Saturday, October 6, 2012

31 Days off Your Duff {Day 7} - Just Get Up!

Because I have a busy day today, and didn't plan ahead, today's post is going to be short and sweet. It's about the greatest struggle I have in my life:

Getting out of bed.

Everything else, I can shrug off or eventually find a way to deal with. Getting out of bed? That's a horrific, internal battle every single morning.

BUT! There is hope for people like you and me...

Just do it.

I know, this sounds like terrible advice, or not even advice... I've researched techniques or asked friends before, and I remember a lot of,

"You just have to make yourself do it!"
"Set your alarm for the same time every day!"
"Have a schedule you must adhere to!"

Hmm, helpful.

But you know what? One day not too long ago, I started doing just that.

My alarm would go off... and I just got up. Wow!


Well, I was going to give you my newfound wealth of tips to make this a little easier, and I looked it up online just to see if I was as smart as I feel.

Nope. Turns out GeekDad kinda beat me too it... a long time ago. Where was this article when I was searching for help?

Anyway, you can go check out his humorous post, but here is my list of tips as well.

Don't keep your alarm next to your bed.

When my alarm was right beside me, I could just turn it off and not realize I had even woken up. I moved it away from me, and that has definitely made things easier; its not as hard to keep from going back to bed, as it is to get out of bed.

However, I may be moving it even farther soon. My morning self has realized that she can kind of slither and stretch to reach the alarm without fully leaving the bed.

Sneaky woman.

Get your clothes ready beforehand

WOW, it was always stressful for me to stumble around, half-conscious, and pick out sane outfits. Once I finally got something together, usually 20 minutes had passed and I was already frustrated with my day.

Picking something out the night before is fun, takes 6 minutes, and I can look forward to wearing it when I wake up.


Ooh, tea. I love tea. With all that outfit-choosing time I've saved, I started making a little cup of tea in the mornings. It's important for me to have that tiny bit of alone time before I go to work, I've come to realize. And again, having something to look forward to makes getting up all that much easier.


This is where I was really laughing at GeekDad's post. He said he gets tons of reading done in the bathroom, and looks forward to doing so in the mornings.

I guess I do kind of the same thing. The bathroom is usually good for more time alone; half the time that's why I'm in there in the first place.

After I've gotten up, I'll give my eyes a few minutes to un-blur as I check the couple of things I need to on my phone. THEN, it's off for tea!


This is my last tip, but it's a very important one. If you are like me, it can sometimes take hours to expel that tired feeling out of your head and muscles.

However, I've recently started exercising in the morning. The moment I turn off my alarm, I drop down and do 10 pushups. The rythmic moving tries to put me back to sleep again, but it loses out to the muscular wake-up call.

I will then do 10 reps of squats and one other miscellaneous exercise. Then, I start my tea water boiling, do 10 more reps of each, and it's off to the bathroom!

All Done

There you have it. This didn't turn out to be that short, but oh well.

As I've just given you all my morning wisdom, I have nothing exciting to say for the ending. It's up to you now!

Get off your duff and... well, just stay that way! No going back to bed!

Friday, October 5, 2012

31 Days off Your Duff {Day 6} - OCM (Oil Cleansing Method)

Again, here's a really popular idea that is spreading around the world. But I can't have a blog without talking about OCM!

The Idea Behind OCM

In case some of you haven't heard yet, the Oil Cleansing Method is like the no 'poo of the face.

Basically, typical face washes strip your face of its natural oils, which causes it to overproduce oil for the rest of the day. The exfoliating face washes are actually pretty harsh on your skin, and will often leave tiny little abrasions on your face that you can't see with the naked eye. Mm, infection, anyone?

A lot of people, myself and boyfriend included, have decided to ditch the harsh, chemical-laden face washes and start cleansing the natural way!

But What Oils to Use?

What's fun about the OCM is there are so many options to choose from. Your most typical oils are:

- Grapeseed Oil
- Almond Oil
- Jajoba Oil (good for acne)
- Olive Oil (be sure it's actually, truly extra-virgin! See CrunchyBetty's amazing post about that here.)
- Sunflower Seed Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Tamanu Oil (not a typical one, but a good, expensive, face-loving option.)

