How to Make a Candle Out of a Tangerine, Clementine or Satsuma

I am so excited to write this post because this is one of the coolest things I've ever learned - how to make a completely natural candle using only a Mandarin orange and a little vegetable oil.

How to Make a Candle Out of a Tangerine, Clementine or Satsuma


You'll Need:

- a Mandarin orange (any tangerine, clementine or satsuma will do)
- a small knife
- vegetable oil (both olive oil and coconut oil have worked in my experience, so I assume any vegetable oil will work as well)
- essential oils (optional)
- a small bowl to hold the finished candle


How to Make a Candle Out of a Tangerine, Clementine or Satsuma1. Cut horizontally around the center of the mandarin, just deep enough to get through the skin.

2. Carefully remove the top half of the peel (the side with the stem) from the fruit inside, making sure the pith inside remains attached to the skin. This is important.

How to Make a Candle Out of a Tangerine, Clementine or Satsuma
3. If the pith is frayed, gently twist it so that the fruit fibers are stuck together and stand up straight. This will become your candle wick.

4. Fill the peel with vegetable oil up to a centimeter below the pith, making sure to also soak the "wick." Add a few drops of essential oil for extra fragance if you want.

5. Place the peel in a small bowl to prevent it from tipping over and set it alight, and now you have a completely natural candle! The "wick" may take awhile to light since it could still be damp from the fruit juices, but with a little patience it will light eventually.

If you want to get really creative, carve a design into the other half of the peel and cap it over your candle.

How to Make a Candle Out of a Tangerine, Clementine or Satsuma
Make sure your design is large enough so the edges won't be burned by the flame. You can see here that my eight-pointed star is a little singed.

This candle burns extremely clean and actually burns for a very long time, depending on how much oil the peel holds or how often you refill it.

This little project delights me to no end, because I love it when really beautiful and functional things can be made out of something so natural and simple. Have fun! And don't forget to eat the fruit too.

If you'd like to make a candle that lasts a little longer, check out this recipe for making candles using beeswax.

How to Clean Your Hairbrushes & Combs

Most people don't give any thought to how clean their hairbrushes and combs are, but the truth is that they are amongst the dirtiest tools you use in your grooming regimen because they are probably cleaned the least.

How to Clean Your Hairbrushes & Combs

Over time, hair, dead skin cells and oil and grease from your scalp get trapped in your hairbrushes and combs (not to mention any hair products you may also be using), which makes it even easier for more dust and fiber to collect within the bristles and teeth. This becomes a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, yeast, fungi and parasites to grow, and every time you run your brush or comb through your hair, you are dragging all that disgusting grime back across your scalp.

You'll Need:
- white vinegar
- hot water
- antibacterial soap
- old toothbrush, toothpick and scissors (optional)
1. Remove any hair that is caught between the bristles and teeth of your hairbrushes and combs. You can do this simply by pulling at loose strands with your fingers, but if they are particularly tangled, use scissors to carefully cut apart any knots, and a toothpick to pull the hair apart. Try to get most, if not all of it out.
2. Put a mixture of about one part hot water and one part white vinegar in a cup or bowl, and soak your hairbrushes and combs in the solution. Allow them to soak for at least an hour. The vinegar will help lift away any grime and loosen trapped dead skin cells.
3. Take your hairbrushes and combs out of the vinegar solution, and use antibacterial soap and water to give them a good cleaning. If you're having a hard time getting between the bristles and teeth, use an old toothbrush to scrub the hard-to-reach places.
4. Leave the hairbrushes and combs out to dry in a well-ventilated place.

And there you have it. Keep your hair and scalps clean, everyone.

How to Make a Natural Moisturizing Cream

I previously posted instructions for making your own lotion bars, but if you'd rather make a moisturizing lotion with a lighter consistency that you can put in a jar, then read on.

