baking soda mixed with 1 cup (8 oz) water.  Make sure to shake up the mix before applying it to your hair, as the baking soda tends to settle at the bottom of the bottle.  I like to use one of those 8 oz squeeze bottles I found at Target in the travel section (99¢!  Can’t beat that.)  for this and the Apple Cider Vinegar rinse.

Wet your hair thoroughly.  Squeeze the baking soda rinse over your hair, paying particular attention to your roots (as the baking soda is what will keep your hair from becoming a greasy mess over the course of the week, so put it where it counts).  Once the entire mixture is on your hair, comb through your hair with your fingers or a comb.  Make sure to massage your scalp as this step is important in making sure your scalp gets clean, which will give your hair greater volume once dry.  I like to use a comb for this step as it helps keep my hair untangled as well.

Leave the rinse on your hair for 30 seconds to 1 minute (or longer if you find your hair is getting very greasy throughout the week), then rinse well.  When I say rinse well, I’m not joking (I know, if I was it would be HILARIOUS).  If you don’t rinse adequately, some baking soda can be left on your scalp which will leave you with an itchy head until your next wash (“Um, ew, do you have lice???”)  Yeah, neither fun nor funny.

CONDITIONING:

The basic recipe for this is 1/2 – 1 tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with 1 cup (8 oz) water.  You can increase or decrease the amount of vinegar based on your hair’s reaction (add more if you find your hair is dry — 1 tbsp; add less if it’s on the oily side — 1/2 tbsp).

After cleansing and rinsing, squeeze the Apple Cider Vinegar mix over your hair, then comb through.  With this mix, you may want to pay more attention to the ends of your hair as this is what generally needs more moisture.  Once you’ve let the mixture sit for 30 seconds to 1 minute, rinse well.  (I rinse this mix out with cool water as I’ve heard it increases shine.  Whether this is actually true or not, I have no idea; so, experiment and decide for yourself.)

REMEMBER: Though you may be turned off by the smell of the vinegar in the shower (I call it “Romaine fresh”), the smell will not stay on your hair (even if you don’t rinse the vinegar out). Once your hair is dry, it will smell normal (unless you style it with something weird after the fact. Gross.  I mean… no judgment.)

You can adjust the Apple Cider Vinegar mix as follows based on how your hair is reacting to the natural diet:

If your hair is EXTRA DRY AND/OR CURLY/VERY PRONE TO TANGLES: comb the ACV rinse through your hair and don’t rinse it out.  Leaving the rinse on your hair will help maintain moisture as well as act as a detangler.

If your hair is DRY: comb the ACV rinse through your hair and do a very quick rinse (like, if you were being graded on how thoroughly you’re rinsing your hair — A, being totally rinsed — you’d basically get a D… or an F+.  Don’t worry, you won’t be graded in real life on this…  If you are, I don’t know what to tell you; other than your home life sounds weird.)

A note for those of you who experience dry hair on this diet. If you’ve left the ACV rinse on your hair (no rinsing) and still experience dryness, you can cut down the Baking Soda rinse to once a week(or less), or even cut out the Baking Soda rinse altogether, as this is the part of the routine which is drying.  Know that if you up the number of times per week you use the ACV rinse, it may actually be more drying for your hair (thus, why you should cut down on the baking soda, rather than up the ACV).

If your hair is NORMAL: comb the ACV rinse through your hair and rinse thoroughly.

If your hair is OILY: squeeze the ACV mix over the ends of your hair and avoid your roots (as this is where your excess oil is coming from).

If your hair is EXTRA OILY: skip the ACV rinse altogether.  (However, after a week or two on the natural diet, your scalp should re-adjust itself to not be so greasy so you should be able to add the ACV rinse back into your routine.  See below.)

A note for those of you who experience oily hair on this diet: this should be temporary.  Shampoo is basically a detergent which strips your hair of its natural oils (the very oils hair needs to regulate itself and look healthy and shiny).  On the natural diet, your natural oils aren’t stripped away when you wash.  Because of this, your scalp might over-produce these oils for a week or two while adjusting to the no ‘poo.  Know that the greasy period should be temporary, and stick it out (maybe with a hat or two).

ADDITIONS TO THE APPLE CIDER VINEGAR RINSE:

You can add a number of things to the ACV rinse to cut down on the “salad smell” and/or add to the natural benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar.

Herbs: (information below comes from this site)

Burdock: great for thinning hair, dry, irritated scalp, dandruff, and seborrhea
Calendula: conditions
Catnip: Promotes healthy hair growth (among other hilarious benefits…)
Chamomile: a healing and soothing herb to soften hair, soothe the scalp, lighten, condition, and stimulate growth
Horsetail: Helps brittle hair due to its high silica content
Lavender: useful for all hair types it stimulates hair growth, and de-greases
Marigold: lightens hair color
Nettle: conditions, improves color and texture, helps with dandruff, irritated scalp, and dry scalp
Parsley: enriches hair color and gives a nice luster
Plantain: great for dry, irritated scalp, dandruff, and seborrhea
Peppermint: stimulates the scalp
Rosemary: excellent for all hair types and problems it acts as a tonic and conditioner, one of the best herbs to use, gives luster and body, stimulates growth, helps with dandruff, and brings out dark highlights in the hair
Sage: traditionally used to restore color to graying hair, excellent for week hair
Saw Palmetto: good for hair thinning and hair loss
Thyme: good for oily hair, dandruff, and mild hair loss
Witch Hazel: leaves and bark are astringent and cleanse oily hair
Yarrow: for oily hair
Yucca: Navajos swear by yucca root to prevent hair loss and to cure dandruff

For these, the rinse will be made from the actual herbs (not essential oils). You can use dried or fresh herbs. As a reference, if making a Rosemary rinse, use 2 sprigs, approximately 5 inches each, of fresh Rosemary; or use 1 tbsp. dried Rosemary in 1-2 cups water. If using loose herbs, use a teabag (or something similar); or strain your mix before using (because, really, is that a thyme leaf in your hair?) A coffee filter is helpful for this. Also, you can steep your herbs in boiling water (15 minutes minimum), or simply leave them in hot tap water (overnight at least, 2 weeks is ideal — seriously). Remember, the longer the herb sits in the mix, the more concentrated the beneficial effects of the herb will be in the rinse.

