My Search for Affordable and Green Hair Removal Products for Women

During my quest to live a more sustainable life, I have slowly changed the products I use in my household. One that I was struggling with for a while was hair removal. Up until recently, I was still using those disposal razors. I know, not cool. I just didn't know where to start.All the options were overwhelming. However, I finally bit the bullet and started exploring the options.

One of the alternatives to disposable razors that I tried was the safety razor. This is basically the old fashioned razor that your parents or grandparents probably used. It is a handle attached to a razor head. You put a disposable razor blade into the head and close it. The only thing you have to throw away is the tiny razor blade. And you can possibly recycle it as well. Even more: they are CHEAP.

After reading a little about it, I cut to the chase and bought one. I did a quick search on Amazon and found a well rated safety razor.

When the safety razor arrived, I was nervous at first. After all, there are reasons that most people have given these things up, right? After trying it out, I'm not sure what those reasons may be! The razor worked well, and I didn't experience any more cuts than I normally do (I'm a bit clumsy!). I was hooked and have been using safety razors since.

However, there are some other green choice out there that I began considering. One was waxing. I tried this in my youth without much success. It ended up bleeding a lot. So that was out of the question for me.

But I had never tried epilating. My green hair removal search introduced me to this hair removal method. It is done with a mechanical hair removal machine that grabs multiple hairs at once and pulls them out by the root. It looked painful but promising. After all, I really hate shaving. I wouldn't mind a little pain if I could stop shaving my legs EVERY day.

It took a little more research before I bought my first epilator. They are more expensive than safety razors, so I wanted to make sure I didn't waste my money on a dud. After finally finding what I thought was the best epilator for women, I ordered and waited.

My first use was pretty painful, but not as bad as waxing, as far as I remember. After a few uses, I felt more competent and was getting good results. The pain also became manageable, especially after trying a few tricks.

Now my eco-friendly hair removal routine consists of shaving my underarms daily with my trusty safety razor (I just can't bring myself to epilate there!) and epilating everything else about once a week or so using the best epilator for body hair. I love the ease of this routine. It also has saved me so much money. And of course, I have less guilt.

The Life and Lessons of Dorothy Day

"The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us?"
-Dorothy Day

Living green and according to your values day in and day out is a tough task. For some inspiration, I'm highlighting the life of Dorothy Day, a women who spoke and lived for her values, including human rights, peace, and compassion. Dorothy Day's writings and life has been a big inspiration to me for the last four or five years and she is someone I think everyone should know about.

Day's Early Years

Dorothy Day was born in Brooklyn in 1897, but spent most of her childhood in Chicago. She eventually returned to New York as an adult. Day spent her young adult years as a journalist and activist for Communist ideology. Although she had a spiritual side, Communist teachings convinced her to suppress this yearning for a period of her life.

As a liberal activist, Day picketed for labor and women's causes (and was arrested on numerous occasions for it), wrote for many leftist publications including the Masses, and lived a life verging on wild, with many lovers, one illegal abortion, and many nights spent drinking and talking politics with others throughout New York City.

Dorothy Day thought she had found an ideal life in her late 20s, living with Forster Batterham, her husband by common law marriage. Batterham was an introverted biologist as well as an ardent atheist and anarchist. Day and Batterham lived a simple, peaceful life together for several years in their sea-side home near New York.

However, the birth of their daughter, Tamar Theresa, in 1926 sparked the beginning of Day's life as a devout Catholic with the help of a nun who lived nearby. Even though it was tremendously difficult for her, Day eventually left her husband when he would not allow Tamar to be baptised into the Roman Catholic Church. She went on to live as a single mother, writing for income, and growing spiritually in Catholicism for many years.

The Rise of the Catholic Worker
During this new period of her life, Dorothy Day struggled to reconcile her radical roots with her new-found spirituality. Most of the radical activists of the day were atheist, and most of the Catholics seemed to be blind to many of the world's injustices.

At age 35, Day prayed for a God-sent way to use her talents within the church for the workers and the poor. The next day an aging French peasant showed up at her door. This Catholic radical was Peter Maurin and he brought Day new ideas about how Catholicism and social activism could come together and bring about a better world.

With Maurin's vision and Day's talents, the two began a new newspaper called the Catholic Worker. This non-profit publication covered their ideas on spirituality, peace, and the worker's movements of the time. The circulation soon reached 150,000 and was read by a wide range of people throughout North America.