You'll Need:
- organic virgin coconut oil
- beeswax
- vitamin E capsules (optional)
- essential oils (optional)
- container for the finished product
- tools for a double boiler
1. Heat two parts organic virgin coconut oil to one part beeswax in a double boiler, stirring the mixture as it melts completely into a liquid. Refer to my post on making lotion bars for details on how to create a double boiler. TIP: Add more beeswax for a firmer cream, add less for a more liquid consistency.
2. When the mixture is completely liquid, take it off the heat, and squeeze the gel from vitamin E capsules into it as well, if you wish. Add as much or as little as you want. I generally only use one capsule per every half cup of moisturizing cream.
3. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oils into the mixture if you'd like for fragrance, or for their beneficial properties. Remember to stir everything together evenly. TIP: Tea tree oil and lavender essential oils both have anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and calming properties.
4. Pour the mixture into the container you prepared to hold your moisturizing cream. Make sure you are using a sterilized and clean container. I recommend using a glass container so it can withstand the initial heat of the mixture.
5. Once the mixture cools to room temperature, it should have a creamy consistency that won't be as greasy as solid lotion bars.
To Use:
Apply your finished moisturizing cream to your face and body as you would any other lotion.
How to Make a Natural Moisturizing CreamI only like using organic virgin coconut oil for my moisturizing cream, lotion bars and lip balms; however, feel free to use any other oil that you feel comfortable with. If you do choose to use virgin coconut oil, keep in mind that it solidifies at cooler temperatures, which means you may not need as much beeswax if you live in a cooler climate or when the weather is cold.
Also, as this moisturizing cream is made from all natural ingredients, keep in mind that it will have an expiry date. You won't be eating it, but the oils could turn rancid. I generally consider the expiration date for the finished product to be the same as the ingredient with the earliest expiry date. Deduct another month if you want to be extra cautious.
This is an incredibly easy and cheap way to create your own natural moisturizing cream, and I find it works so much better than store-bought moisturizing creams, which are filled with a lot of unnecessary chemicals. Feel free to mix different kinds of oils in your batch and experiment with ratios. Have fun!

How to Give Yourself a Simple, Natural Manicure & Pedicure

How to Give Yourself a Simple, Natural Manicure & Pedicure
Paying for manicures and pedicures becomes a costly habit, but many people think the alternative - doing it yourself - is just too much of a hassle. However, you can easily perform a simple manicure or pedicure on yourself in the comfort of your own home, using materials you likely already have in your kitchen. You really don't need the chemical-laden fancy soaps and exfoliants that beauty salons provide to keep your fingers and toes clean and looking pretty. Although going to salons can be relaxing, it's pricey and you also run the risk of picking up infections from improperly cleaned and sterilized tools.

You'll Need:

- warm water
- milk or apple cider vinegar/rice vinegar/white vinegar
- baking soda
- nail clippers, cuticle stick, nail buffer
- towel
- moisturizer
- essential oils (optional)


1. Start with polish-free nails, and soak your hands or feet in a bowl/bucket of milk or vinegar of your choice. The lactic acid in milk helps gently loosen dead cells from your skin, while vinegar does the same thing. DO NOT mix milk and vinegar together; that could get messy. If you would rather not use milk or vinegar, soak your hands/feet in a bowl/bucket of warm water instead. Feel free to add a few drops of your favorite essential oils into the water to create a soothing fragrance. If you suffer from any kind of bacterial or fungal infection, I would suggest adding a few drops of tea tree oil, which has very effective natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
2. Rinse off your hands/feet, and now is the time to use your nail clipper to trim your nails to your desired length and shape. Use your cuticle stick and nail buffer to shape your cuticles and buff the surface of your nails too, if you wish.
3. Create a paste using baking soda and warm water, and use this to gently scrub your hands/feet to exfoliate them. After you're done, rinse off the paste and dry your hands/feet; you'll find your skin will feel very soft and smooth.
4. Rub some moisturizer into your skin and cuticles to keep them hydrated, and you're done! Put on some nail polish if you'd like.


There is no science or absolute rule to how you can perform manicures and pedicures. Feel free to omit some steps, add some steps, and substitute natural ingredients if you'd like. Just remember to make sure all the things you are using are clean and sterile.

Salubrious Selection: Make Up For Ever HD Foundation

Salubrious Selection: Make Up For Ever HD FoundationMake Up For Ever's High Definition Foundation is my new favorite foundation. I know $40 per one 30ml-bottle of foundation may not seem to fall in line with my generally frugal habits, but just a little bit of this stuff goes a long way. I think for the quality of the product and for the fact that one bottle lasts a surprising amount of time, it's quite worth it. This product is also dermatologist tested, and of course, MUFE is a cruelty-free brand.


This foundation is a medium-to-full coverage liquid foundation, and according to MUFE, is oil-free. It may not seem that way since it does come out of the bottle rather runny with a creamy consistency, but it does dry very quickly. MUFE says this foundation moisturizes while hiding skin imperfections, with the product remaining invisible on HD cameras and to the naked eye. I think this a bit of an exaggeration, but I do still think the product works well and blends well.