You can't really go wrong here. Feel free to test all the oils, give each a couple weeks to get the full effect, and see which your face likes best.

My boyfriend and I have so far tried Grapeseed, Almond, Jajoba, and we just bought Tamanu. He has a dry, acne-prone face, and I have combination skin that likes to get little white heads sometimes, and so far we actually both prefer Jajoba oil (the Tamanu is too new to tell).

So those are a few of your options for the carrier oil. The oil that is actual going to get your face clean is castor oil. Typically, people use 1/3 castor to 2/3 carrier. But again, test the ratios and see which your face likes best.

Everywhere I look, people find out what ratio they want and then mix all their oil together in advance. I personally don't like that idea; I have a pretty little bottle for my castor oil, since I buy it in bulk, and I keep the carrier oil in whatever bottle it came in. That way, I can change it up as I see fit; if I had a particularly dirty day, I can use a little more castor oil than usual. Plus, my boyfriend and I use different ratios, so we just find it easier to keep the oils separate.

Time to Wash!

So now that you have your oils ready (you do, don't you?), you can go wash your face! It'll be near impossible to wipe the oil off unless you have a washcloth, so bring one of those with you too.

I'll walk you through my routine:

1. Pour the oils into my clean hands
2. Turn on the water to let it heat up while I...
3. ...Start massaging oil into my face
4. Keep massaging for about a minute
5. Wet my washcloth in the hot water
6. Drap cloth over my face until it cools, about 20 seconds
7. Wipe away oil (be sure to get your difficult jawline!)
8. Repeat 5-7 three times
9. Marvel at how fresh, clean, and soft my face feels

That's it! It's a nice calming routine, as the warm cloth feels really nice draped over your face. Take that total of l minute to clear your mind of the day's worries and calm yourself.

The End

Alright, there you have it! Don't be afraid to wash your face with oil; it makes you feel very clean, I assure you.

As with anything else, give your face a few weeks to adjust. It's used to being stripped and covered in chemicals, so it may not know what to do at first. As with my hair though, my face was so ready to stop using commercial products that it just flourished immediately (I know I'm extremely lucky; don't hate me).

Even if you start to break out, don't worry right away; some people just have so much dirt and grime under their skin that regular cleansers ignore, and the oil is going to extract those.

Good luck! Get up off your duff let your face know that you love it!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

31 Days off Your Duff {Day 5} - Nutrition Facts!

Oh boy, doesn't that title make you tremble with excitement?

Well, I'm pretty nerdy, so probably only a few of you will be as excited as I am by this post.

Recently, I was reading up on the wonders of B vitamins and all the natural energy they give you. I work very long days during the week and my sleep definitely suffers for it, so an extra dose of energy sounds great. Now I know people can take B vitamin tablets/pills, but I personally have never felt comfortable with those artificial forms of vitamins. I would much rather get everything I need from my food.

So, after looking for a site to give me lists of high B-vitamin foods, I came across They have categories of vitamin, minerals, and nutrients that your body needs, along with comprehensive lists of the foods you can eat to benefit from these.

They also have a fun comparison tool, so you can type in whatever food you are looking up, and get the complete facts on it. (some foods are not on there list, and some are just under really specific names)

After looking at these lists, I realized I am severely lacking in B-vitamins. Luckily, I love making my own lists, so I organized all this information in a way that I want to use it. I can easily make sure I am eating my vitamins now!.

My Meal and Ingredient Lists

Here, for your enjoyment, are some samples of what I created using the data off of Healthaliciousness (sorry, my computer only makes tiny screenshots apparently. Clink on the link if you don't have super-powered eyes and need to see a bigger picture.)

Bigger Picture
Eat your Kale!

This first picture is part of my ever-expanding nutrition list.

-The actual foods are colour-coded by type
-The nutrients, if they match a special colour with another nutrient, should be eaten
 together because it helps your body in the absorption process
-If an ingredient's Vitamin A is written in red, that means it isn't the best form
 that vitamin comes in, sadly.

Ahhh I love lists. Next!

