Plastic-free Solution: Deodorant

In my quest to use less plastic, I found myself looking for a good natural deodorant. I wanted a deodorant that kept me smelling good (of course), absorbed wetness, went on easily, didn’t mark up my clothes, and didn’t come in a plastic container. Little Seed Farm was giving free samples of their deodorant, so of course I ordered mine.

I was not given a special deal; nor was I asked to write this review. I was just trying to find something that worked for me, and I thought I’d share my experience with my readers. I do sometimes earn money through affiliate links, but I am not doing so in this case.

Trying my samples

I was able to choose two scents to try, so I chose lavender, which is one of my favorite fragrances, and activated charcoal, because I was curious about what the charcoal did. I’ll answer that question first: the charcoal formula didn’t seem any different except that it had a gray-green tint. The effectiveness was the same.

Two small foil sample packets of deodorant sit next to each other on a patterned background. One is labeled "Deodorant Cream, Lavender, Little Seed Farm," and the other is labeled, "Deodorant cream, Activated charcoal, Little Seed Farm."

Little Seed Farm’s deodorant is a cream, and the samples came in foil packets. I squeezed out a pea-sized amount for each armpit onto my fingertips, and rubbed the cream into my skin. It felt smooth, and spread and absorbed very well. The cream contains coconut and jojoba oils as well as glycerin, so I wondered whether it would be greasy or sticky. I definitely didn’t want to leave grease stains on my clothing. Not only were my armpits not greasy at all, but my fingertips didn’t even feel greasy after applying it! The cream formula is not what I’m used to, but it’s no harder than rubbing a deodorant stick onto my armpits, and it actually feels nicer on my skin.

The lavender smells wonderful. The activated charcoal, scented with spearmint, rosemary, and geranium essential oils, is not really my cup of tea, but it might be yours. They also have grapefruit-lemon, Rosemary-patchouli, and unscented.

A honeybee clings to a sprig of lavender
Image by Pixabay

Deodorant is not antiperspirant

Now, I know deodorant and antiperspirant are two different things, and the Little Seed Farms deodorant is not antiperspirant. I still sweat when I use it. But it seems to absorb some of the wetness- must be the arrowroot powder, or maybe the magnesium hydroxide? I’m not sure what magnesium does in a deodorant. The truth is, even when I use antiperspirant, I still sweat. I live in North Carolina. Our summers are filled with days when the temperature and the humidity are both in the 90s. I mean, just plain miserable. No matter what chemicals I put on my underarms, I’m going to sweat. And I think I smell better using this natural deodorant than I do when I use the usual drugstore antiperspirant-deodorant.

I wanted to really put this deodorant to the test, so I used it on a day when I did yard work, a day when I didn’t shower, and two days when the temperature was in the 70s and I was outside in the sun for hours. I was amazed at how effective it was and how long it lasted. When I was out in the sun and got really sweaty, I had to reapply in the late afternoon. Or at least I felt, after sniffing my pits, like I should reapply. But I don’t think anyone else would notice unless they were very close to my armpits. And honestly, I often have to reapply regular antiperspirant-deodorant. Again, swampy NC summers. All in all, Little Seed Farm’s deodorant cream keeps me smelling good at least as well as the average mainstream antiperspirant-deodorant, maybe even better. It’s made with natural and organic ingredients, and it is packaged in a recyclable glass jar with a recyclable metal lid. I ordered a jar of the lavender deodorant and I can’t wait till it gets here.

Other options

I should mention that everyone has their own unique body chemistry and of course their own likes and dislikes. This might not be the perfect deodorant for you. There are some other companies that make deodorant in non-plastic containers, such as Taylor’s Natural, Fat And The Moon, or Meow Meow Tweet. There are also companies that send refills for a plastic container, which doesn’t completely eliminate plastic, but lessens it a hell of a lot. Two brands to try are By Humankind and Myro.

Please let me know what you think if you try any of these, or any other plastic-free or low-plastic deodorants!