Essential Oils:

Do your research on essential oils before adding them in to your ACV rinse, as some essential oils can irritate your skin if not used correctly. Lavender essential oil (which I use in my rinse) is one of the few essential oils which can be used directly on your skin.  If you decide to use an essential oil in your rinse, MAKE SURE that it is pure and not the cheaper “fragrance oil” or “nature identical oil.” Although this is the most expensive part of the natural diet (if you opt to use one), you only need one drop (yes, that’s right, 1 drop) in the ACV rinse; so that little vial that cost you somewhere between $9 and $30 will last you a whopping 3 years.

Where to buy: essential oils are not super common, but can be found at health food stores like GNC or Whole Foods, or online. I got mine at The Vitamin Shoppe (I have no idea why it’s called “Shoppe”; last time I checked it wasn’t an old-fashioned candy store) $8.99 for .5 oz of lavender essential oil.

I think that’s pretty much all the info you need.  This will be one of the last no ‘poo/go natural posts, as the month is nearly over and I will be making the transition to my next 30 day challenge very soon.  If you have any additional questions, post a comment or email me (I’ll get back to you, I promise).

I hope you all try going no ‘poo for 30 days; and if you do, I’d love to hear how it works for you!  Good luck (and, more importantly, good hair!)

Going "Natural"

Boo

March 24, 2010

Got a call this morning that my stylist is sick, so I won’t be able to get my hair cut today as planned.  What a bummer!  On the plus side, got to have lunch in San Jose with my sister and my brother (who’s home from college on spring break.  Braden gone wild!)  Aren’t we just an adorable bunch…

Ok so that was going to be a sibling picture (trust me, it was cute), but my mom’s computer is slower than that guy’s speech you met at the bar last Friday night.  I don’t know what the deal is with the computer/site/internet connection, but it felt like I was trying to download music off Napster from my dial-up internet connection circa 1998 (not that I EVER did that).  Apparently something in the equation of iMac + WordPress + AT&T internet = FAIL Fixed!

Ok I’m off!  Gotta go grill Braden (the extra cool one in the photo…) about this quarter’s happenings at everyone’s favorite UC…  I’ll post again once I’m on a computer that doesn’t take 40 hours to upload a photo later!

Going "Natural"

Quick Post

March 23, 2010

Just a quick note — I’m getting my hair trimmed tomorrow (finally!)  It’s been almost 4 months since my last cut (woops…) so my ends could definitely use a little TLC.  I’ll let you all know how my hair holds up post cut (and how my stylist reacts when I ask him not to shampoo my hair!  Awkward…)

Chop chop!

Going "Natural"

Day by Day

March 22, 2010

Hey friends.  So for this post I’ve decided to show you all pictures of my hair throughout the week, so you can see how it looks day to day (since I’m only washing twice a week).  Many of you said that you could never only wash your hair only twice a week because it would become too greasy.  As I said in my previous post, I definitely recommend trying the no ‘poo thing for 30 days and seeing how it pans out for your hair (remember, you may have to work through a week or two with your hair up while your scalp readjusts).  Ok, onto the pictures…

Day 1 — Wash day

As you can see, nice and straight with good volume.  (Jesus Christ I am WHITE!  Yes, I can own up to it.  I’d like to blame the lighting, but I just hate lying.)

Day 2

Take a look at the fly-away situation.  They seem to be confined to the ends of my hair (because that’s where the most damage is, argh…)  Before this challenge, I had fly-aways all over!  Now my hair looks much smoother and healthier (despite the fact that I haven’t had a cut since early December!)

Day 3 — aka Project “Don’t Get Sick”

This was yesterday.  I did nothing to my hair (yeah, didn’t even pick up a brush… girlfriend of the year!) as my day was spent on the couch chugging gallons of water trying to fend off an oncoming cold.  Yes, the lighting is terrible and I look like a mess (luckily KC was snowboarding all day so he didn’t have to witness me in all my anti-sickness, pajama-clad glory).  But anyway, my hair didn’t really look that bad actually.  I even ventured outside at one point (sans styling) because there was a car accident near my apartment building (seriously, it was like a scene right out of a Dane Cook routine — everyone running outside, “Shoes?! F#@$ shoes!”, “Officer, I was washing a dish.  The dish can be Exhibit A”).  As far as I could tell everybody was fine (the cars…not so much.)

Anyway, back to the hair…

Day 4 — Here’s today (I included the most pictures for today since it’s the last day before washing and I figured it would be the most relevant for people thinking of trying the challenge)

So, not quite the volume of days 1 and 2 obviously; but as you can see, not exactly a greasy mess either.  When I was on the ‘poo, by day 4 my hair would be thrown back into a bun or ponytail as it would be far too flat and greasy to be styled straight and worn down.  Now, not so bad though.  I’m not saying I would head out to an important event with my hair looking like this, but it’s certainly good enough for everyday activities (talking about you Bar Method — hence the royal blue Lulu tank I’m wearing in the pics).

Alright, that’s all for now folks!  Remember, if you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you!  And don’t forget to send me suggestions for future challenges if you have any in mind.  Ciao!