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Shampoo Bars 101

There is one very frightening thing in my life. Something that has been consistently the greatest, most out of control, and detested bane in my life. My cross to bear, if you will.

You may be wondering what could possibly inspire such negativity? One word. Hair.

You read that right. And I’m not alone. There are plenty of us out there who have more bad hair days than good. And I have been a firm member of the Bad Hair Club for years. Let me set the scene for you a little bit.

My hair is super thick. Emphasis on the super. I could literally donate some to three other people and it would still be too thick . You wouldn’t happen to want some, would you?

Add to that, it’s wavy, naturally frizzy, and damaged. The damage is all my fault, a result of too much experimentation and too often.

My mother went back to school when I was growing up, taking up cosmetology and due to some fairly relaxed instructors who didn’t mind well-behaved children, I tagged along to most of her classes. Somehow during all of that, I turned into a living mannequin head that had more haircuts, fingerwaves, pin curls, wash and sets (picture little old lady hair), facials, and manicures that I could ever count. It was a ton of fun, and I have so many fond memories from back then. The downside? It inspired a devil-may-care attitude towards hair experimentation. And when those pesky teen years hit a few years later, the game was on.

If it can be done to hair, it’s probably been done to mine. Permed, highlighted, bleached, curled, crimped, chemically straightened, coloring removal,and thinned. It’s been every length from mid-ear to mid-back. And every color from platinum (Which may have looked good on Marilyn, but not me.), jet black, auburn, every shade of brown, pink, carrot orange, green, and burgundy. Those last four? Thanks to some bad dye jobs, I swear. All in the same week, too. Two words. . . . Hat. Week.

All of that left me with hair that on occasion resembled a cross between Bozo the Clown’s and Carrot Top’s. And with a routine that consisted of regular keratin treatments, hot oil, anti-frizz serum, hairspray, and a lot of time spent with a flat iron.

Until I found a secret weapon. Shampoo bars.

It’s been over a year since I started using them, and my hair has never looked better. It’s less frizzy, shinier, and has grown unbelievably fast. Shocker of shockers, I’ve even received the first ever compliments on it. You could have bowled me over the first time it happened.

 

Before Shampoo Bar

After Selfie

You can’t tell me that’s not 100% better. Am I right?

And my routine? On a day to day basis, nothing other than a thorough brushing and a DIY coconut oil mask every few weeks. On special occasions, a few minutes in hot rollers and I’m done.

Which leads me to the purpose of this post: Shampoo Bars 101.

What exactly are shampoo bars?
They’re exactly what they sound like, shampoo in a bar form with most of the ingredients in them chosen specifically for the benefits they’ll impart to hair. Also, unlike liquid shampoos, most shampoo bars are sodium laurel sulfate/sodium laureth sulfate free.

What are the benefits?
Most people (including yours truly) experience less frizzy, shinier, and faster growing hair. Other benefits can include less dandruff and more volume. Plus, most bars are made to be completely natural and even better, you might be able to go a day or two longer between washes.

What are the cons?
Shampoo bars don’t lather up quite as much as regular shampoo, especially if you have hard water. And some people report slightly drier hair, commonly on the ends. Lastly, when switching to a shampoo bar, there may be a transitional period during which your hair is adjusting to the lack of chemicals that are in regular shampoo. During this time it might become frizzier, dryer, easier to tangle, or oilier. Or a combination of all of the above. This transitional period can last from a few days to a few weeks. For me, it lasted two weeks.

How long do the bars last?
Months. I made the switch in August 2013, and I’ve since gone through two bars and only started on the third tonight. By the way, they make great travel soaps, and if bentonite clay is one of the ingredients (like with our Lavender Rosemary Shampoo Bars), they can also be used as a shaving soap (bentonite clay allows razor blades to glide smoothly across skin).

Lavender Rosemary Shampoo with text

Can you use regular conditioner afterwards?
You totally can. I don’t. I use an apple cider vinegar rinse (recipe at the bottom) to help restore my scalp’s pH level and close the cuticles.

What about other products?
You can continue to use those, too. But I’ve found that I don’t really need them anymore.

How do you use them?
1) Wet hair thoroughly.
2) Either rub the bar directly on your head to create lather or rub it between your hands and apply the lather to your head.
3) Rinse very well, allowing the water and suds to flow through the length of your hair.
4) Apply an apple cider vinegar rinse. You can either rinse it out after a couple of minutes or leave it in.

ACV Rinse
The following is a recipe for a 1:1 ratio of rinse (1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to every 1 cup of water). I mainly use a 2:1 ratio (2 tablespoons of vinegar to 1 cup of water).

Mix 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 2 cups of water. If you have shorter or thinner hair, you can try halving the recipe.