Greening My Life

My latest project, the one I’m thinking about the most, is not knitting or baking or art journaling or making leather notebook covers, although those have all occupied a lot of my time and effort lately. No, my biggest project these days is making my home and my life greener. I’ve always considered myself an environmentalist, and I’ve written before about trying to reduce my consumption of single-use plastic. But over the years, I have really slacked off, often choosing convenience or lower price over earth-friendliness. I have three kids, and there’s only so much I can do. Whenever I felt guilty, I reminded myself (possibly a bit defensively) that I breastfed and cloth-diapered all my children, and that balanced out whatever environmental sins I was committing. And, of course, I recycle.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you buy something through one of these links, I earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you. You can read more about my advertising policy here.

A few weeks ago, however, I listened to an episode of the 99% Invisible podcast called “National Sword.” It describes how China is refusing to recycle US waste, and how a lot of the items we toss in our recycling bins actually aren’t getting recycled at all. I urge you to listen to it, but probably not on a day when you’re feeling depressed or hopeless because believe me, this will not make things better.

plastic bottles and other plastic trash float in water
Image by Pixabay

After listening to “National Sword,” I’m more determined than ever to reduce my use of plastic (especially single-use plastic) and reduce my trash production in general.

I’ve already mentioned that I use reusable grocery bags when I shop. I also recently bought reusable produce bags. They are made of a see-through mesh fabric, so they don’t add significant weight, and the supermarket cashier can see the code on the produce stickers. They’re just as easy to use as plastic. I also have started using beeswax wraps instead of plastic wrap. They’re easy to use and clean. Much easier, actually, than wrestling with plastic wrap that’s hard to tear properly and always sticks to itself. I’ve tried two different brands, and I prefer the Green Bee wraps, as they stick better than the other one I’ve tried. I’ve also been transitioning to glass containers and jars instead of ziplock bags for freezing leftovers.

three empty glass canning jars in front of a large metal bucket
Image by Pixabay

My next challenge is reducing my use of plastic bottles for toiletries and household cleansers. I use Method dish liquid and spray cleaner, and I buy the refills rather than buying more small bottles. I’m still buying plastic, I know. I could buy aluminum or glass spray bottles and make my own cleaner with vinegar, but I really love the scents that Method makes, and my husband is not a fan of the smell of vinegar. Just writing about it is making me feel guilty. Maybe I’ll switch over, but no promises. I’m also transitioning from paper towels to cloth napkins and cloth cleaning rags, and from regular sponges to biodegradable cellulose sponges.

many blue and yellow dishcloths folded and stacked together
Image by Pixabay

It’s staggering how much plastic we use, and how much it has increased in just the past two to three decades. When I was a kid in the 70s and 80s, soda bottles and peanut butter jars were glass, and things such as cornstarch, drink mixes, oatmeal, and mixed nuts came in canisters made from metal or cardboard. Now most of these containers are plastic. Cold cereal used to be in waxed paper bags inside the box, instead of the plastic bags used now. Those paper bags were easier to open, and when you rolled them down they stayed rolled and kept the cereal fresh longer.

I’m going to see what my options are for avoiding plastic bottles of body lotion, face cream, deodorant, hair products, and the like. I’ll be blogging about the changes I make, so stay tuned!

How to Love Your Body in 2019

A woman stands outside, holding a mug. Text: How to love your body in 2019
original photo by Sandra Chile on Unsplash

It’s a new year, and that brings New Year’s resolutions. Losing weight is always a popular resolution; it’s the first or second most common resolution year after year. But what if, for 2019, you resolved NOT to try to lose weight? What if, instead, you resolve to love and honor your body at whatever size it is? To stop hating your body, stop thinking that you’re not good enough?

You can do this! I’m not saying it’s easy. It’s a journey that usually takes years and hard work, but it will be so worth it. You will be so much happier, more self-confident, and more satisfied with your life.

I’m not a health professional or any kind of expert, but I can tell you what has worked for me and what continues to work for me as I unlearn fatphobia, self-hate, and the assumptions that society has taught me about size, beauty, and health.