The foundation comes in a simple, sturdy, no-nonsense pump bottle, which I like. It may be strange to focus on the pump nozzle, but I really appreciate how the bottle dispenses a very appropriate amount of product with one squeeze. Not too much, not too little, and so far I have not experienced any air pockets finding their way into the nozzle, causing an explosion of foundation when you press it, either.

If you prefer medium-to-full coverage, one pump of the nozzle is enough, but if you enjoy very full coverage, go ahead and use two pumps. I find that even with two pumps of foundation, it still manages to look and feel natural on my skin. However, I prefer light coverage, and I love how only using half a pump of this foundation is enough for sheer coverage where I need it.

What's also great about this line of MUFE foundation is that it comes in a wide range of over two dozen shades, so most people can find a color match as true to their skin tone as possible. Some people even choose to blend two different colors together, or use different colors for highlighting and contouring.

Salubrious Selection: Make Up For Ever HD Foundation


I've read that some people have experienced cakiness or an appearance of dry skin after using this foundation. I have not experienced this. Then again, I have oily skin, so this may have helped the product blend into my skin better.

However,  I have noticed that any brand of foundation tends to look cakey if it isn't evenly applied, or looks dry if a person's skin is not properly hydrated. I would say for cakiness, try using a different method to apply the foundation. If the foundation appears dry, apply a thin layer of moisturizer before applying foundation, and remember that in general, drink enough water so that your skin stays hydrated!

Also, I also used to complain about foundation products looking unnatural on my skin, until I realized how important it was to really match your foundation to your skin tone. Take your time to find a color match as true to your skin color as possible, and walk around for awhile after application to see how it looks under different lighting and after oxidation. Sometimes foundation seems to make your makeup look a lot worse, and really the biggest problem was that it wasn't the right color for your skin. Finding the right shade really makes a world of difference.

To Apply:

The MUFE website suggests using soft sponges or nylon brushes to apply this foundation. I personally like a good stippling brush to apply my foundation, and prefer the SEPHORA COLLECTION Pro Stippling Brush #44. I've been using it for well over a year and it hasn't let me down yet.

How to Use Cocoa Powder as a Natural Bronzer or as Contouring Makeup

If you're looking for a more natural, cheap alternative to cosmetic bronzers, just look in your kitchen cabinet and see if you have any unsweetened cocoa powder. If you're in the habit of using bronzer, cocoa powder works as an amazing alternative. The deep, chocolate color of cocoa powder also works fantastically well for contouring purposes. It is important to only use unsweetened cocoa powder, to avoid sweeping sugar or other sweeteners onto your face.

Just set aside some cocoa powder in a small container, so you don't contaminate your entire box of powder, and apply it to your face using a contouring or bronzing blush as you would regular makeup. Cocoa powder is a pretty dark powder though, so remember to tap off the excess. If it's still too dark for your liking, just mix some corn starch into it until it's a shade that you think is appropriate for your skin tone. This is pretty much the same idea as using corn starch as a face powder, just with different ratios.

If you're allergic to cocoa, I wouldn't recommend using cocoa powder on your skin. However, if you have no sensitives to cocoa, I say go for it. I've been doing this for awhile and have not had any adverse reactions or breakouts due to using cocoa powder on my skin. Some people use cinnamon powder in their home-made bronzer recipes to create more of a glow. I would personally advise against this as cinnamon can be a very strong irritant, and there is a risk that leaving cinnamon on your skin for an extended period of time could cause irritation, or even a more serious rash. However, try it if you really must, just be careful.

In my opinion, cocoa powder seems to have much better staying power than many other pricey cosmetic brands of makeup out there, which is great, since it's much cheaper and one box lasts a very, very long time. Not to mention the fact that I usually have so much trouble finding affordable matte brown makeup colors for the purposes of contouring and bronzing. And even better yet, sometimes when I'm out and about, I catch the very slight scent of the cocoa powder on my face, and every time it's a subtle and pleasant sensory surprise.

Healthier Alternatives to Dry-Cleaning Your Clothes

Healthier Alternatives to Dry-Cleaning Your Clothes

Before we get into why you should switch to healthier alternatives instead of dry-cleaning, let's first go over what dry-cleaning actually is.

What is Dry-Cleaning, and How is it Harmful?

Don't let the term "dry-cleaning" fool you, most clothes that are dry-cleaned are actually doused with liquid chemicals to remove stains and smells before the garments are returned to their owners.

