Products We Love

Natural Dishwasher Gel

As a follow-up to my last post about chemical free hand soap and dish soap, here’s what I like best for dishwasher gel.


It is a biodegradable formula that is chlorine-free and phosphate-free. Also, not tested on animals and made in the USA. Boom! Hits all my high points. Need a little more? The bottle is ALSO made from recycled plastic and is recyclable. The price is reasonable and you can find it online, on the Seventh Generation website, Amazon, in many local stores.

There’s not a lot else to say. It gets the job done, smells good, and has all the qualities I look for in an eco-friendly product. If you’re looking for an alternative to the phosphate-laden chemical product you’ve been using for years and you didn’t realize was harming the environment as well as possibly harming you, then here’s a great option to try for your dishwasher.

**Please note, I have not been compensated in any way for my opinion on this product; I simply like to share my product experiences with others in the hopes of exposing people to new ideas and products.

The supreme reality of our time is …the vulnerability of our planet.
~ John F. Kennedy

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Natural and Chemical-Free Hand Soap and Dish Soap

It took me a long time to find product replacements for our hand soap and dish soap. (Dishwasher soap coming in a future post.) It is easy to find natural bars of soap but I tried buying a soap dish and replacing the liquid hand soap with a bar soap. It’s still sitting there, barely used, staring me in the face. Every. Day. (Maybe I should just take it off the sink already. LOL) I don’t know about you, but there’s just something about liquid soap for washing your hands quickly at the sink.

After much looking at brands and prices online, this is what I thought I’d try, and I LOVE them!


I ordered the hand soap first and was instantly pleased so I branched out to the dish soap as well. The dish soap is highly concentrated so not much is needed and it lasts a good long time. Both soaps are:

  • plant based
  • not tested on animals
  • made in the USA
  • free from formaldehyde, petrochemicals, GMOs, phosphates, chlorine, and ammonia
  • are biodegradable and come in recyclable plastic
  • and they smell wonderful (they have other scents to choose from; I just like the Pear and Lavendar myself.)

If you’re looking for chemical-free options for your home, I highly recommend these and the Earth Friendly Products brand. Read more about the company here. You can find their products on Amazon and in a number of local stores. Just use their retail locator on their website to find something in your area.

**I have not been compensated in any way for my opinions on these products; I simply like to share my product experiences with the intent of introducing others to new or different ideas and products.

Approximately 72 percent of the waste currently being landfilled or incinerated consists of materials that could be put to higher and better use through recycling or composting. Most of this material is office paper, cardboard, non-recyclable paper, and food waste.
~ Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance

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Still Loving Our Safety Razors

It’s been almost a year since we switched from conventional, disposable razors to the old school shaving method with safety razors. It was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. We’ve saved a ton of waste in the form of disposable blades and shavers over the past year and I’m certain we’ve saved money through the entire venture too.

For those new to my blog, this is what safety razors look like:


We bought both shavers, the stand, bowl, brush, 3 soaps, and extra blades, all for $160 last May. Don has barely scratched the surface of his soap supply (see below), even though he shaves every day, and we have TONS of extra blades left (top of photo below.)


Soaps and brush from Seattle Sundries –

$160 might seem like a lot of money towards shaving but look at the average prices for just a couple of conventional razors and the blades:

$9 Schick Hydro 5 razor for men (this is one of the few that has less expensive blades than some)
$27 for 12 blade refills (not recyclable BTW)
$2.50-$3 per can of shave gel/cream (also full of chemicals and synthetic compounds) [double that if you're buying women's shave cream as well]
$9 Schick Intuition for women
$42 for 12 blade refills (also not recyclable)

These numbers can add up fairly quickly. Depending on how quickly you go through your blades and shave cream(s), you might be upwards of $100/yr for the disposable method. We often found ourselves replacing the shaver itself after a year or so too for one reason or another – and all of that stuff goes right in the landfill. :-(

Our stainless steel safety razors are longer lasting and the blades are recyclable (check your local rules). The soaps from Seattle Sundries are all natural and Don highly recommends them for shaving for men. I use natural-made soaps as well: Grandma’s Lye Soap, all natural soaps by Kreationzbyme on Etsy, and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Pure Castille Liquid Soaps, to name a few that have worked for me.

Yes, it took us both a little bit of time to adjust to the new razors. We both had to re-learn how to shave, just a little bit. But now that it’s commonplace for us both, we whip through our shaving routine just as quickly as we did before and our safety razors give us a much closer shave than any other. As a women, I’m able to shave all the necessary areas without any problems. I’ve had a couple of nicks but that’s no different from when I used disposables. Truly, I recommend it to everyone out there.

