Holistically Speaking...

Wow, here I am again: the summer has flown by and I'm on the verge of a new school year. This seems to be the only time I update my blog! In a nutshell, I'll tell you how my summer went, but first things first: yes, I got my hair cut off, yes, some lucky cancer patient will get a nice wig, and yes I love it! I only cut it a couple weeks ago and wish I had done it at the BEGINNING of our Texas summer!

Let me see if I can correctly reminisce on my summer that went by way too fast... In June, I went to S. Padre with my parents, kiddos and a cousin who is the same age as my oldest. We played on the beach and relaxed. It was my little one's first time to the beach and he absolutely loved playing in the sand. What three-year-old boy wouldn't love getting sand in every nook and cranny of his body? I've got some great shots I'll post later.

In July, our family joined our extended family for a weekend in a Jamaica Beach bay house. We had a private pool, kayaks, my uncle's boat, fabulous food, and of course, plenty of margaritas (need I say more?). The house was huge with wrap-around decks, perfect for morning yoga sessions. At night, we saw giant jelly fish swimming near the bulkhead that appeared to glow in the dark. Hubby brought home some palm seeds to attempt to germinate them, and so far the experiment's proven successful! Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures from this weekend, as I left my camera behind. I know, where was my head?!

I became an avid environmentalist and went on a mad rampage detoxing our home after reading Sophie Uliano's Gorgeously Green, which I highly recommend to all women. I gathered all cleaning products that would send someone to the ER if ingested and scrutinized the labels on our personal care products for chemicals such as parabens and phthalates other harmful ingredients. I gathered all old paint and solvents to place in my "toxic waste" pile. They will be properly disposed of as soon as I can get to the waste facility. I replaced my cleaners with either homemade or store-bought "greener" versions.

I also decided to go completely organic with most, if not all of our food, and even re-examined my beauty regime. Here are a few things I learned:

1) NEVER use henna hair dye! This attempt was a complete waste of time. It took a total of three hours from preparation to rinsing, smelled like burnt potatoes and didn't color a single strand! My back was so sore the next day after posing myself in compromising positions to rinse the crap out in my bath tub.

2) Did you know most nail polish contains formaldehyde? Well I didn't until recently, so out went all my favorite nail polishes. My toes were naked ALL summer!!! That is, until I found a non-toxic nail polish at Whole Foods, my new favorite store! It's from Zoya and only $5.99, AND in my favorite shade of red!

3) After searching high and low for a paraben-free body lotion that I wouldn't have to sell my body to buy, I decided to purchase the one liter Lavender 365 Everyday Value from Whole Foods. You can't go wrong with lavender, right? WRONG! The stuff smelled like a sushi bar (not fishy, but a combination of ginger, wasabi, vinegar & soy sauce), that is, until I added a few drops of grapefruit and lavender essential oil. I live too far away to return it so I had to make do somehow. It did the trick. I later decided to buy the unscented version and added one of my favorite essential oil blends. Smells great!

4) Speaking of essential oils, I wanted to take a relaxing bath and experiment with my new oils. After all, synthetically scented bubble bath will have one swimming in an array of toxic chemicals. I ended up adding too much citrus and broke out in an itchy rash on my back! It was relieved after a cool shower and exfoliation. Lesson learned: a little bit goes a long way.

5) I tossed my heavy metal anti-perspirant, loaded with aluminum, a known neurotoxin (I had no idea!) and replaced it with a natural deodorant. I've been using Tom's of Maine Unscented and it does the job well. I do have to freshen up more often, especially if I'm outside sweatin.'

It's definitely been a learning process, but not all were failed attempts:

I discovered how wonderful jojoba oil is as a moisturizer. I bought Jason's Organic Jojoba Oil and that is simply all I use on my face after cleansing with my organic cleanser (Avalon Organic Vitamin C). The oil naturally balances out the complexion as it closely mimics the sebum produced by our skin. Skin Deep is a great reference site for determining how safe your cosmetics are.

I have a greater peace of mind knowing that I'm making better choices for a healthier family, home and planet. I really did not take the time to think about how everything we do impacts our planet and it's fundamental to make as many changes as possible. Every little bit helps. Before reading Gorgeously Green, we were already recycling as much as we could, making sure to turn off lights and not waste electricity, replaced our light bulbs with CFLs, use energy-efficient appliances whenever possible, is conservative with our water use and I had been purchasing a few organic products. Knowledge is power and I'm certainly more empowered after reading this book. In addition to everything mentioned, we're composting our food and veggie scraps, using refillable Sigg bottles for water, using aerators for our shower heads, and generally thinking twice about what we buy, the packaging it comes in and what we throw away or how we toss it. Now my entire family is involved and it's awesome! :)

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