One of the more common chemicals used during the dry-cleaning process is a solvent called perchloroethylene, which is very effective at removing stains and is considered very economical because it can be reused. However, some studies say that such chemicals can cause health problems both for employees who work at a dry-cleaning businesses, and for those who wear clothes that have been dry-cleaned. How much a person is affected is said to depend on the amount of exposure they've had, but possible symptoms from exposure to perchloroethylene include dizziness, fatigue, headaches, confusion, nausea, and irritation to the skin, lungs and eyes. Keep in mind, there is debate regarding just how dangerous dry-cleaning chemicals are, but I prefer to err on the side of safety.

Dry-cleaning is also bad for the environment due to its air emissions and hazardous waste. Toxic pollutants are released into the air when clothes are being dried of their chemical cleansers, and any residual chemicals become hazardous waste. Whether such waste is properly recycled or disposed depends on whether businesses abide by environmental safety policies, and whether local authorities enforce them.

But the Tag On My Clothes Says "Dry-clean Only"

Many people will find a tag that reads "dry-clean only" on their fancier articles of clothing. However, that is only because clothing manufacturers must tell consumers at least one way to clean their clothes, and it's simply easier to list "dry-clean only" as the way to handle more delicate items.

In fact, suits are one of the most common dry-cleaned pieces of clothing, but did you know that the more often you dry-clean your suits, the faster you actually ruin them? Suits actually last a lot longer and keep their shape and form a lot better if you steam-clean them, rather than dry-clean them. We'll get into this more later.

Why Should I Switch to Other Alternatives?

It's healthier, environmentally-friendlier and overall, cheaper.

What are Healthier Alternatives to Dry-Cleaning Clothes?

Washing with Cold Water
If your garment is unstructured (without lining or shoulder pads) and is made out of a natural fiber - such as cotton, linen, silk or wool - you can probably safely wash it in a machine using cold water. Remember, cold, not hot. If it is extremely delicate, put the garment in a mesh bag before tossing it into the machine or simply wash it by hand. Be careful if it's a deep color, you may want to wash it separately from your other clothes first to make sure it doesn't bleed. For drying, either run it through the spin cycle of your washing machine to wring out the water or lay it out on a flat clean surface to dry. Avoid using the dryer, as this may cause your clothes to shrink.

Steam Cleaning
There are a lot of affordable portable steam cleaners on the market now that you can invest in to clean your clothes. Hot steam helps lift the dirt, grime and even smell from your clothing. Steam cleaners are great for cleaning suits and more structured clothes, as it also doubles as a way to smooth out wrinkles. It is also effective in lifting particularly stubborn stains. However, avoid directing the steam at the same area on a piece of clothing for too long, as the high temperature may ruin it. Also, keep in mind that steam cleaning is NOT the same as steam drying, which can set stains if you don't treat them first. Remember to lay out or hang up your clothes to dry after steam-cleaning, and be careful, because the steam can get very, VERY hot.

Brushing Away the Dirt
If your clothes aren't particularly dirty or smelly, just use a densely bristled brush to gently brush the surface grime away. Doing this often instead of putting the garment through a full-on cleansing procedure every time you wear it will help it last a lot longer.

Choosing An Eco-Friendly Dry Cleaner
If you're lucky enough to live an area where there is an environmentally friendly dry cleaner instead of one that uses typical hazardous chemicals, and you're not confident enough to clean your more delicate garments, then bring your clothes to them. Usually such cleaners use a pressurized method to clean clothes rather than use toxic chemicals. Just make sure to ask the cleaner about their methods to ensure that they are, in fact, eco-friendly.

What if There is a Giant Stain On My Clothes that I Can't Get Off?

If you happen to horrifically stain your clothes in such a manner that you absolutely need to take it to the dry cleaners, then fine. However, truthfully, if you managed to stain your clothes so badly that there is absolutely nothing you can do about it, chances are the dry cleaners will have a tough time fixing the problem too.

Avoid Getting Your Nice Clothes Dirty to Begin With

You can avoid the hassle of trying to clean your fancier clothes more often by simply keeping them clean. Ways you can do this include ...

- treating any stains immediately before they set. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to clean later

- airing out your clothes at the end of the day. If your clothes aren't particularly dirty, but smell bad because you were in a smokey or poorly-ventilated location, airing them out before putting them away helps them last a little while longer before you need to get them cleaned

- keeping them away from toiletries and makeup. If you often spill bath or makeup products onto your clothes, either use the products before getting dressed or cover your outfit with a robe or towel while you get ready for the day.