 

Several frosted chocolate cupcakes on a plate.
Image from Pixabay

Don’t Diet

At all. Obviously if you have dietary restrictions because of allergies, sensitivities, religion, or personal ethics, keep those. And if you have a medical condition requiring a supervised diet, don’t do anything without advice from your doctor and/or nutritionist. But don’t diet to lose weight. No Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig (is that still a thing?), keto, Atkins, low-carb, low-fat, Zone, Whole 30, blah blah blah. No counting calories or fat grams or carbs. And remember, even if you call it a “lifestyle change,” if you are restricting your eating with the goal of losing weight, it is a diet.

A view over a woman's shoulder, showing her hair, as she reads a fashion magazine
Image by Pixabay

Stop reading “women’s” magazines

Do not read any magazine that mentions weight loss on the cover. Do not read any magazine that promises the secret to slimming down in X weeks, getting the perfect abs or butt or beach body, or losing a certain number of pounds (stone, kilos, etc). Don’t read about celebrity diets or workout routines. Don’t read about “bad” or “good” foods. Just stop. That also goes for TV shows, websites, YouTube videos, and the like. This is honestly the most important step (in my experience, at least). You will be amazed when you realize just how pervasive anti-fat messaging is in our daily lives.

If you still want to keep up on fashion and beauty tips, there are plenty of media outlets where you can avoid the fat hate. Try magazines such as Bustle, HelloGiggles, The Every Girl, and Bust; and blogs such as Jamie Je T’aime, In My Joi, and Musings Of a Curvy Lady. Explore tags such as #fatshion or #plussizefashion on Instagram. Even if you’re not big on fashion, go ahead and look at fat women wearing stylish clothes and flawless makeup. It’s inspiring to see bodies of diverse sizes and realize that weight and beauty are completely unconnected.

Two feet stand on a scale.
Image from Pixabay

Throw out your scale

If you can’t bear to throw it out because that seems wasteful or extreme, pack it away and put it in your attic or basement or somewhere you can’t easily get to it. Your scale does not tell you anything about your health, your beauty, your character, or anything that matters. You do not need to know the number on the scale. It doesn’t help you in any way. All it does is make you feel bad about yourself and encourage you to be obsessed with getting that number lower. There’s no reason for that. I know that for many people a bathroom scale seems like a basic household item that everyone should own, but it really isn’t. I haven’t owned one in years.

Learn about intuitive eating

This is a mindful practice based on noticing and honoring your hunger and fullness cues, respecting your body the way it is, and eating what you want, whether that’s a salad or an ice cream sundae. There’s more to it than that, of course, and I encourage you to explore books, websites, videos, podcasts…. whichever is your preferred way of learning. Here is a good introduction.

Focus on your health, not your size

Let me be clear: you do not owe anyone health. You don’t need to prove that you are a “good” fat person because you’re doing the “right” things. Having perfect cholesterol and glucose levels is not what makes it okay to be fat. A fat person who starts every day with a kale smoothie and an hour at the gym is no more deserving of respect and love than a fat person who is sedentary and eats a fast food burger and a milkshake for lunch every day. No matter your health or your habits, you deserve to be respected and treated well.

But, if you’re thinking “this is all well and good, but I need to lose weight for my health!” or if you just want to make some changes to be healthier, there is plenty you can do with a focus on healthy habits and not on your weight. Contrary to what you’ll read in most mainstream media, weight and health are only loosely correlated. There is a lot of evidence showing the validity of the Health At Every Size philosophy.

Find some form of movement that you enjoy. You don’t have to go to the gym, and you don’t have to be in pain to get health benefits from exercise. Walk the dog. Walk in the park. Dance. Ride a bike. Do yoga. Just make sure it’s something you enjoy, and move your body.

blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries
Image from Pixabay

Eat fruits and vegetables. This might sound dangerously close to diet territory. I’m not advocating that you eat broccoli when what you really want is cake. I’m saying eat the cake, and also eat whatever fruits and veggies you enjoy. Go ahead and eat your veggies with butter and cheese if that’s how you like them. Explore new fruits and vegetables. Try different colors and textures. Enjoy yourself. Enjoy your food.