Bigger Picture
A simplified meal

This depicts a super-simplified dinner recipe. I did this in Microsoft Excel, so I ordered it to total my meals up for me. Now, clearly, this isn't enough for the day, but remember this is just from dinner. I can look and see that:

"Oh, I'm missing a lot of B2, let's see.... *checks ingredient list* I think I'll have yogurt(11) and banana(5) for breakfast, and a feta(14)-seaweed(9)-avocado(8) salad for lunch!"

That would bring my total B2 for the day up to 64% of the recommended value - not bad, not bad. Ribolflavin is a hard one to get naturally, but there are plenty of vitamins that I can eat the full 100% of each day.

So! Now that you are filled to the brim with information, get off your duff and go grocery shopping!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

31 Days off Your Duff {Day 4} - Shoe Rack out of Crown Moulding

Let's Get Some Shoes

Shoes.... oh, I don't even know how to describe my feelings for shoes. When I'm shopping for shoes, I can't help but smile. My whole life seems problem-free. As I'm perusing the aisles and inspecting one pair after another, I can feel the anticipation and excitement in me building and rising... until my eyes finally fall upon that perfect pair of gorgeous feet art shoes. I scroll through the boxes or ask for them in the cute little size 5.5 or 6, slip/tie/buckle them on, and.... wow. Yep; definitely art.

At that point, it nearly never matters what the price tag says. When I find a pair of shoes I love, I HAVE to have them. Weak, I know, but I'm allowed one weakness, right? Oh crap, BBC's Sherlock was my one weakness.

Okay, I'm allowed two weaknesses.

It used to be that once I got my shoes home, I had nowhere to put them but on the floor. And the floor is no place for shoes! So finally, one day when I was on a crafty kick I decided to make this chic shoe holder I had once seen online. As it was a long time ago, I don't remember the original source I happened upon (it was just a simple picture, nothing more, as if the person hadn't done something extraordinary), and these racks now exist all over the internet. Thus, I'm left silently thanking my mystery inspiration.

Buying the Supplies

Unfortunately, as all of my things are packed away into boxes right now, I can't show you proper pictures of my paint or close-up pictures of my finished product; I'm just left with a quick picture or two I had sent to a friend. It's an extremely simple concept though, so don't worry.

First, I went to my local building supply store and bought some crown moulding. If I remember correctly, it came in 20 foot increments, so I got it cut into three pieces; 6', 6', and 8'.

Then, I bought a bottle of Martha Stewart's craft paint - again, it's packed away, and I don't rememebr - in some kind of blue with a pearl finish, and a foam brush.

Making the Racks

Hooray! I was ready, and so excited. At home, I laid down some bags, poured some paint into a used coffee cup lid and got to work.

Look how resourceful I am

I painted the two smaller mouldings in slightly less than one bottle of paint (see the squeezed-out bottle in that picture?), with 2-3 coats each. Once they were dry, my boyfriend drilled them into the wall, and they were ready!

This picture doesn't do justice to my beautiful shoes.

Some of those shoes had trouble staying on, so I had the brilliant idea of putting down a line of hot glue (I'm sure that idea is not the first of its kind, but I was impressed when I thought of it). That gave my more difficult shoes something extra to grip while they hung up there.

Of course, this only works with high-heeled shoes, but I have some yet-to-be-implemented ideas for the others.

Have you done anything special for your shoes? If not, then get off your duff and honour them! Or, just go buy more shoes.

And then sit right back down and watch BBC Sherlock.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

31 Days off Your Duff {Day 3} - Going No 'poo... and No Everything Else Commercial

Once again, here is another sensation sweeping across the internet. But naturally, I went and tried it for myself, so I shall tell you about it now!

The Breaking Point

It all started back in March. I was about ready to shave my head in hopes that it would cut down on the amount of frizz I was always covered in. I had been trying different shampoos and conditioners for about a year, and my boyfriend had even dropped seventy bucks on a deep conditioning appointment at our local hairdresser. It was clear though that nothing was working. And every new product I bought somehow required another product to go with it, supposedly to counteract any harmful effects by the FIRST product.

Why, I wondered inside my frizzy head, am I using products who's sole purpose is to create new problems?