Which is Worse, Sunblock or the Sun?

Which is Worse, Sunblock or the Sun?

Most of us have heard how important it is to put on sunblock every day before heading out to prevent developing skin cancer from exposure to the sun's rays. However, this fails to take into account how important sun exposure is in order for our bodies to develop a sufficient amount of vitamin D, which is vital to our well being. The idea of incorporating sunblock into our daily regimen before going outside also fails to take into account the many chemicals included in sunblock lotions that are also potentially harmful to human health.

So which is worse? Exposure to the sun's rays or exposure to the chemicals added to most sunblock lotions?


Benefits of Sun Exposure

Which is Worse, Sunblock or the Sun?Vitamin D is most efficiently produced in the body through sun exposure. Although it is also available through certain foods such as salmon and mushrooms, many cases of vitamin D deficiency can be attributed to not getting enough exposure to sunlight. When the sun's UV rays penetrate a person's skin, a complicated reaction occurs that creates vitamin D in the body, which helps boost the person's ability to absorb calcium and phosphorous. This is particularly important because this helps regulate our bone-calcium metabolism, and an insufficient amount of vitamin D in the body can result in bones that do not form properly. Vitamin D deficiencies in children can be especially apparent, as it can cause rickets, a disease characterised by skeletal deformities, often resulting in legs that are curved or bowed.

Drawbacks of Sun Exposure

Spending too much time under the sun can result in deep burns that can penetrate the skin several layers deep, and result in serious skin damage. Although the burns themselves may seem temporary, they do long term damage by destroying the elasticity in our skin, thus increasing the number of wrinkles and age spots that appear down the road, not to mention weakening our skin so that its ability to heal becomes much slower. Sun burns also don't only occur on hot days, as they are a result of radiation penetrating the skin, rather than heat from the sun. So don't be fooled into thinking you can't get a sunburn during the winter season. If you're spending hours outdoors and the sun is out, it's still wise to protect your skin.

And of course, another serious consequence of too much sun exposure is skin cancer. Too much sun exposure increases the chances of abnormal skin cells growing out of control, which can spread to the body's organs, cause tumors, and even eventually death.

Also, please don't be one of those people who claim tanning beds won't put you at that same risk. A UV light from a tanning bed is the same as UV radiation from the sun, and can be equally or even more harmful, considering people just "bake" inside these beds so they can tan as much of their body as possible.

Benefits of Sunblock Lotion

Sunblock, although not as effective as avoiding the sun altogether, is a great way to protect your skin against UV rays when you're outdoors. Most chemical ingredients in sunblock lotions effectively absorb UV radiation before it reaches your skin, while physical ingredients effectively block the radiation so that it is reflected away instead.

The SPF numbers on sunblock bottles indicate how much longer you can spend under the sun without burning if you use the product. For example, if the bottle claims it has an SPF of 15, you should be able to get sun exposure 15 times longer than you normally would without burning. If the bottle claims it has an SPF of 50 of more, then you may be able to spend 50 times longer under the sun without burning.

Drawbacks of Sunblock Lotion

Sunblock lotions themselves can be harmful to the human body beyond just causing rashes or other allergic reactions. Some scientific studies claim that the chemicals added to many sunblock lotions can disrupt the body's metabolism and hormone production. In fact, some of these harmful ingredients accumulate within the body after long term daily application, and may even contribute to various types of cancer once absorbed through the skin.


So should we or shouldn't we be using sunblock?

For me personally, whether or not I use sunblock depends on the situation. Usually, the only exposure to direct sunlight I get is during my commute to and from work during the day, and I don't feel like these short blocks of time under the sun are putting my health at risk. Being a fair-skinned person, I feel I am getting just the right amount of sun exposure during my commute (perhaps even not enough!), which is why I choose not to use sunblock on a daily basis. However, if I know I will be under direct sunlight for an extended amount of time, and/or if I am walking about outdoors when the sun is highest (usually between 10am-2pm), then I will apply sunblock onto my skin.

It is also worth mentioning that many cosmetic products, especially foundations and daytime moisturizers, contain chemicals — such as titanium dioxide — normally found in sunblock lotions. That is something you should also take into account if you normally wear makeup.