*You can also try steeping the rinse in a pot on top of the stove with certain herbs for 15 – 30 minutes. My favorites are fresh rosemary and calendula petals. Rosemary encourages hair growth and adds shine, while calendula conditions, soothes sensitive scalps, adds shine and warm highlights.

IMG_20140625_164407804

Other herbs you can try are chamomile (great for adding highlights to lighter colored hair), nettle (excellent for dandruff), lemon balm (acts as a mild astringent, so perfect for oily hair), rose petals (perfect for brightening red hair), etc.

And the last question you might have. . . .

Where can I purchase your Lavender Rosemary Shampoo Bars?

From our Etsy shop, here.

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30 Random Acts of Kindness Revealed.

Since tomorrow is my birthday, I thought I’d finally share my 30 Random Acts with you.

This year has been a little difficult; I’ve either been sick, injured, or recovering from either one of those, so it took a lot longer than I expected to complete. But I did finish them. Some were done multiple times, but I’m only counting them once. And there are probably a few I’m leaving out, but here we go!

1) Gave a stranger a sincere compliment.

2) Baked a cake for someone.

3) Returned a stranger’s shopping cart.

4) Gave a bottle of water to a Salvation Army bell ringer. (I was going to do coffee or hot cocoa, but it was a really hot day.)

5) Allowed someone to go ahead of me in line on Black Friday. (Does that mean it should count for two? No?)

6) Held a stranger’s place in line. (Also on Black Friday.)

7) Taped an envelope to a hospital vending machine with change in it.

vending mach

8) Left quarters in the toy vending machines at a store.

toy vending machines

9) Gave free bars of soap to customers.

10) Adopted a child from the angel tree.

11) Left laundry detergent pods at a laundromat.

detergent

12) Helped someone paint a room.

13) Fixed lunch for someone.

14) Gave a stranger a soda on a hot day.

15) Left five $1 bills in random places at Dollar Tree.

16) Held the door for someone.

17) Held the elevator for someone.

18) Left a 100% tip for a barista.

19) Paid for someone’s order behind me in line.

20) Left a book in a hospital waiting room.

21) Helped a stranger with a recipe in the grocery store.

22) Give free bath bombs to customers.

23) Donated old cell phone.

24) Donated old eyeglasses.

Donated Glasses

25) Gave someone the correct change at the grocery store.

26) Bought someone’s lunch.

27) Donated to the Boys and Girls Club.

28) Complimented a mom on her very well behaved child.

29) Hid coupons at the grocery store.

30) Helped a stranger with their shopping bags at a store.

And a few extras. . . .

31) Spent a day giving sincere compliments to everyone I talked to.

32) Donated 7500 Viggle points to the American Red Cross. Viggle is an app that allows you to check into television shows and earn points. You can then cash in those points for gift cards, merchandise, charitable donations, etc.

Screenshot_2014-10-12-22-47-24

33) Bought something for a toy drive.

34) Shared a Redbox code for a free dvd rental with a stranger.

 

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Ugh. . . Just Ugh.

I have landed myself in a mess. Literally.

I wish I could tell you that the above was the result of climbing a mountain or falling off a horse or anything more adventurous than what really happened.

Four little porch steps and this happens. You read that right. I tripped down the steps, completely missed the last two, felt my ankle almost fold in two, flew through the air, and landed face first in the dirt. I’m just as graceful as a ballerina, right?

Look away now if you’re at all squeamish.
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Yeah, not a pretty sight. Not too pleasant feeling, either. They’re not sure if it’s broken or really badly sprained. Based on past experience with sprains and the fact that I can’t put any weight on it at all without screaming like a banshee, I’m voting for broken. I don’t do anything by halves. Not at all. When I injure myself, I really get the job done, am I right or am I right? Ugh.

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Self Interview – Alabama Style

Alabama Women Bloggers is hosting a fantastic “Getting to know you” question and answer link up this month, and you just know I had to join in. So, here’s a little bit about me.



1. What part of the state do you call home? 
I live in Elba, which is located in Coffee County deep in the southeastern portion of the state. Also called the Wiregrass area, Lower Alabama, the Peanut Capital of the World, and I’m sure a lot of other nicknames. 

2. How long have you been blogging? 
Since 2010, although I have taken a break from it for a few weeks at a time here and there. Everybody needs a break, right?

3. Why did you start blogging?
I used to be really big into writing. I wrote on any and everything. . . diaries, notebooks, computers, scraps of paper, basically anything I could get my hands on. But with helping my mother take care of my elderly grandfather, I sort of lost sight of that. After his death, I was honestly at a loss and at a low point (both of us were), so we started a farm and I began blogging about our journey. 