It was then I remembered this weird, shampooless way of life that some women lived. At the time I first read about it, I had thought it sounded like something only strange fantasy-land women would do. But seeing as how "normal" products had been failing me, I was ready to give this odd "no 'poo" method a try.

Ingredients for my head in the shower

Mixing it Up

Every place I looked said to start with 1 cup water, one tbs BS/ACV. So the first morning of my weekend, I combined some baking soda/water, stole some of my roommate's apple cider vinegar to make the conditioning water, and hopped in the shower. It felt weird washing with just flat liquid, but I went with it.

Now, my hair takes hours and hours to dry, so once I was done I tried to forget about how dirty it was probably going to look and move on with my life. Eventually though, my hair was ready, and it was time to look in the mirror!

Holy sh...

My hair. Looked. Amazing. In fact, it looked like I actually HAD hair, instead of just medusa-snake-esque frizz strands. And it was SOFT. I had read about scary "transition periods," where peoples' hair rebelled against such a drastic change in habits, but mine was just flourishing. I think it was actually smiling at me. I know I was certainly smiling at it.

Never Looking Back

That's the exact moment it all started.

Thinking about all the chemicals and who-knows-whatsits that I had been ruining my head with all this time almost made me feel sick. I began wondering what other useless products I had been buying and slathering onto my body, and researching ways to make them myself. Then THAT led to wondering about the modified and sugar-ladden food I was putting INTO my body.

From the advertising market's point of view, it was all downhill from there. They no longer held any power over me, no matter how largely their actors smile.

I now know I can do everything better myself. We all can.

P.S. Two Quick Things...

I've recently taken to adding a couple drops of essential oil to my "conditioner." The wonderful smell stays in my hair for about two days, plus it gives an extra health boost. Rosemary and Lavender are said to be great for all hair types, and are even pretty good for dandruff. But as I have neither of those yet, I have been using ylang ylang for the fragrance.

Also, if I am drinking any tea before my shower, I'll use that in place of water or as a final rinse. Tea has so many health benefits, both inside and outside your body!

So tell me, special readers; have you tried the no 'poo method? Did you have a natural living epiphany one day?

Let us all know!

My Simple No 'poo Recipe
  • 1 tbsp baking soda to
    1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp ACV to
    1 cup water
  • tea and essential oil optional

Wet your hair, and slowly pour the baking soda mixture onto your scalp, massaging as you go. After a good rub down, let sit for a minute and rinse.
Follow with the ACV (don't forget to rinse first, or your whole head will start fizzing!) I soak my ends in the ACV mixture before pouring it all over my hair. Then I finish my shower before rinsing it out in cold water.

Monday, October 1, 2012

31 Days off Your Duff {Day 2} - Kale Chips

Let's start easy today with a simple, quick snack that you can make all by yourself.

As I'm sure at least most of you know, "kale chips" seems to be the new hot thing blowing into town. One of my grocery stores even sells them now. But don't fall for that; you can make your own quite simply!

Discovering Kale

Ahhh, Kale. If I was the type of person to feel embarrassment, I would be ashamed to admit the following:

Until just a few months ago, I thought kale was an inedible piece of green, like a leftover after you chopped up the actual food part of a vegetable.

I blame my mother; whenever we went out to dinner and I asked her if I could eat that cute, curly leaf on the side of my plate (make note that I did not know it was called kale), she would say,

"No, that's just for decoration. You can't eat that."

But anyway, there I was in the grocery store, brimming with excitement over making these new "kale chips" my friend had told me about. I come to the poorly organized vegetable display, and underneath the kale sign I see two vegetables: one is light green and tube-like, and one is that inedible hunk of green. So I left the store with, what I later found out, was bok choy.

There's another vegetable I had never learned about. You gain new knowledge every day.

Luckily I realized my mistake before trying to make bok choy chips, and went back to the store for the kale. It felt wrong buying that decorative leaf, but I did it anyway. Good thing too, because it makes a delicious and healthy potato chip alternative!

The Making of the Kale Chip

Alright, now that the very crucial back story is out of the way, it's time to talk about making kale chips!

Step 1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. I've tried making them at 350, but they always came out with a slightly burnt taste.