If you are fair-skinned like I am, then it's probably prudent to be more careful about the amount of sun exposure you get, especially if you don't wish to apply chemical-laden sunblock onto your body. If you are dark-skinned, you are luckier and can probably spend more time under the sun sunblock-free without worrying too much about any health risks

In conclusion, do what you think is appropriate for your particular skin tone. You know best as to how sensitive your skin is and what products you're willing to use on your body.

How to Use Baking Soda as a Face Mask

How to Use Baking Soda as a Face Mask

I've already mentioned that I think baking soda is the perfect face and body exfoliant; it's a cheap and natural alternative to commercial exfoliants, does the job well, but doesn't feel as if you're rubbing coarse sand over your skin.

Well, I've also discovered that baking soda works as a great face mask, leaving my skin feeling very soft and smooth even without any exfoliating action. It seems to draw all the impurities out, eliminating any blackheads and helping bring annoying pimples to a head. This a quick and easy treatment for your face if you don't feel like going through the trouble of exfoliating, or if you think exfoliation is too harsh for your skin.


What You'll Need:

- baking soda
- warm water


How to Use Baking Soda as a Face Mask1. Pour about a a tablespoon of baking soda into the palm of your hand.
2. Add a few drops of water into the baking soda until it becomes a soft paste.
3. Spread the paste over your face, being careful to avoid the eyes. It'll sting!
4. Leave the paste on your face for at least 5 minutes before rinsing off with warm water. If it starts to feel uncomfortable or sting before the time is up, feel free to rinse it off sooner.


A simple paste of baking soda and water works fine, but I personally like to make a face mask out of baking soda and honey instead. I also like to do this in the shower to avoid making a mess, and also so I can steam my skin a little before rinsing the mixture off.

How to Use Aloe Vera Gel as a More Natural Makeup Primer

How to Use Aloe Vera Gel as a Makeup PrimerUsing a makeup primer on your skin helps create a smooth surface for easier makeup application, but most makeup primers are either very expensive or loaded with chemicals. This is why I switched to using aloe vera gel as a makeup primer instead. It works just as well as most store-bought makeup primers and contains fewer chemicals that could possibly be bad for my skin or toxic to my body. It also work as a fantastic barrier against outside elements, such as pollution, which means healthier skin.

Not only does aloe vera gel fill in the small wrinkles and pores in your skin to create a much smoother surface for makeup application, I've found it is also very affective in controlling oily skin and shine. As a result, makeup looks a lot more even and lasts longer throughout the day. Aloe vera also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and those characteristics combined with its ability to control sebum production makes it a great primer for those with oily or acne-prone skin.

To use aloe vera gel as a primer, simply spread a thin layer over your face as you would a regular makeup primer. I find a few large drops is enough. Wait a minute for the aloe to dry before applying your makeup. It may feel a little tacky on your skin, but makeup still goes on pretty smoothly.

Of course, unless you're using aloe vera squeezed directly from the plant, most aloe vera gels are not completely chemical-free, and will contain a few preservatives to keep it from going rancid too quickly. In this case, do some research and try to find a brand that has as few extra additives as possible, or at least chemicals that aren't known to cause irritation or other adverse side effects.

My aloe vera gel of choice is Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera 100% Gel, 24 oz (680 g), which does contain a few preservatives, but nothing unnecessary such as added fragrance or coloring.

How to Use Oil to Naturally Moisturize Your Lips

How to Use Oil to Naturally Moisturize Your LipsMost store-bought lip balms and moisturizers just don't work on my lips — even the most expensive kinds that are advertised as being "all natural." My lips are so sensitive to any kind of chemical that they often become drier after I use store-bought lip balms, to the point of becoming so chapped they would sometimes peel and bleed. Other times, the area around my mouth will break out in a rash.

So, I decided to go back to basics, like the rest of my skin-care and beauty regimen, and only use extra virgin olive oil on my lips instead. Now, not only are my lips incredibly moisturized, but just a couple drops of oil are enough to do the job, and it's much cheaper than buying lip balms. I prefer using extra virgin olive oil, but feel free to use any natural vegetable oil of your choice. I hear jojoba oil also works wonderfully on your lips.

Don't worry about figuring out a way to carry the oil around with you. Simply buy one of those small, roll-on containers and fill it up. These containers, like the one pictured below (18 Empty Glass 10ml Roll On Perfume Bottles), are available on, but you can probably find them at your local container supply store as well.

I like using the tinted glass containers to keep the oil from getting too much sun exposure, but that is just an extra precaution, as the container spends more time in my purse than out in the open anyway.

