Reflections on 2011

What an eventful year! With so much having happened, I wanted to reflect a moment on all of the blog-inspired changes made this year.

From dirty shampoo to no shampoo to clean shampoo
I started out the year using a supposedly “natural” shampoo that ended up containing fragrance and SLS. Then, I did baking soda/vinegar every three days for a few months until I heard and saw that my kind of scalp can get irritated by that routine. Currently, I’m using a fragrance/SLS/paraben free shampoo without conditioner every other day and it’s working great! My hair feels very similar to the baking soda/vinegar routine, but my scalp is happy. I’m considering working my way up to three days in between washings.

Less driving, more walking
Thanks to moving even closer to work, I walk the 2 miles to work about half the time. It’s even cheaper than the bus and I’m in way better shape! If you don’t live close to your office, consider getting off at an earlier stop or parking your car and walking part of the way. Walking to work has also made me more likely to meet up with friends or run errands on foot. I have to say that I’m not completely self-motivated; finding street parking in my hood is a total pain and a very effective deterrent to getting in my car.

I also have been trying to combine errands that require the car into efficient trips. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve had to spend 30 minutes scouring my neighborhood to find my car.

Still vegetarian, post-Vegetarian Month
I’m proud to say that I’m still going strong! Inspired by Bee’s veganism and some information like this amazing infographic from GOOD.is, I’ve been able to stay steady. Also, perhaps it’s owning a cat that’s about the size of a large chicken, but I’ve become more squeamish about the idea of killing animals so vegetarianism is a good fit for me now. If only I could reduce my cheese intake… perhaps something to tackle in 2012?

Repairing my shoes
Yes, I still wear leather shoes, which have very high carbon footprints (ha! footprints) when bought new. Almost all of mine are thrifted, but some aren’t. One thing I’ve started doing this year is taking them to a cobbler! I got my favorite cowboy boots resoled and weather-proofed and now they’re better than new. At $70, repairs cost more than I paid for the boots at the Goodwill, but cheaper than equally good new boots and easier on the planet. I have three other pairs being fixed as I type.

I’m still new to repairing my shoes, but I highly recommend taking your damaged shoes in to a cobbler and see if they can repair them. If you do need new shoes, I highly suggest springing for higher-quality shoes because they can be repaired much more easily than cheap ones.

How about you?
I’ll stop here because this is a daunting block of text. But Bee and I would love to hear what improvements you’ve made this year and what you look forward to accomplishing in 2012!

Thoughts on hair and showering

Me and my hair

It’s been awhile since we chatted about beauty routines and cleansing habits. Since starting a new job, I’ve eased up on the no shampoo thing. My scalp was getting increasingly irritated by the baking soda and vinegar which resulted in… flakes.

What I have been doing is washing my hair every other day with an extremely clean shampoo that both No More Dirty Looks and EWG would approve of. I buy it in bulk at PCC (for non-Seattlites, an amazing grocery co-op) so I’m not fretting about all the containers I’m using.

I was feeling really good about my routine until I read that the average 10 minute shower can take anywhere from 25 – 70 gallons of water! Even every other day, that’s a lot. So I’m going to try to cut back to 3-5 minute showers, with the aid of a timer or my cell phone. And, I should also probably hassle our landlord to put in a low-flow shower head.

Does anyone have any water-saving techniques to share? For the shower or elsewhere?