Step 2. Tear you clean, dry kale into whatever size chips you want to end up with. They will shrink a little, so be sure to account for that.

Clean, dry, delicious purple kale

Step 3. Time for spicing. Sorry, here's the point where I never measure anything. That's okay though, because you can't really go TOO wrong with this step. First, grab a ziploc bag, and pour some oil in there...

Mmm, tons of cayenne pepper

...looks like maybe 1 or 2 teaspoons is what I use for 1 half of kale. Then, it's all up to you! You can spice it with salt, pepper, vinegar, cayenne, garlic, cheese, whatever you want.

This particular batch was cayenne/garlic.... do NOT put in much cayenne. It tastes very concentrated... again, don't put this much in. Very hot, very hot.

Anyway, after the flavour is ready, dump in your kale chips. Seal the bag, and start going to town on those bad boys! Shake 'em up, swish them around, massage the spice into them, turn them upside down, dance a little jig, just make sure they all get a taste of your mix.

Step 4. Alright after that fun step, take a moment to catch your breath, and then place your kale pieces on a baking sheet and stick them in the oven. I cook mine for 16 minutes, and they turn out perfectly; crispy, with no burnt taste.

16 minutes exactly!

The Eating of the Kale Chip

After that agonizing 16 minute wait, all your hard work is finally rewarded! Eat your kale chips now while they are warm, or stick 'em in a bag and eat them later, whatever you want. Just be sure to enjoy the "fruits" of your labour!

Shiny ones are deadly cayenne pepper. The nice ones are salt and vinegar.

If you come up with a delicious recipe of your own, let me know! Now, get off your duff and go make some kale chips!

Kale Chips
  • Preheat oven to 300
  • Tear dry kale into desired size
  • Put flavour in ziploc bag
  • Shake, shimmy, and squeeze your kale pieces in the mix
  • Cook kale on baking sheet for 16 minutes

31 Days off Your Duff {Day 1} - Intro

Get off Your Duff and Live, Now!

Hello everybody! Glad to see you stopping by. I have been wanting to start a blog for the better part of a year, but the thought was always so daunting. Then, when I heard about the 31 Days of Blogging challenge, I thought it would be the perfect incentive!

Everything in this blog, for the month of October, will be about getting up off your duff and doing something! Quit surfing through Pinterest and pinning things to do "later," quit posting to Facebook that you wish you had some food to eat... go do these things now!

These posts will include things like: making your own kale chips, yogurt, brownie fudge; weaning yourself off of commercial products by going no 'poo and washing your face with oil; and some DIY crafts such as creating shoe racks, tea bags - you get the idea!

Be sure to check back every day, give me your thoughts, and visit the other 31 Day bloggers as well!

Links to my 31 Days off Your Duff:

Day 2 - Kale Chips
Day 3 - Going No 'Poo...and No Everything Else Commercial
Day 4 - Shoe Rack out of Crown Moulding
Day 5 - Nutrition Facts!
Day 6 - OCM (Oil Cleansing Method)
Day 7 - Just Get Up!
Day 8 - How To Beat Motion Sickness
Day 9 - Tea Week - TeaMind
Day 10 - Tea Week - Lapsang Souchong Salmon
Day 11 - Tea Week - Sewing Your Own Teabags
Day 12 - Tea Week - Unusual Uses for Tea
Day 13 - Tea Week - Yixing Clay
Day 14 - Make Your Own Vinaigrette
Day 15 - Make Your Own Energy Bar
Day 16 - Eggnog Pancakes
Day 17 - Squash & Pumpkin Seeds
Day 18 - Do What Makes You Happy
Day 19 - Making Your Own Yogurt
Day 20 - Fudge Brownies
Day 21 - Etching Your Own Designs
Day 22 - An Alternative to Letting Your Child Gorge on Candy
Day 23 - Stuffed Mango Chicken
Day 24 - Yogurt Sandwich
Day 25 - Plan in Advance
Day 26 - Make Your Own Body Scrub
Day 27 - A Berry Cream Treat
Day 28 - Compliment Someone
Day 29 - Lemon Thyme Tequila Sprtizer
Day 30 - Tuna & Apples
Day 31 - Rolling Perfect Pinwheels