Although commercial lip balms and moisturizers come in pretty packaging and fun flavors, I highly recommend switching to only using oil if you want to reduce the amount of chemicals your lips are exposed to and to save a few dollars as well. If you prefer using solid lip balm instead, check out my post on how to make lotion bars and lip balm with coconut oil!

How to Use Oil to Naturally Moisturize Your Lips

How to Make an Acoustic Pop Filter

As I've said in my previous post, I tinker around with audio recordings at home, which is why I made my own acoustic-absorption box. So I saw no reason why I couldn't also make a pop filter for my microphone.

There are plenty of websites out there that will show you various ways you can make your own microphone acoustic pop filter just by using things laying around the house. However, I will also post my own version here, because I think it serves as an excellent example of how you can save money and reduce waste by reusing things to make something functional.


I Used:

How to Make an Acoustic Pop Filter
A flat-tip screwdriver, pliers, electrical tape, a left over coil of wire, an old hose clamp, a basic wire clothes hanger, and an old (clean) pair of nylon socks.
How I Did It:
How to Make an Acoustic Pop Filter
1. I used the pliers to cut a section out of the wire hanger, then bent it into an L shape to create a base for my filter. I also bent a short section of the end so it ran parallel to the long side of the L.

The acrylic layer around the hanger wire was easy to remove by simply cutting shallow notches in it with the pliers and twisting the pieces off.

How to Make an Acoustic Pop Filter
2. I attached the thin wire coil to the hanger wire simply by twisting the ends around each other until it held firmly. Then I wrapped the hanger wire with electrical tape to make it more aesthetically pleasing.

I wanted it in black, but I only had grey tape, so I just painted over it with some left over back acrylic paint.

How to Make an Acoustic Pop Filter
3. After the paint dried, I slipped both nylon socks over the wire coil. I then secured the "filter" with a ribbon around the base of the coil, and cut off the excess fabric. Securing the filter with a ribbon probably doesn't make it look that professional, but I don't mind. It works, and it allows me to easily change the fabric later on if I want to.

One sock may be enough, but I tend to speak rather forcefully, so I thought an extra layer couldn't hurt. Also, you may recognize the ribbon as left over from when I made a cork board out of wine corks.

How to Make an Acoustic Pop Filter4. I secured my new pop filter to the base of my microphone by tightening a hose clamp around it using the flat-tip screwdriver. First I taped some paper around the base of the microphone to protect it from scratches.

Can you believe this hose clamp has been in the tool box for over 20 years? Whoever left it in there probably never thought it would later be repurposed to be used with audio equipment.
How to Make an Acoustic Pop Filter
Adjusted the height of the filter and microphone a little, and I was done!


An average pop filter is only about $15-$20, but why spend money when I had all the tools at home to make my own for free? Again, don't be so quick to throw things away, you know never what they can be used for later on.

How to Make a Portable Acoustic-Absorption Box

How to Make a Portable Acoustic-Absorbing Box

If you need to record things into a microphone at home, like I do, but sounds are annoyingly bouncing off the walls, there is a cheap and easy way to block out most sounds and muffle the echoes in your recording by making your very own acoustic-absorption box.

You can actually buy pre-made ones like the The NEW Porta-Booth Plus or The Porta-Booth Pro - Your Recording Studio At Home and on the Road, but if you can't afford them, or want to save some money, you can easily create your own.


You'll Need:

- 1 Dröna storage box from Ikea (comes in black, green and pink)
- acoustic foam


1. Set up your Dröna storage box. If you can't get one, try to find something similar to it that is made out of sturdy cloth. Don't use something made of plastic or metal because such surfaces tend to contribute more to reverberations back into your microphone.

How to Make a Portable Acoustic-Absorbing Box2. Cut up a piece of acoustic foam so that it fits snugly into the bottom of the the box.

3. Cut up four more pieces of acoustic foam so that they fit into the sides of the box. Keep in mind that they won't necessarily all be the same size, because you need to take into account the space that will already be taken up by pieces already inserted into the box.

3. Make sure all the pieces fit snugly, but not so much that they pop out of place, then you're done!
How to Make a Portable Acoustic-Absorbing Box
Takes only about 10 minutes to make.

To Use:

Hook up your microphone and place it into the box, then you're ready to record.


How to Make a Portable Acoustic-Absorbing Box
If you were wondering, the microphone I use is the Blue Microphones Snowball USB Microphone (White)
The sound and quality of recordings will be different depending on how deep the microphone is placed inside the box, or how tall you've adjusted it, so remember to experiment a little with placement.