Drink when you’re thirsty and maybe a little more, but you don’t actually need to drink eight glasses a day. That’s just a myth. Try to get enough sleep.

A woman lies in a bathtub of white water, holding a book near her face.
Image from Pixabay

Take care of your mental health as well, whatever that looks like for you. That might mean seeing a mental health professional, or meditating, or enjoying a hobby or regular time with friends. One thing that is definitely bad for your mental health is berating yourself over your size, your food, or your exercise habits, so try not to do that.

Three smiling women in swimsuits take a selfie.
Image by Rawpixel on Unsplash

Stop postponing your life

Are there things you want to do but have been putting off until you lose weight? Do those things now! Buy that cute outfit, take that vacation, pursue that new job… whatever it is, you deserve to live a full and happy life now. Happiness is not something you earn with your size.

Let me reiterate, I’m not a health professional of any sort. And I’m not a spokesperson for all fat people. All I am is a fat woman who has spent some years on this journey of loving myself at the size I am. I stumble often. I have days when I’m not thrilled with my body. There are still parts I am learning to love. I’m still coming to terms with middle age and the changes it’s brought. All I can talk about is my own experience. I sincerely hope it helps you and that 2019 is a year of happiness and self-love!

 

A woman ooks over her shoulder outdoors. Text: How to love your body in 2019
Original photo by Eye For Ebony on Unsplash

9 Ways I’ll Be Using Less Plastic in 2019

A dumpter overflows with trash, mostly in plastic bags, some loose. Trash is on the ground around the dumpster. Text says:
Image by Pixabay

I’m not big on New Year resolutions, but one of my intentions for 2019 is to continue making small changes in my daily life to walk more gently on the earth, and especially to reduce my use of single-use plastic.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you buy something through one of these links, I earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you. You can read more about my advertising policy here.

Reusable grocery bags

After literally years of leaving my reusable shopping bags either at home or in my car, I am finally remembering to bring them into stores with me almost all the time. I use the kind grocery stores usually sell for a dollar or sometimes give away, and I find they work well for me. Not only are they green, but they’re stronger than plastic grocery bags, so I don’t have to worry about a bag being sliced open by the sharp edge of some cellophane packaging or splitting from too much weight. They also sit in my trunk without flopping all over and spilling their contents. If you’d prefer another type, though, there are many bags available for purchase, such as foldable bags in cute designs, or bags that are actually collapsible boxes.

 

Packing lunches

An open plastic container holds wrap sandwiches and grape tomatoes
Image by Pixabay

Along with plastic grocery bags, I’ve ditched plastic ziplock bags for the most part. I still use them for frozen foods, but when packing lunches or snacks I use either Sistema boxes (yes, they’re plastic, but they last for years. Much better than plastic bags or disposable plastic containers) or Lunchskins paper sandwich bags. These bags seal with a peel-and-stick strip and are perfect for sandwiches and dry snacks. I’ve noticed that Reynolds has started making paper sandwich bags, too, but I’m a sucker for the cute pictures on the Lunchskins ones.

 

I also use reusable water bottles. After trying a bunch of different brands over the years, I found that I really love Sip by S’well stainless steel bottles. They don’t have straws or any other fiddly parts that get lost or are hard to clean. Just a bottle and a cap. They come in cute prints, they last for years, and they are double-walled, so they keep your cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot. They can be a bit pricey, but I usually buy them on sale. I’ve also gotten some knock-offs from Aldi, so keep your eyes peeled at back-to-school season!

