Monthly Archives: May 2010

Savvy’s First Guest Blogger: EcoKaren Lee!

If you’ve followed @savvybrownblog on twitter, almost every week you know I am either RT, quoting or talking to @ecokarenlee. She has a great site, blog, Etsy Shop and tips for going green practically. She’s also a master at “upcycling”. (That’s when you make new items out of old objects). I was so honored when she agreed to be my first guest blogger! Read on and learn something new…

Karen Lee

Who is Ecokaren?
I am a retired Chiropractor-Turned-Stay-At-Home-Eco-Mom. My education in chiropractic trained me on living healthy, physically and mentally but also connecting the environment to our health. Having said that, although I have always been conscientious about how wasteful we are and how much we abuse our natural resources, I wouldn’t classify myself as an environmentalist, in the traditional sense of the word. But it does really bother me that we live in a disposable and “we-wanted-it-yesterday” society and that quick and convenience takes priority over the environment. I’m guilty of that sometimes too but I am trying to change and want to do it in a fun and simple way, without being too radical or becoming a pack rat by hauling all of the neighbors’ garbage into my house for reusing.

How do you get your family to into green living?
I can’t tell you how you can change your family but I will tell you how I did. I started to look at ways to reduce buying “want’ items and instead, buying only “need” items…call it being frugal or being an environmentally conscientious but I started to really re-evaluate what I buy. In doing so, not only did I start to save money by not buying frivolously and impulsively but it also reduced waste. I also started to reclaim things to renew, which is essentially what upcycling is – reinvent things from old things.

Like these soap dishes I made with un-recyclable plastic bottle caps…

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Savvy Mailbag: Healthy Makeup

This question came from blog reader Marrissa who was curious about my makeup reggie.

Hey Savvy,

I have been reading the site for a while now.  You posted something on curly nikki in the forum and I came on over.  Here is my question for you–do you wear makeup? I assume you do not. Most ladies I see that are natural are still packing on make-up filled with all the harsh chemicals.  I guess they have not made the connection that your skin can be chemical free too. I stopped wearing make up when I started transitioning.  I started transitioning because of health reasons.  I decided to stop relaxing when watching black in america 2’s segment about triple negative cancer rates in black women.  So my sister and friends were excited to get all my mac products but did not want to hear the reason why.

– Marisa

Yes Marrissa! I absolutely wear makeup, but I chose to wear healthier versions of it. Many people think I don’t wear makeup, but I do. (I swear! See pics below). I just like a more natural look. My makeup is 99% free of parabens, sulfate, synthetic dyes, synthetic fragrance, mineral oil, petro-chemicals and phtalates. The only thing I don’t usually wear is blush because it makes me break out and I don’t wear eye shadow because I have NO CLUE how to apply it!

Here’s what I use almost every day:

Foundation – Bare Escentuals Bare Minerals Original Mineral Foundation 100% Pure mineral powder with an SPF of 15 $25

Color: Deep

I lightly brush this all over my face and it instantly evens out my skin tone. I have noticed, however, that I do have to re-apply before the end of the day if I’m goin out. )I’ve been told that topping off the foundation with BE Mineral Veil will give my makeup it more staying power, but I haven’t tried that yet. The titianium and zinc powders are what provide the sun protection. Positive: Great coverage, it comes in any color for any complexion and the stuff lasts forever. (You’ll need to replace your brush before you need to replace the powder) Negative: It’s messy. Because there are no parabens, it’s basically loose powder and it can get everywhere if you’re not careful. To find out what shade you are stop buy a makeup place like Sephora and they’ll help you find your color for free!

Titanium Dioxide 12.6%, Zinc Oxide 21%. Inactive Ingredients: Bismuth Oxychloride, Mica, Iron Oxides, Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide

Buy Bare Minerals SPF 15 Mineral Makeup at the Savvy Shop Continue reading

Bee Mine Giveaway!




You’ve heard me raving about Bee Mine Bee Hold Curly Butter for awhile. It’s great for twistouts, twist ‘n curls and any other natural 3a,3b,3c,4a,4b,4c  style you can think of. For more info on this all natural product check out my review here. Bee Mine was generous enough to donate this prize of 8oz. of Curly Butter. The scent is Coconut Cream. So if you’ve ever wanted to try this product, now’s your chance!