The great thing about this easy project is that it cost me no more than 12 bucks. And if you went with the Dröna storage box, it's collapsible, so if you need to put it away or travel with it, you can simply take out the foam pieces and flatten the box.

Eat Healthier by Using Honey as a Natural Alternative to Sugar

Although many people know that too much sugar in their diet is bad for them, they may not be aware of just how bad it is.

Let's begin by stating the obvious. Sugar contributes to rotting teeth. How does it do this? It creates an ideal environment for bacteria, as bacteria loves sugar. As the bacteria thrives, it produces acid that breaks down the enamel on teeth, which can cause decay. If you're the kind of person who isn't absolutely diligent about flossing and brushing your teeth, this could lead to major gum and health problems down the road that may require a lot of money and anguish to fix.

Too much sugar is also bad for your organs. Everything from your arteries, kidneys to your pancreas suffers when you ingest too much sugar, as they are trying desperately to process this ingredient that is basically empty calories with no nutritional value. What results is high cholesterol, heart problems and even diabetes down the road. Diabetes is an awful disease. Go look it up. Would you like to risk losing a foot just because you have a serious sweet tooth?

So how can you reduce the amount of sugar in your diet without giving up the sweetness that your taste buds desire?

Replace sugar with honey.

Honey tastes great, and in my opinion, even better than sugar. It also has amazing beneficial properties that are actually good for your body. Honey is filled with antioxidants, which is widely considered able to ward off the signs of aging. It also naturally has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that benefit the body by fighting infection and calming upset stomachs and ulcers!

It's also fun to eat! Honey, depending on the season and what kinds of flowers it is harvested from, comes in many different flavors and consistencies. You may prefer thick honey with more floral flavors, or thinner honey with a more fruity aroma. Or you may like them all, and you can experiment using different kinds of honey with different kinds of food. Put honey on top of toast, in your smoothies, and replace sugary sodas with honey dissolved in sparkling water.

I personally enjoy adding a large dollop of organic honey to my black coffee every morning. Yum.

How to Use Corn Starch to Combat Greasy Hair

Corn starch for greasy hair

There are times when you just can't be bothered to wash your hair, but you don't want to be seen with greasy, limp hair plastered against your head. An easy solution to that is to simply get some corn starch out of your kitchen cupboard, sprinkle it on your scalp and make sure you evenly run it through your hair.

Some people call this "dry shampoo," although I personally never understood that term, because I equate shampooing with actually washing your hair. Regardless, corn starch is a great, natural way to soak up the oil in your hair, and it even gives it volume. This is the same reason why corn starch is an excellent natural face powder to set your makeup. If you happen to have a spare powder brush, use it to sweep the cornstarch along your scalp. Just remember not to use too much and make sure you really run it through your hair to avoid looking as if you have a layer of white dust on your head.

Naturally Treat Acne with Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oilSometimes the most annoying part of finding a new pimple is not the actual pimple itself, but the blemish it leaves behind that doesn't seem to fade until weeks, often months later. Even if only one pimple appears at a time, the fact that each one leaves a dark scar that takes forever to disappear creates the illusion that my complexion is covered in zits. Then I discovered tea tree oil.

Simply dilute a few drops of tea tree oil with rice or white vinegar (the ratio should be at most 20% tea tree oil to 80% vinegar), then use a cotton swab to apply the solution on the offending pimple or blemish after you've cleaned your face. This is actually similar to the face toner I make, just in a stronger concentration. I usually do this before bed and let it work its magic while I'm sleeping at night. When applied to acne, the anti-inflammatory properties of the tea tree oil works wonders in reducing any swelling and redness, which means you'll wake up finding the pimple will be smaller in size. I've also found that pimples come to a head much quicker after being treated with tea tree oil, and the skin lightens and heals much faster after the zit has been properly expelled. Since tea tree oil also has anti-bacterial properties, it reduces the chance of infection and more zits spreading around the area as well.

Some people say pure tea tree oil is safe to use on the skin, but I say err on the side of safety, and never use any essential oil directly on the skin. Doing so can cause irritation or possibly other severe auto-immune disorders.

One more great thing about about tea tree oil is one small bottle lasts forever, and it is all natural, so I don't have to worry about putting any harsh chemicals on my face. However, do be careful of over-applying, as tea tree oil itself is quite strong and it may cause problems for those with sensitive skin.

So if you're looking for a natural remedy to treat your acne, I highly recommend using tea tree oil.