Not long later, Day and Maurin took the commands of Jesus into action by creating a House of Hospitality in the slums of New York that provided food, shelter, and compassion to the poor during an economically devastating era. Together with the house of hospitality and the newspaper, this movement became a forefront in the journey of racial justice, active non-violence, and the practice of the works of mercy mentioned in the New Testament.

Over the years, the movement grew, with nearly 100 Catholic Worker Houses at any one time, as well as a few communes with the same ideals. Although most are Catholic, religious diversity is accepted, and some are even based on different religions including Quaker and Buddhist.

Day's Legacy

By her death in 1980, Dorothy Day had spent over 50 years living in voluntary poverty, putting her life and heart into an active devotion for the gospel and while making real positive change for what Jesus would call, "the least of these." The movement she began is still flourishing and continuing her work. In addition, the Vatican began the process of considering her for sainthood in 2000.

Love is the Measure

Other than the belief that your life should speak your truth, I've learned countless lessons from the writings and life of Dorothy Day:

-Some of the best saints were really good sinners too.
It was true of St Francis and Buddha as much as with Dorothy's just not easy to find that deep spiritual insight until you make it to the darkest corners of the human soul.

That doesn't mean to just go nuts with the veniality, but to search for truth and do it on your own terms. When it's real to you because you found it yourself, you can move mountains.

-Poverty can't stop you if you have faith. The Catholic Worker Movement started with nothing. They never had a fundraiser. They never were sponsored by big rich fellows. But they grew and inspired and changed countless lives.

Pray, visualize, do that stuff "The Secret" tells you to do, whatever, just believe in your purpose enough and the cosmos will make a way no matter how little you have to begin with.

-A child is one of the most precious gifts. Honestly, I wasn't interested in having my own children until I ready Dorothy Day's account of her daughter's birth. She made me realize how beautiful child birth is and how lucky I am to be a women who can bring a baby into the world.

Her quick conversion to what seemed to be her true calling came with pregnancy and showed me how powerful a new life can be for anyone.

-Change is a struggle. Enjoy the ride. Day was jailed several times, lived in poverty, and had to deal with all kinds of difficult people on a daily basis. Instead of getting weary and giving up, she got weary, wrote and learned from it, and went on. Until the day of her death, she was still working for reform and following what she believed God called her to do.

-Weird little street dudes can change your life forever. Well I don't know if this is very true for most people, but I still like to believe so.

-Love isn't easy. Work at it anyway. Day once wrote, "Love must be tried and tested and proved. It must be tried as though by fire, and fire burns."

When you feel defeated and overwhelmed it's the last thing you feel like doing. But only through love, through compassion and empathy, will anything worthwhile ever come about. So love till it hurts and then love some more. Eventually it will be your ever-burning torch you can light the world with.

Recycle Your Cell Phone for Cash

I recently posted about how I want to recycle everything down to items like cell phones. Today Tori at Paid Opportunities wrote about Simply Sellular, a company that will pay you for your old cell phone. They will even send you a postage-paid envelope, making it super simple and easy to recycle your unwanted phone while making a few bucks.

I don't have a need to get rid of my ghetto cell phone yet, but when I do, I'm gonna give this a try!

Do you know of any good resources for recycling items that can't usually be throw into the recycle bin such as unwearable shoes or old computers? I would love to hear about similar programs.

Save Time and Money: Eat With the Seasons

Eating well and eco-friendly inexpensively can be a huge task, especially when you're just beginning the journey. The best bet seems to be growing your own food. But if you've never touched a seed and your thumbs are all shades except green, feeding yourself from gardening probably isn't going to be your first step on the path of eating healthy for cheap. You're going to have to find your healthy, sustainable food somewhere else.

Unfortunately, if you're new to budgeting or bargain shopping, the idea of thumbing through store ads, clipping coupons, and store hopping can be overwhelming as well. It takes a bit of organization, time, and patience. A weird, money-saving obsession helps too. But what if you don't have that passion and you're not ready to cultivate it? Do you still have a chance of saving money while buying quality food?

In short, yes. Although it is best to diversify your money saving methods of obtaining healthy food, the first and simplest step is to eat seasonally. Not only will you save money, but you'll be eating better.

Seasonal Food is:

-Better for you. It's generally fresher, tastier and packed with more nutrition than food transported in from far away or grown in less than optimal, natural conditions. For example, studies have shown that spinach harvested in Summer has a much higher vitamin C content than spinach harvested in Winter.

