Wednesday, April 27, 2011

smart AND pretty

In the last few months I have started the journey to a more natural way of life. I'm not saying that I'm going all- little house on the prairie, but i am attempting to try a more natural, cleaner way of living. I have been doing alot of research on sites like skin deep cosmetics and all signs points to environmental factors such as pollution and chemicals as the leading causes of cancer, autoimmune disorders and early on-set puberty. Consider the bejeebers scared out of me! Ignorance is bliss, but I have been trying my best to make informed decisions when it comes to some of the products that i choose.

I inadvertently began the switch a few years ago, when my sister (holla!) convinced me to try some natural mineral make-up. SOLD! I am in love with it now and feel that it provides nice coverage and there are plenty of color options. I then replaced my toxic cleaning products with some environmental friendly Shaklee all purpose cleaner. I use it on everything except the bathroom, that still gets straight-up bleach. I can't help it, bathrooms are gross! My next switch was equally easy. I traded in most of our regular meat products for organic meat. I did this due to the hormones and antibiotics that are injected in animals and then fed to our family. Along with meat went milk and eggs, now i only buy these two things organic because they are easy to find in my local grocery store.

Naturally, I began to switch our personal care items to more safe products. We went with all natural deodorant for my boys and i use it often as well, but here lies my dilemma.......i haven't found a brand that works well for me and i don't want to be sweaty and smelly, so i cheat sometimes and use the "strong" stuff. Then I have fear and guilt that I am putting chemicals on my body, but I am compelled to do this because I am vain about personal hygiene. Peanut has eczema and I replaced cortisone cream with an essential oil blend. I researched the baby lotion that i was putting on my kids and decided to make an all-natural body lotion for them instead. Its greasy, but I'm still working on it. I use them on myself too, though i am finishing off my B&BW lotions because i am too cheap to throw them in the garbage...

Anyway, when it comes to my kids it is easy, when it comes to myself, well...i am a product whore. I love my products! Shampoos, conditioner, face soap, lotion, eye cream, lip get the picture...I love it all, but now I'm conflicted because i have started to examine the content of said products and am not a happy girl.

I decided to make the switch item by item so as not to traumatize myself too much. The first item was recommended by my friend Christine (shout out!). She bought me a bar of Black African Soap for my face since I was using a potent acne system and i didn't have acne. I would frequently get one zit, and i would get it in size extra large. This soap smells so pretty and is all natural. It is an oatmeal soap and it has cleared my face nicely. SUCCESSFUL SWITCH! The next item to get tossed out was my under eye cream which was full of chemicals and fragrance. I started to use plain coconut oil and it seems to be working nicely. (so far - SUCCESSFUL SWITCH) I started buying and using all natural 'fragrance'-free soaps. By fragrance-free, i am referring to artificial fragrance which is not the best for your health. We are using the natural soap all over and saving the 'deodorant' soap for the three p's (pits, privates, and piggies) LOL. My next switch was a biggie. I don't know what possessed me, but i was at Wegman's and decided to buy some organic hair conditioner instead of my beloved Pantene. Pantene and I have been together for over a decade and I have yet to abandon the shampoo. Instead i wanted to make a slow break with as little stress as possible. The first few days were great. My hair was slightly dull but otherwise, happy and bouncy as usual. BUT, after a few days, I have started to notice that my hair is completely, utterly FLAT! This is not OK! I am hoping that it is the humidity, but it's not lookin like the new conditioner will be taking up permanent residence in my shower. It's like the Pantene shampoo was pissed and sabotaged it somehow while i was sleeping, just for spite. I will hang in for a bit, but this girl can't be walking around with stringy hair! I may have to try some other brand and i am committed to going natural, but c'mon, this is my hair! I plan on switching to an all natural shampoo when i get the 'do' straightened out which only leaves finding the perfect all-natural deodorant and face lotion.
Does anyone else face this struggle between wanting safe, all-natural products while trying to still look their best? I want the best of both worlds!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

a lesson from my daughter

This Saturday was like any other. Pip and I got up at 9:00 (early for us), went to theatre for a 4 hour rehearsal for peter pan, and then came home to the rest of the crew. My stepson and his bff were here for the weekend and hubz got an emergency call for a furnace repair, so all the boys went with him and were going to ride their bikes in the cul de sac where the house is located. As last minute plans were being arranged, and re-arranged, kids were scurrying around, dishes were being done and bikes were being loaded onto the truck. Also, shoes and gloves were being looked for, the remote was no where to be found and the girls were mad that they were being left behind.
For those of you who don't live in a 3 ring circus, this is quite typical. As we make spur-of-the-moment plans, try to transition from one activity to another, my stress level steadily rises. By the time we find 6 pair of shoes, 4 pair of gloves and make it out the door, it takes approximately 15 minutes. These are not 15 regular minutes either. They are stressful, tortuous, self hating minutes that make me feel inadequate and ill equipped to handle the job that I have been blessed with.
Once the boys were gone, I still had to get the girls outside because, during the tirade of transition, I somehow conveyed that I would be taKing Pip for a bike ride. Let me state a few facts.1. I don't like being cold. 2. In order for Pip to ride her new bike, we need to walk it two blocks into the ally behind our house because that is the only non hilly area for her to ride. 3 . I am not a fan of the ally.
As I begrudgingly left the house, I began to finally relax. It was cold, but not too cold. It was difficult to push Peanut's stroller while helping Pip push her bike, but not too difficult. Once we reached the ally, I was pleasantly surprised at pip's bike riding skills. It was only her second time on her new bike and she was unsure of herself at first. She made a lot of negative, fearful statements at first but with a little coaxing and cheering, she began some positive self-talk. I heard a steady chant of 'i can do it, I can do it', with different tones and inflections. I heard some 'don't stop now'-s and even a bunch of 'go, go, go'-s. It took me back 11 years to when my step-son was 5. We used to take him to my in law's to ride his little motorcycle in a big circle around their house. As he would whiz by, we would hear him talking and laughing to himself, and when we would catch a word or phrase, it was always encouraging, like 'yeah baby' and 'you'll never catch me'! Hearing Pip made me laugh and smile and as I jogged beside her, I wondered what my difficult days would be like if I cheered myself on instead of making negative statements. Would I be able to cheer myself througthe finding of the always lost shoe? Would I be able to 'go, go, go' my way through editing the preschool yearbook? How about some 'you can do it'-s while emptying the dishwasher? I'm not really sure, but I think I should give it a try....
Do any of you ever hear your little ones engaging in encouraging self-talk while working on a new or difficult task?