4. What do you love most about blogging? 
“Meeting” interesting people from all over the world, finding inspiration from other blogs, reading all of the fun comments left by readers, and generally the sense of community you feel in the blogging world. 

5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 
I try not to think about 5 or especially not 10 years down the road. I mean, I just got over turning 30. . . I don’t even want to think about 35. But I’ll probably be exactly where I am, now. Hopefully with a little flusher bank account and maybe a trip around the world under my belt πŸ™‚

6. What is your favorite movie? 
That’s a hard question, I have way too many favorites (movie junkie here) from a lot of different genres. Here goes: Taken, Where The Heart Is, Love Actually, Austenland, About A Boy, The Help, Bridesmaids, Stalag 17, Gidget, Steel Magnolias, and Captain Phillips, to name a few.

7. If you could use any actress to play you in your life, who would you choose and why? 
Wow, another hard question. I honestly don’t know, but maybe Katy Mixon from “Mike and Molly”. She seems a little zany on there and I’ve always been told I am, too πŸ˜‰

8. Name the top 5 things on your bucket list. 
Have a farm (think I can cross that one off now), travelling to London (this is something I’m really, really hoping to cross off this year *fingers crossed*), live abroad, own a horse, and travel some more (after London, maybe Ireland, Edinburgh, India, Tanzania, Russia, New Zealand, and a whole lotta other places).

9. Who or what inspired you to blog? 
I suppose that distinction would go to my grandfather. He inspired us to start the farm, which in turn inspired me to document it. 

10. If you could be known for one thing in your life, what would it be? 
Being kind. My mother is the kindest person that I know. If I could be even half that kind and compassionate, then I would be in good shape. 

11. Where is your favorite place to go on vacation? 
Honestly, it’s been a long time since I’ve been on vacation. Way, way overdue for one. My favorite vacation spot used to be my grandparent’s lakeside property in tiny Vernon, FL (the eccentric, one stop light town documented in the film Vernon, Florida), which is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Panama City Beach.  

12. Describe the best moment in your life. 
I’m single (and still searching for Prince Charming, unfortunately all I seem to find is Prince Not-So-Charming) and the only kids I have are of the goat persuasion, so the best moment of my life so far was the birth of my little cousin (first cousin once removed. . . pretty sure I got that right). He was born right before my 18th birthday and my mother and I raised him for the first few years of his life. Needless to say, he’s always been like my son more than anything else. He’s 12 years old now (oh my gosh, do I feel old or what?), but he’ll always be my baby. 

13. We’re headed to your neck of the woods for one day. What is one thing we have to do, and what restaurant we must eat at? Barbecue is a big deal in SE Alabama, so that’s a definite must. There are a lot of great places with menus that almost completely revolve around it here, but (and I’m breaking the rules a little here since it’s not a restaurant) my favorite is a little food truck in Enterprise, AL. Their barbecue is the best. . . indescribably good. While we’re there in Enterprise, checking out the Boll Weevil Monument is also a must. I mean, it’s the only monument to an insect in the entire world. Pretty cool! Then, maybe just relaxing and enjoying the outdoors for the day. Honestly, there’s not a whole lot to do around here.

14. What is a tradition you and your family have? 
It’s our tradition to put up the Christmas tree a week before Thanksgiving (I know, we’re complete early birds). Then, I wake up bright and early on Thanksgiving morning to begin cooking a huge meal. Later that day, we relax by taking in a movie, and then it’s time to get our shop on and hit the stores for Black Friday. Another tradition that I love is our family reunions. My grandmother was one of 10 children, so our reunions are a lot of fun. 

15. We all love social media, share your links so we can follow you. 
Sure! Here they are:
Maiden Hill Farm on Facebook (this is our farm’s facebook page, but I use it for the blog, too)
@MaidenHillFarm on Twitter (same goes for this one)
@maidenhillfarm on Instagram (and this one)
countrychickmhf on Pinterest
Google +
Youtube Page
Etsy Personal Page 

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A Sea of White.

If we had more land, do you know what I would plant?

I read a book years ago that described a cotton field as an, “undulating sea of white.” Of course, the quote went on comparing the field to the ocean with waves and sea life – really wish I could remember more of it because it described the feeling of looking at a field full of fluffiness perfectly. Oh well, I will certainly never be confused with one of those people that can pull perfectly profound bits of wisdom and obscure quotes off the top of their head. . . In fact, I actually forgot how old I was for an entire year once (thought I was a whole year younger, but at least I made myself younger instead of older, right?)

But no matter, this is one of my favorite sights in the world. . . . a field stretching far and wide. A few gardening catalogs had cotton seeds in them this past spring, and I came this   [ ] close to buying a pack, but you know, I think I’d rather wait and have acres and acres instead of one little raised bed.