Monthly Archives: January 2010

Savvy Brown’s First Giveaway!

Thank you to all my new subscribers!  This giveaway is now officially over. I will announce the winner on Sat. Feb. 6th!

The Savvy Brown Subscription Challenge Giveaway!

I want to thank all of you who are following me on Facebook and Twitter, and those of you who have visited this blog everyday since I launched it.

In appreciation of your feedback and your insight I invite you to take part in this blog’s first giveaway!

The Dates: Jan.31-Feb. 5

The prize: Mrs. Meyer’s Cleaning Day Laundry Products!

(and not the sample sizes either)

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Products

What you’ll get…

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Laundry Detergent (64oz.) – Geranium Scent

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Liquid Fabric Softener (32oz.) – Lavender Scent

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Oxygen Bleach (20 oz.)- Lavender Scent

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day makes affordable, natural, cruelty-free, biodegradable, allergen-free cleaning products for all over your home. All of her containers are recyclable and some of her products can be purchased as refills, (so that you’re not constantly throwing away spray bottles!) For more info on Mrs. Meyers click here.

The Giveaway Rules

1. Become a Savvy Brown subscriber for FREE* by clicking on the link below and follow the directions

Subscribe to Savvy Brown

2. Come back to THIS post and leave a comment telling everyone what day you became a subscriber!** ex.- Hi everybody, I’m (first name or handle only), and I subscribed on Feb. _, 2010

3. On Friday, Feb. 5th, a winner will be chosen at random. The winner will have 48hrs to contact me, otherwise another winner will be chosen.

*For more info on what a subscription means, check out What is RSS? and Why should I subscribe?

**Make SURE you comment using a working email address, otherwise I can’t contact you!

Good luck everybody!

laundry bask

Homemade Powder Laundry Detergent Recipe

Here’s one that will save you tons of money and it’s better for you, your home, the environment, your clothes AND your washing machine. (Even if it’s one of those new fangled HE ones).

What you’ll need:
  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup Washing Soda (This is NOT baking soda, it’s found in the laundry aisle)
  • 1 bar of Soap – I like Octagon, Fels Naptha laundry soap, or Dr.Bronners, some people even use good-old fashioned Ivory
  • Box Grater
  • essential oil (optional)
  • 1 wide mouth container
  • 1 tablespoon or small tbsp scoop

Directions:

1. Grate the soap. I use the medium grade side.You can use the smallest grade if you want, but it takes longer. (I usually do this while watching TV or simmering dinner or even on the phone.)

I found this FAB grater at IKEA. It’s basically a container with grater top. Perfect for containing the grated soap!

2. Pour all dry ingredients into an airtight container and add 3 drops of essential oil (I like lavender) shake vigorously to mix. This makes about 3.5 cups of detergent, BUT you don’t need to use as much as you would if you were using conventional detergent. You could always double or triple this recipe if you want.

How to use:

  • Small loads – use 1 tablespoon of powder per loads
  • Normal loads –  2 tbsps
  • Heavy loads – 3 tbsps

Even though I have a front load washer, I like to let a little water in the washer first, then add the powder and then the clothes. For particularly large dirty loads,stop the washer and let the clothes soak for a little while, and then continue the cycle. This soap powder does NOT gets very sudsy because there’s no sulfates in it. Don’t worry, your clothes are getting clean.NOTE:  Even though these ingredients are better for you and the environment than traditional detergents, THEY ARE STILL CLEANING PRODUCTS. Please use the same “common-sense” precautions you would as with other cleaning products. (In other words, don’t eat it, ok?)

Here’s a great a article about how to make your own liquid laundry detergent.
feed

What is RSS and why should I subscribe?

I’ve had several people ask me 3 questions since I launched this blog…
1. How much is a subscription to your site?
2. What is that RSS thing on the right side of your blog?
3. If I subscribe to your site, how does that help you?

Answers:
1. Subscribing to this site is FREE. What subscribing allows you to do is to read  all of the posts (articles) from this site sent to one central location. A subscription “feed” converts all of the information from a blog posting or website  into text. (Kind of like email) You can easily scan the latest post to see if you’re interested in reading it or not. If you are, just click on the title of the post you’re interested in and it takes you right to that page on the blog itself. It’s really helpful once you subscribe to more than one blog, or site because everything is laid out nice and neat for you to read in one place as opposed to opening each blog page separately. I personally subscribe to all of the links listed in the Savvy Links section plus the New York Times, CNN and a few others.

The best part? You don’t have to give up any personal information, or pay any money, you can’t get “spammed” and you can unsubscribe at ANY time with just a click. You can even tell it to send you feeds directly to your inbox. See? Simple.