Check out my original post for more links on how to shave old school and I’ve included a few new links below. There are also tons of how-tos on YouTube as well. Just search ‘safety razor’ or ‘safety razor shaving’ to get started. ;-)

People underestimate their capacity for change. There is never a right time to do a difficult thing.
~ John Porter

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Organic Hair Oil Review and Giveaway

**UPDATE** This giveaway has ended. The winner has been notified. 

I jumped at the chance to try another Tropical Traditions product recently. I selected their unscented organic hair oil. (I don’t really like fragrances in my skin and body care products but they do carry the oil in lavender and rosemary scent as well.) The bottle is the same size as TT’s Moisturizing Lotion (which I still LOVE btw!) Hands down, best lotion I’ve ever had.


The suggested uses for the hair oil include: (from TT’s website)

For dry scalp: Rub into hair and scalp at least 30 minutes before showering, or before bed at night. Wear a shower cap or towel to protect bedding.

As a conditioner: As a deep conditioner, work through scalp and hair before washing. Leave in for 15 minutes to overnight. For a leave-in conditioner, work a small amount through wet hair before styling and drying.

Shine Serum: Rub a small amount in the palms of your hands and gently run over dry hair. Scrunch for curly hair or rake for straight hair.

I’ve primarily experimented with option #2. I’ve rubbed some through my hair 15-30 minutes before showering and washing it out. Once, I left it in overnight as a leave-in conditioner and washed it out in the morning. I also have used a small amount on wet hair after showering/washing, and then letting my hair air dry, which gives it a slightly windblown, natural look.

I can’t say that I’ve noticed any drastic changes but I am pleased with the results. I feel like my hair feels softer and looks healthier. I don’t use it every day and I would not recommend it as it might make your hair too oily, especially if you have naturally oily hair. I tend to wash my hair every 2-4 days depending on my activity and so in turn, I only use the oil periodically, not even every time I wash my hair. I’ve had the bottle pictured above for about two months and I’ve probably used it less than a dozen times. A little goes a long way; I don’t think I’ll need to replace my supply for quite some time.

And now it is time to pay it forward to one lucky reader! See below for giveaway rules and entry details. But first, if you are new to Tropical Traditions, I highly recommend you stop over to their website to learn more. Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils here:  What is Virgin Coconut Oil?

Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. (We cook with it almost every day!) Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. You can also check out TT’s FAQ page here.

Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, you can read about the health benefits of coconut oil here.

Giveaway Rules: 

You must 18+ to enter and the contest is open to US and Canadian residents. (Sorry international readers!)

To enter, simply subscribe to the Tropical Traditions newsletter here (which will keep you in the know on sales and promotions so you can buy products when they are discounted) AND leave a comment below telling me which fragrance you would prefer to sample – unscented, lavender, or rosemary. (If you are already a subscriber, just say so in your comment.)

This giveaway will close at midnight on October 31st. I will use to choose the winner and will notify the winner via email. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, I will choose a new winner.


What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.
~ Ralph Marston

Important Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

Full Disclosure: If you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.

Roughing It. Sort of.

We went camping last weekend at the Army MWR Toledo Bend Recreation Site. We rented a yurt.

The yurts don’t have running water but they DO have electricity. Including, a mini fridge, A/C unit, microwave, coffee pot, and lamp.

That was a LOT more than I was expecting! I had a heads up about the fridge (which I thought it would be smaller) and the microwave. But I didn’t realize we’d have all those other amenities as well. Still. Felt a little like roughing it compared to staying in our timeshares. LOL

Even though we had a fridge, our own fridge/freezer cooler is laid out better inside so we actually didn’t use the fridge provided. But we did plug in our ARB Freezer. NICE.

We had great weather the first two days/nights. We made dinner with our Cobb Grill Friday night.


Don is working on remember how to set it up.
Good thing we printed off instructions on how to fit it all back into the bag too!

We made brats. They turned out GOOD. Even the simplest food can taste good when you’re out in the middle of nowhere.

The yurts come with covered picnic areas as well as the porch in the previous photo. They are actually a pretty nice setup.

And the swimming beach was a stones throw from our porch.

Don went down to check the fishing from shore (see his orange shirt?) but it was too grassy close to shore for fishing. We did head down for some swimming enjoyment Saturday evening. It was great to enjoy the warm water. Pretty soon it will be too cold to want to do any swimming.

I hassled Don for a couple of more photos before dark. :-)



That night we remembered how to play cribbage. And realized that we could watch some tv previously downloaded to Don’s smartphone. Yeah. Roughing it. :-)

Saturday we rented a bass boat and spent a few hours fishing on the lake.



This little guy wriggled out of Don’s hands just as I clicked the photo.
He was ready to get back into that water!

We caught lots of little guys, too small to keep, but good for enjoying the day.


Yep. Tiny. Hey, at least I caught something!
I outfished Don the night before, fishing from the dock after dark. But he outdid me on the boat.


Not sure what he was laughing at but love it when he laughs.

It rained Sunday and we dodged back and forth from the yurt to the truck to pack and leave but all in all we had a good weekend. I even got a chance to take some sunset pictures that I think turned out pretty awesome!



The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson