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January 2009 - Posts - Yankee 2.0
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Yankee 2.0

January 2009 - Posts

  • Unexpected benefit of home-made stuff

    I've been slowly transitioning from store-bought to home-made for my personal and house cleaning needs. When one thing runs out (shampoo, laundry soap, etc.), I find a recipe and make it myself. I have pretty good supplies in store of most things, so it really is a slow process.

     I noticed a benefit today that I hadn't expected -- it's the calming presence of the absence of labels and brands. I was sitting in the tub (don't have a shower) and looking at the glass jars of shampoo, conditioner (the vinegar rinse), and body wash that I made. No labels -- no writing (well there's some chinese writing on the old soy sauce pourer I use for my vinegar rinse, but it's faint and I don't understand it) -- no brands! I'm in a marketing-free environment in my bath tub and it's really nice.

    I make a point of not displaying any company logos on my clothing (if they want to pay me to advertise for them, they can), and it's really nice to be lessening the corporate advertising in my home. I'm looking forward to the day when all of my products are hand-made and I can be almost completely free of advertising within my home.

  • Home-made conditioner for hair

    Okay, this might sound weird, but it really works to keep your hair soft. It's vinegar... regular old vinegar (white, red wine, apple cider) diluted 1:4 with warm water. You just pour a bit of it over your head then rinse it out after shampooing and it leaves your hair really really really soft. And it's not a "my hair is coated with synthetic smelling polymers" kind of soft -- it's soft like petting a (soft) goat or cat kind of soft.

    This is my first batch -- I used apple cider vinegar and added a few drops of lemon essential oil. It smells like vinegar when you put it on, but after rinsing it out, there's no smell. I'm going to try white vinegar next. 

     I'm working on some home-made shampoo, too, but the first batch came out too thick -- it works great, but it's a paste, not a liquid, so I'm going to change some proportions on my next batch before I post the recipe here.

  • (Free) birthday organizer

    I've been looking everywhere for a birthday book, aka perpetual calendar, which is a book where you write down people's birthdays by month. I'd seen one online that I was going to order (for $9.99 plus shipping), but their only shipping method was UPS, which doesn't work for me. 

    I found myself at CVS today and they had those free little Hallmark calendars at the register. I picked one up and realized -- aha! -- there's no need for the calendar to be undated! So I took one of these cute and slim little calendars and will write down all the birthdates of my friends, and their increasing numbers of offspring (very hard to keep track of), and can tuck it into my little day planner. What a nice solution -- especially because it was free to me.

  • Waste not, want not?

     As I was doing some baking for my annual New Year's Day brunch, I managed to finish up a jar of ground nutmeg. I have a tin of whole nutmegs, and I was glad to finish off the ground stuff so I could switch over to the less-processed variety. A friend of mine was hanging out in the kitchen with me, and I told her it made me feel virtuous to have used the whole container. "Huh," she replied.

    This friend (who is a fellow-traveller in trying to reduce debt) earns about three times what I do and has about the same amount of monthly expenses, but is often caught short on bills and definitely lives paycheck to paycheck. A little while after the nutmeg discussion, she mentioned that she would like to buy some new eyeshadow. I had some sort of reaction which led her to say that she didn't think that using eye makeup until it was empty was a virtue. This got me thinking about waste and want.

    I do think that using something up is virtuous, and that throwing something away that is perfectly good is a waste. I have eyeshadow that I remember buying in 1994 -- it doesn't go bad, and it really does last almost forever.

    As I've been becoming more frugal and mindful about spending, I've tried to separate needs from wants, and have tried to examine what I really want when I think I want a thing. Is it really eyeshadow that is wanted, or is it glamour? Is it really new shoes that are wanted, or is it to give the appearance of wealth and sophistication? And every time I give my hard-earned money to someone else, I try to be conscious that the same money could be going towards bill payoff or savings so that I won't have to work as much in the future. Certainly, I need groceries, I need heat, electricity, etc. And sometimes buying a new pair of shoes (or eyeshadow) feels great! But in consciously wasting as little as possible (by not throwing things away, by using things up, by buying just what i need for groceries, and cooking up what's in the fridge), I notice that my wanting is also reduced. 

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