2. RSS stands for “Rich Site Summary” or “Really Simple Syndication”. When you click on the icon that looks like this . it will take you to another page with a list of posts from this site and at the top will say something like “Subscribe to this feed using..” and next to it will be a little pull down menu that allows you to choose what application you would like to use to read the feed. It will list free readers powered by popular search engines that you can sign up with such as My Yahoo, Bloglines, and Google Reader. Many other sites, like msn, bing,  allow you to use one of these readers too!

3. The more subscribers the blog has the more visibility Savvy will get. With more visibility, comes higher web ranking and advertsing. Then I can offer more things to my readers, like guest bloggers, video how-tos, podcasts and even subscriber-only discounts and promotions!

So please subscribe to this blog today by clicking the link in the right column titled “Subscribe to Savvy Brown”

http://www.whatisrss.com/
http://www.copyblogger.com/what-the-heck-is-rss/
http://searchenginewatch.com/3531486

dryer_0020_balls_cut

I ♥ Dryer Balls

There’s nothing like a set of big, round, strong…
lint-removing dryer balls.

What?

In case you haven’t heard of them, dryer balls are rubber round balls about 3 to 5 inches in diameter that you throw in the dryer with your clothes instead of dryer sheets. They last for a long time, and take care of static cling and lint pretty well. Here’s a new pair that I just got. I LOVE these things, and I think they’ve cured a rash that I seemed to have developed after using liquid softener last year. (I think I may be allergic). These things are great, and what’s nice is they have some weight to them so they knock around your clothes pretty well, and my sheets always come out nice and soft! Plus, you’ll save a bunch of money on fabric softener.

Anybody else use dryer balls?

dreamstime_10778593HAIR

Why I don’t shampoo my hair Part 3: My routine

Ok so here’s how I clean my hair without commercial shampoo.

I wet my hair thoroughly in the shower FIRST and clean my hair with Dr. Bronner’s castille soap mixed with water. I put it in a squeeze bottle like this so that I can direct the shampoo at my roots and scalp easily without using too much. I clean my hair in SECTIONS (this is important if you really want to get your hair clean) by rubbing my scalp vigorously with the pads of my fingers, and then pull the soap through the rest of the hair in that section carefully. I clip each section back as I go. I don’t use my nails on my scalp because that tends to lead to a flaky scalp. I then remove the clips and rinse my hair out thoroughly. Unless I’ve been using a lot of product, or my scalp is really dirty, I only clean my hair once. Next I turn the water off (trying to conserve a bit) and add generous amount of Giovanni’s Smooth As Silk conditioner to my hair, (this stuff detangles like a DREAM) once again applying section by section, but this time concentrating on pulling it through my hair and less on my scalp. I use a shower comb to detangle my hair, you guessed it, section by section. Then I turn the water back on, take care of the rest of my shower business and rinse ALMOST all of the conditioner out.

Then I shake my hair like a wet dog.
(I’m totally serious. My husband saw me doing this once, and after determining that I wasn’t having a seizure he just looked at me, shook his head and walked out of the bathroom.)

Next I use my microfiber towel to squeeze excess water out of my hair and I apply a load of deep conditioner to my hair. I use either Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Rose conditioner mixed with castor oil and raw honey or I use my homemade Hair Guacamole Deep Conditioner. I put a plastic bag or cap on my head and then wrap up my hair for a few hours leaving my own body heat to warm it up. If I’m in a rush, I’ll lose the towel and just sit under the dryer with the plastic cap on my head for 30mins. This works better with the AOHSR and castor oil rather than the avocado/mayo mixture. (Ever smelled hot mayo? It’s a smell you’ll remember, trust me.)

Then I rinse it out with cool water and style as usual.

Some of my favorite styles?

- Twist Out – Motown girl gives great instructions on this one
- Twist ‘n Curl – Curly Nikki set the standard with her signature style
- Braid n’ Curl – Blackstrands gives great step-by-step instructions
- Wash ‘n Go – Shida Natural gives a great YouTube demo on this simple style.

What’s YOUR curly routine?

soup_600

Sweet potato-Coconut Soup YUM!

It was rainy and crummy on Monday, so I decided to make soup for dinner. I headed on over to one of my favorite new blogs Broke Ass Gourmet, (yes you read that right) to see what I could find. Gabi Moskowitz has a great selection of recipes with simple ingredients many of them for $10 or less ! Right up my alley. It came out really good!

Sweet potato-Coconut Soup

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 6-oz. can coconut milk
  • juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 4 cups (32 oz.) chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 small piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a large soup pot and cover. Bring to a light boil. Reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are very soft. Puree in a blender, food processor directly in pot using an immersion blender.

Ladle into bowls and serve

Serves 2-3.

For the full recipe and many others click here

avocado

Hair Guacamole

This is my favorite deep conditioner, and although I use store bought DC a lot, I keep coming back to this one!