Making Laundry Cleaner and Greener

I’m planning to ditch plastic jugs of laundry detergent in 2019. Homemade laundry soap is really easy to make, and the recipe is even easy to remember. It’s just one bar of soap, one cup of borax, and one cup of washing soda. You can probably find borax and washing soda in the laundry aisle of your local supermarket, Walmart, or Target. Or you can order it from Amazon. Grate the soap with a box grater, and then stir the grated soap, the borax, and the washing soda together. If you want, you can add a few drops of essential oil for fragrance. Store the mixture in an airtight container, and use 2-4 TBS  (1/8 – 1/4 cup) per load. I’ve never had a problem with it dissolving in cold water, but if you do, you can just dissolve it in a cup or two of hot water and toss that mixture into the washing machine before filling it up with cold. (Or pour it into the liquid detergent dispenser if your machine has one of those). It’s safe for HE machines, too.

Shower solutions

stacked bars of soap
image by Pixabay

I’ve started using bar soap in the shower to avoid using plastic bottles of shower gel. This also solves the problem of having an inch of soap left in the bottom of the bottle that you can’t get to with the pump. Don’t you hate that? I suspect that manufacturers purposely make the pump tubes too short so we’ll buy a new bottle sooner.

Did you know that shampoo and conditioner also come in bars? I just bought a handmade conditioner bar on Etsy, and there are also a ton on Amazon. Once I finish my current bottle of shampoo, I’ll replace that with a bar, too.

You know what else is plastic and in my bathroom? My toothbrush. I just ordered a pack of bamboo toothbrushes, and I’m going to try to convince my whole family to switch.

I’m not perfect, and I know there’s plenty more I can do to help the environment. But using less plastic, especially single-use disposable plastic, is one step, and it’s not hard to do. If you have other suggestions for using less disposable plastic around the house, please let me know in the comments!

Twelve Perfect Gifts for Bullet Journallers

Bullet journalling is becoming more and more popular

In case you haven’t noticed, bullet journalling (aka bujo-ing) has taken the world by storm over the past few years. What is bullet journalling? In the simplest terms, it is a way of making your own planner in a notebook. The concept was popularized by Ryder Carroll, and his method is a simple system of lists with symbols and an index. The planner community (yes, that’s a thing) grabbed the idea and ran with it, and now most bullet journallers embellish their journals with artwork, stickers, color coding, washi tape, scrapbook elements, fancy lettering, and anything else you can imagine.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you buy something through one of these links, I earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you. You can read more about my advertising policy here.

If you know someone who bullet journals, or if you want to try it yourself, here are the perfect items to start with. Be warned, though: there are so many brands, styles, and sizes of notebooks, and bujo addicts can be very particular about which ones they use. If you’re buying a gift for someone who already uses a bujo, your best bet is to ask them which notebook they prefer to use.

First, of course, is the book that started it all: The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll.

Notebooks

Next, some notebooks. Moleskine and Leuchtturm are two classic brands that many bullet journallers love. Even within these two brands, there are different sizes, different covers, and different types of pages– lined, gridded (like graph paper), dot-gridded, or blank– so, again, you really want to ask before buying this as a gift for an established bujo-er. You can be slick and tell them you’re looking into bujo-ing and want a recommendation.

   

Scribbles That Matter is a popular brand that has a few things set up for you already. Their pages are pre-numbered, and they have preprinted pages for an index, a key, and even a pen test page.

Pens and Markers

For a simple black pen, my go-to is the Sharpie fine point pen. It’s a durable felt-tip pen that you can find almost anywhere, it dries quickly, and it hardly ever bleeds through paper. Another nice one is Pigma Micron. Micron goes beyond fine and extra-fine points to give you a whole range of points. Get the six pack and see which one you like best.

For writing and drawing fine lines in color, the pens you need are fineliners. The two most popular brands are Staedtler and Stabilo. I have the 36-pack of Staedtlers and I looooove it.

One of the biggest hits in the bujo world is the Zebra Mildliner pens. When I first started seeing the name, I misread it as “midliner,” which I assumed was a size between fineliner and a bold fat marker such as a chisel-tip. Finally I realized it was mildliner, referring to the mildness of the soft, pastel shades. The Mildliner comes in four sets: warm, cool, fluorescent, and a newer set with bolder (but still mild) colors; I’m not sure what the newest set is called. They are double-ended, with a traditional highlighter point at one end and a fine point marker at the other. They’re perfect for highlighting and coloring.