-Better for our Mother Earth. Since seasonal food tends to be local food, it takes less energy and produces less CO2 emissions than its out of season counterparts.

-Better for your budget. Buying food when it's in season almost guarantees the best price without having to worry about sales. In all truth, it's usually the season that determines the sales. For instance, I love blueberries with a passion. But in the Winter, they stay off my grocery list as they cost outrageously high in Winter. However, when July comes around, they are something I can indulge in.

-Romantic and fun. Eating by the seasons is like living in a French movie or a centuries-old book. You can be a Celtic villager celebrating a harvest or a mountain woman relishing the rhubarb she just got to make a pie for her twenty kids. It's just cool, man.

-Easy. Just take a little time to learn a seasonal food chart and plan your meals and grocery list accordingly.

Luckily, thanks to the continue growth of the Local and Slow Food Movements, there are many great resources available for those looking to eat by the seasons. The Food Network offers a general guide to Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables on their website. To find information specific to the region you live in, try a google search or look for the websites of Farmer's Markets in your area.

As far as recipes, RecipeZaar offers over 25,000 marked as seasonal. There is also some great books on the subject which are usually easy to find at most libraries and book stores. Local Flavors by Deborah Madison marks the top of my favorites list, with over 400 pages of local and seasonal food information, recipes, and gorgeous photographs,written by a well-established writer and vegetarian chef.

Transitioning to Cloth Diapers

I always thought I would use cloth diapers when I had children. Scientifically, I don't think it has been completely proved that using cloth diapers is better for the environment than disposal. But it just makes ecological sense to stop filling landfills with plastic diapers. Plus, it saves a lot of money over time and keeps those synthetic chemicals off baby's skin.

10 Easy Ways to Save Money by Reducing Waste in Your Home

In contemplating ways to save money, I began to think about ways I have reduced some of the waste our household produces. I have to say that I'm pretty lazy, so some of these actions took years before they become consistent habits. But in the long run, all the effort is worth it when I think about all the destruction our modern lifestyles do to the Earth. And all this stuff really is pretty easy and saves me loads of money in the long run.

Here are 10 easy ways to save money, listed by each item I have reduced or eliminated from consuming:

Get Kids to Drink More Water

Personally, I'm pretty hardcore about drinking water, and I want my son to be the same. Drinking water is a crucial element of good health, but it's a habit hard to aquire in our culture.

That's why it's super important to try to make drinking water a part our children's lives so it will become a habit that will stay with them. My son is just an infant, so his primary drink is formula (I am unable to breastfeed due to medical reasons), but I'm trying to get him into the habit of drinking water by providing it in his sippy cup throughout the day. I also have him drink it while I feed him solid foods.

Getting Clear Skin: Simplicity is Best

I truly believe that I wrecked some terrible havoc on my poor skin in high school when I tried to scrub it squeaky clean everyday with store-bought acne cleansers. I had mild blemishes that started at the beginning of puberty, but I helped to make them worse by obsessively washing my face several times a day with harsh, irritating chemicals.

Women Changing the World: The Barefoot Solar Engineers

My mother-in-law just asked me to explain to our friend how Vent-flow bottles work. My mouth dropped as I thought about it. I had no answer. So I am so technically-challenged I can't even figure out a baby bottle, but luckily there are brighter and more inspiring women out there.

The Barefoot College in Tilonia, Rajasthan, India provides training in applied technology to encourage sustainable development in rural communties accross the globe. Women from undeveloped, rural areas have become a important element to this progress. Many are taking the first steps to bringing green energy to their communities and opening up new opportunties for the inhabitants. These women take a few months to study at the college, learn solar engineering, and then return home to lead development.

"When I return, I shall make my village a well planned place....The inhabitants of my island will be very happy because they will profit from the availability of electricity to carry out activities at night; our children will be able to review their school notes in the evening after classes, women and fishermen can continue to smoke their fish at any time they need to. In that way, we shall live like the whites in Marseille."

-Francoise Douhou of Mbwape village in Cameroon, Africa

For more information, visit

Hate Changed My Life for the Better

I'm not an old lady yet, but I've been a few places and taken some misturns that have eventually led to a little insight. And one thing I've learned? Having some hate in my heart has made some things better for me. Of course, hate for sentient beings is just setting you up for bad karma, but hate - in general - is a natural human emotion so why not use it for some good?