Avocado/Mayo Deep Conditioner

Ingredients:
1/2 of a RIPE soft Haas avocado meat mashed with fork well
1/2 cup regular mayonaise (DON’T leave this out, otherwise you’ll have pieces of avocado left in your hair!)
2tbsps of oil (I use raw coconut oil, but you can use jojoba, olive, grapeseed, etc.)

Directions:
Put the avocado and the oil in a mini food processor or blender and blend, then add the mayo until smooth. Apply to hair from root to tip and cover with a plastic bag or plastic shower cap and wrap head with a towel. Leave on for a couple of hours, then rinse out with warm water.
Put any extra in the fridge (or add chopped tomatoes and urn it into a dip!)

Try it and tell me whatcha think!
NOTE: This Deep Conditioning Treatment is NOT to be used with heat. I wrap my head in a plastic bag and a towel, and let it sit while I clean my house. A couple of hours later, I wash it out.
scale4post

The Zen of Weight Loss

I remember years ago when I studied aikido that I would always get a little freaked when the sensei would train us to fight more than one person at a time. I hated it. I always wanted to go last, because it was never two-on-one, it was always like FIVE-on-one. He’d laugh as my eyes got big like saucers, but he’d make me do it anyway. The thing he taught me was that as long as you’re standing, you’re never, ever going to fight 5 guys at once. What you will do is fight 5 guys one at a time…repeatedly.

That’s kind of how I look at weight loss. You don’t need to lose 50 pounds.

You need to lose 1 pound….50 times.

Get it?

Think about how much better your day would go if instead of thinking “Oh I can’t eat anything. I have to lose, like, 50 pounds.” you said “I’ll have one cookie. Just one. Because well, all I gotta do this week is lose 1 pound”. Statistics show when it comes to weight loss, slow and steady wins the race. So sit down and think about one thing you could do everyday to lose just ONE pound.

Here’s a list of a few I’ve come up with:
1. Put skim milk or 2% in your coffee instead of whole milk
2. No eating after 8pm, you can drink water and tea if you want.
3. Replace your afternoon snack with fruit and a glass of water
4. Get 8 hours of sleep (Bring a book to bed, or take a 15min hot bath so you’ll sleep quicker)
5. Drink fruit juice instead of soda this week
6. Only drink alcohol once this week
7. Eat vegetables at lunch AND dinner
8. Workout everyday – don’t even change your diet at first
9. Don’t eat any fast food this week
10. Instead of cutting out bread completely, only eat it ONCE a day.

Now I’m sure some of you are sitting there like, “I can cut out more than that. I once did a diet where I only ate 800 calories a day.” That may be, but you gained it all back right? What we all tend to do is take on too much too quickly and then burn out.

STOP IT.

Stop trying to lose 50 pounds, quit smoking, run for block association president, PTA Chair, get through finals, work two jobs, coach soccer, finish your residency, renovate your house, study for the bar, sit on the deaconess board, AND the choir, keep your husband/boyfriend/significant other happy….and save Haiti all in 2 weeks.

You can’t do it people. And if you try, you won’t do any of it well. TRUST me on this. If you want to make losing weight a priority you’re gonna have to take it one day at a time.

Just like the rest of your life.

So what are some of the tricks you use to lose weight or keep it off?

kool_aid

Clean Your Dishes with Kool-Aid

Yep. I said it. Kool Aid…Those of you who know me know that I like to make my own stuff, and I happen to make my own dishwashing detergent. Why, you ask? Well have you ever checked the ingredients list on that box of Cascade? Check it out. Most of that unpronounceable stuff includes phosphates, petroleum, bleach and/or chlorine. Why Kool Aid? Well the number 1 ingredient in those little packets of Kool Aid is citric acid, which is a natural preservative, and excellent for cleaning dishes. Lemon works best because it’s practically colorless. (DON’T use cherry or grape KoolAid for this, because you’ll end up with pink or purple dishes).

Powdered dishwashing detergent recipe:
1 cup of Borax
1 cup of Washing Powder (I like Arm and Hammer Brand but this is NOT Baking Soda, that’s different)
4-6 packets of Lemon flavored Kool Aid (NOT the Sugar Free kind that comes in a container, you want the “old school” kind)
OR
1/4 cup of Citric Acid
1/4 cup kosher salt (optional but I like it)

Pour all together in an AIRTIGHT plastic container and shake vigorously to mix. Store AWAY from sunlight. (I keep mine under the sink) DONE!
SAVVY TIP: In order to NOT get streaks and spots on your glasses pour white vinegar into your rinse-agent dispenser. (That’s where you’d normally pour Jet-Dry).

DIRECTIONS:
Fill your dishwashers’ detergent compartment(s) with the powder, fill the the dispenser with vinegar, and put the top back on. Then shut and use your dishwasher as usual.
Everyone’s dishwasher is different, so don’t be afriad to tweak this recipe if you need to!