Washi Tape

Washi tape is a decorative paper tape that originated in Japan. Like masking tape, it is sticky but can often be repositioned, and it can be torn off the roll easily. The standard width is 15mm (about 5/8″), but skinny and wide versions are also available. It can be used to create borders or dividing lines, or to decorate anywhere in your bullet journal. There are SO MANY kinds of washi out there, with any kind of picture or pattern you can possibly imagine.

Creativity Rundown

Creative projects I’m currently working on

a magnifying glass sits on the open pages of an old dictionary.
Image by Pixabay

Preparing for a side hustle as a proofreader. Does this count as creative? I think it does. Entrepreneurship is always creative. I notice typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors all the time, so I might as well get paid for pointing them out. It’s a job I can do on my own schedule and from my own home. What I have to learn is the symbols used in proofreading, the usual practices, how to get gigs, and how much to charge. I’m excited about this.

Side view of a woman standing and wearing a maroon knit wrap.
image from www.mamainastitch.com

Knitting the Merlot Alpaca Wrap by Mama In A Stitch. It is absolutely gorgeous, and will probably take me until at least January to finish. I really love the patterns I’ve seen on her website, and can’t wait to do more.

menorahslist

Designing and selling t-shirts. This is something I’m working on with my husband. It’s been taking a ton of time. There are lots of articles and podcasts that say you can get a t-shirt store up and running in a day or two. Maybe you can, if you know Photoshop; already have a shirt design, a store name, and a logo ready to go; and are fine working with the first t-shirt print-on-demand shop that Google shows you. None of that was the case for me. I’m learning Photoshop as I go, and luckily my first shirt designs were simple bits of text. My son designed our logo. We’ve done a lot of research on print-on-demand businesses. It’s surprisingly hard to find plus-size shirts, and we’re still working on finding a supplier of women’s sizes larger than 2x. We’ve had our shop up and running for about a week and have made our first sale. Check us out at www.ragsofgold.storenvy.com.

Learning to code JavaScript with the Grasshopper app. I saw it and figured, why not? It’s fun and easy so far, but I just started.

Creative projects that have fallen by the wayside

My bullet journal. I’ve been pressed for time and unenthusiastic, and I even went a couple weeks without using a planner at all, which was really difficult. If I don’t have things written down, my ADHD takes over, I feel completely discombobulated, and my anxiety level goes up. I finally bought a preprinted weekly insert for my traveler’s notebook. Much better. I’ll probably go back to bullet journaling at some point; it’s the planning method I keep returning to. But for now, being able to simply write my appointments and tasks down in a planner is what I need.

Inktober. I stuck with it for less than half the month, but it was longer than I’ve ever stuck with any daily prompt drawing project, so I’m considering it a win. Next year, I’ll stick with it longer.

Morning Pages. I have the hardest time keeping up with this habit, even though I know it’s probably the most helpful thing I can do for my writing and for my creativity as a whole. Maybe I can set a reminder on my phone.

 

So… I’m not perfect, and I definitely need to get better at keeping creative habits such as writing and drawing every day (not to mention blogging more often). But I’ve realized that I truly am always doing something creative, and I’m really happy about that.

Try online arts & crafts classes absolutely free

watercolors, brushes, and a sketchbook open to a blank page, on a wooden surface.
image by Pixabay

Note: This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you buy something through one of these links, I earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you. You can read more about my advertising policy here.

This is not something I usually do, but today I’m writing a quick post to tell my readers about a great freebie from Bluprint. They’re currently running their Get Started event, and it ends Oct. 12. What this means is that ALL their classes and shows are free. Yes, I said all, and yes, I said FREE. Bluprint wants to build their membership, but they wisely realized that many people won’t want to join a service, even for a month, without first checking it out.

Between now and Oct. 12, go to their website (linked below) and register for one or more of their classes. You don’t need a coupon, and you don’t need a credit card. This isn’t one of those “free” deals where they charge your credit card if you forget to cancel within a certain time (don’t you hate those?).

Bluprint has thousands of classes on all kinds of art, craft, and DIY topics, such as sewing, baking, cake decorating, knitting, crocheting, drawing, painting, jewelry making… the list goes on. I registered for a class on metalsmithing, and I cannot wait to get started.

I did join Bluprint, because I know I’ll want to take classes and have access to their resources in the future, and I think their pricing is completely reasonable. But you totally don’t have to. You can just watch as many classes as you can manage before Oct. 12, and not join at all.

Here’s the link! Please let me know what classes you watch, and what you think of them.

Bluprint Get Started Event: Watch All Classes + Shows For Free at myBluprint.com 10/5-10/12/18. No coupon code needed.

Two personality typing books you have to read

head-3001159_1920
Image by Pixabay

Note: This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you buy something through one of these links, I earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you. You can read more about my advertising policy here.

If, like me, you’re a teeeensy bit obsessed with personality types and quizzes, you have to read Anne Bogel’s Reading People. In this book Bogel goes through the basics of seven different philosophies of personality typing, from simple two-option paradigms such as introvert/extrovert and Highly Sensitive Person, to what is probably the best-known school of personality typing, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which comprises 16 different types. For each paradigm, she introduces readers to a brief history of the typing method, the characteristics of the different types, and how to determine which type you are. Bogel illustrates the types with stores of events in her life and her own personal traits. One caveat: it is obvious that Bogel is coming from a Christian background. She mentions church a lot, and there are Christian books in the bibliography. She is not at all preachy, though, and I would absolutely suggest this book to type geeks of any (or no) religion.

As Bogel notes, the best use of personality typing is not simply to determine your type and leave it at that, but to use this knowledge for personal development. You cannot change your type, and no type is better or worse than any other type. But knowing your type and how it impacts your strengths and weaknesses can help you become the best version of yourself.

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Image by Pixabay

This is the basis of Personality Hacker, by Joel Mark Witt and Antonia Dodge. Witt and Dodge are a married couple who host the Personality Hacker podcast. I listen to their podcast regularly, and was excited to read their book as soon as it came out. While Reading People is a broad view of many typing methods, Personality Hacker is a deep dive into the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and how to use the MBTI for self-improvement.

Not only do Witt and Dodge devote an entire chapter to each of the sixteen MBTI types, they provide a detailed explanation of cognitive functions and how they work. Their “car model” will help you understand how cognitive function stacks operate for each type, which is really the nuts and bolts of the MBTI, and their FIRM model will help you understand why you might fixate on a certain need and get caught in a problematic cognitive function loop. This knowledge is vital in using typology as a tool for self-development.

Throughout the book, there are review questions for you to answer, if you so choose, to make sure you understand the material. That’s not my kind of thing, but I’m sure it’s helpful for many readers.

You can buy these books from Amazon (links below) or from your local independent bookshop, and I’m also adding both books to my Recommended Reading page.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
Support Independent Bookstores – Visit IndieBound.org

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
Support Independent Bookstores – Visit IndieBound.org

My Fall Bucket List

Note: This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you buy something through one of these links, I earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you. You can read more about my advertising policy here.

two wooden benches outside with fall leaves on the ground
image by Pixabay

Although it doesn’t feel like it in Charlotte (we’re supposed to hit 90 again next week), fall is here. This year, for the first time, I’ve decided to make a Fall Bucket List. I’m hoping that if I have a written list of things I want to do, the season won’t get away from me before I manage to do more than drink a couple Pumpkin Spiced Lattes. So here it is, in no particular order:

1. Go to to the Carolina Renaissance Festival. We used to go as a family every year, but it got too expensive, so we stopped. Every year the kids beg for it, and every year I really want to go… and every year I sadly give up on it. This year, I’ve decided we’re going no matter what.

2. Participate in Inktober. I’m going to take 31 pages or half-pages of my sketchbook,date them, and write the prompts on top, so I’ll remember to do it every day and I won’t have to stop and look anything up. I’ll be able to just draw, photograph, and post. Keep an eye on my Instagram if you want to see my Inktober drawings!

3. Go apple-picking. We’re so lucky in Charlotte to have farms and orchards close by. Some are even within city limits. So I’m going to go pick some apples, drink some hot cider, and eat cider doughnuts. If I’m lucky, they’ll also have a corn maze.

three apples hanging from a branch
image by Pixabay

4. Go to a pumpkin patch. I can’t just pick my own apples- I have to pick my own pumpkins, too! Or actually, let the kids pick their own pumpkins while I sip coffee and take pictures.

a field of pumpkins and pumpkin vines
image by Pixabay

5. Bake fall treats. If I’m going to pick apples and pumpkins, I’ll have to bake things with apples and pumpkins. Like apple muffins, apple bread, apple crisp, and apple pie. And then of course, there’s pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin pie. Since my husband can’t tolerate gluten, I’ll be making gluten-free versions of all these things. I’m looking forward to cozying up in front of the fire and enjoying some home-baked goodies.

a partially sliced loaf of pumpkin bread
image by Pixabay

6. Go hiking. Once the weather is cool enough that I don’t sweat as soon as I walk out the door, I’m going to start walking. With my husband, with the kids, with the dogs, with friends, and alone. Around the neighborhood, along the greenways, in the woods, and hopefully up some mountains. I want to exercise a lot more than I do currently, and I love being out in nature. Except for the bugs. I could do without the bugs.

7. Knit. I really want to knit a pair of socks this year. And maybe a cowl. And hats for the kids. And a couple of coffee cozies to use instead of those cardboard sleeves. And….

a ball of orange yarn
image by Pixabay

8. Make other fall crafts. As a matter of fact, I’m going to post some fall dollar store crafts soon. You might want to join my mailing list so you don’t miss them!

9. Make my home smell like fall. Pumpkin spice. Hot apple cider. Woodsmoke. Pancakes and maple syrup. Fall candles, fall plug-in oil thingies, fall wax melts, you name it, I’m here for it! My house is going to smell like an autumn wonderland.

10. Watch Halloween movies. Can you believe I have never seen Hocus Pocus?!

animated gif of three witches from the movie Hocus Pocus

 

6 Tips For Cutting Your Own Hair

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After months of hating my fried, dry, breaking, over-bleached
hair, I decided to temporarily give up on growing it long, and gave myself a cute, shaggy, modern mullet.

I’ve been cutting my own hair for at least a decade. I have no formal training. What I have is wavy (and thus forgiving) hair and a “fuck it” attitude. You can cut your own hair, too. I’m not going to teach you how to do that, but what I will do is give you some vital tips.

2013 bob

1. Do your research. Read and watch lots of online tutorials. Look at photos, drawings, and videos. Watch videos of people cutting their own hair as well as people cutting other people’s hair. When you think you’ve seen enough, look at more. While you’re still getting your hair professionally cut, watch your hairdresser and study how they cut your hair.

2. Use decent tools. Don’t cut your hair with the scissors from your desk drawer. Buy haircutting scissors from a beauty supply store such as Sally, or online from Amazon and use them only for hair. Proper tools make a difference.

Image by Jo Johnston

3. There are different schools of though about whether your hair should be wet or dry while being cut. Even professionals vary on this. Personally, I favor dry cutting, especially for beginners, because it’s much easier to see what your hair will ultimately look like when you cut it dry. Whichever you choose, remember that wet hair shrinks when it dries. The curlier it is, the more it shrinks. If you cut curly hair when it’s wet, you might see a difference of inches when it dries.

4. Start slow. Cut off less than you think you want, especially if you’re making a drastic change. To state the obvious, you can always cut more, but you can’t put hair back once you cut it off. Even if you decide to cut more two days later, it’s better than lopping off too much and instantly regretting it.

2016 pixie

5. To cut the back of your hair, you need either a trifold mirror or a patient friend who will hold a hand mirror up so you can see the back of your head while you cut.

6. Remember, it’s only hair. If you give yourself a bad cut, it will grow back.