Giveaway rules: Continue reading


21 Ways to Save Money on Your Water Bill

In an effort to lower our water bill, I’ve been researching different tactics. So far we’ve only seen a small reduction in our bill so far, but we’ve only been doing this for a month, and we haven’t done everything on the following list. I hope to lower our bill by 15% over the next few months. If you rent, forward this post or print it out for your landlord. Let them know that you’ll do what you can do help and they might just lower your rent, or at least not raise it!

  1. Only use the dishwasher once a week and when it’s completely full. (There’s only two of us, we were just being lazy)
  2. Wash dishes in a large bowl or basin in the sink. That way, you don’t have to fill up the whole sink with water.
  3. Put a brick or water bottle with sand at the bottom in your toilet tank. (Put it in the tank opposite the flushing mechanism so that it will displace the water, therefore using less)
  4. Turn off the water after you brush your teeth.
  5. Turn off the shower when you are putting conditioner/detangling your hair. (I do this, and it works!)
  6. Use a low-flow showerhead.
  7. Use self-watering pots in the garden. (They don’t need to be watered as often)
  8. Fix a leaky toilet ASAP!
  9. Reuse your plate, cups and silverware at home. (Don’t grab a new cup every time you’re thirsty!)
  10. Re-wear some of your clothes for less laundry. (Jeans don’t have to be washed every time you wear them) Continue reading
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I ♥ Tomoka’s Twists!

Now you know I’m a DIY kinda gal, but I occassionally will buy things that I can’t make, especially if those things are creative, show ingenuity and I have a little extra spending money. Enter: Tomoka’s Twists. I first heard about TT on YouTube, and I’ve been tracking her ever since then. But it wasn’t until she showed up on the Sunday Nappturalite Radio Show, that I learned her name isn’t Tomoka, it’s Mimi, and the biz is named for a favorite family member). Then I started following her on twitter, I found out how friendly, and down-to-earth she was. Well I finally ordered a “twist” for myself, and every time I wear it I get nothing but compliments! The twist is actually covered wire, that has beads on the end. Here’s the one I ordered:

S. Luxurious - $16 (shipping was free)

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Growing Vegetables and Herbs in Containers

I have a deck in my backyard, and I was determined to actually grow food this year. I don’t exactly have a green thumb, but I do have friends and neighbors who are great gardeners, and are always willing to share their horticultural knowledge. I haven’t had much luck growing anything from seeds, so I a few weeks ago, I decided to check out the local farmer’s market and garden shop and pick up some seedlings. I bought lettuce, squash, peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, celery and herbs.

The day that I planted everything I also added a couple of tablespoons of  fertilizer to the soil in each pot. I used Miracle Grow Organic Potting Soil in all of my pots, and because of my schedule and occasional lack of attention, I used about 4 “Self-watering” planters so that I only had to water every other day. The regular pots I watered every day. If it was particularly hot out, I would water again after work in the evening. I forgot to take a pic when I first planted everything but here’s how it looks now.

2 tomato plants

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Homemade Bread for Dummies Redux

I owe this post to Savvy reader Kichael, who commented on my original “Homemade Bread for Dummies” post with a bread recipe from Recipe Zaar that introduced me to quick-rising yeast! I altered it slightly, for the recipe below. Thanks Kichael!

Homemade Bread Recipe 2 (recipe makes one loaf)


* 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 tablespoon sugar
*1 teaspoons salt
* 1 packages fast rising yeast
* 1 cups hot water (125°-130°F)
* 1/2 tablespoon water
* cornmeal

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savvy shield

You Can’t Keep A Good Woman Down!

Whew! Savvy succumbed to the WordPress kryptonite that was thrown onto GoDaddy’s server. She’s recovered and she’s fine now, and completely safe to navigate. I’ll be running updates and making more behind-the-scenes changes in the next few weeks. Thanks for your patience, support and all of your helpful and thoughtful emails, FB comments and tweets!

– Savvy

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This One Goes Out to All the Mom’s Out There….

This post is dedicated to all of you moms out there making ends meet and keeping your family moving everyday. I’ve collected some comments/emails from moms about changes that they’ve made around the house to keep their families healthier, their budget’s tighter, and the planet greener. We can ALL learn something from them:

MsTiffany TiffanyMs – “I started using vinegar as a household cleaner especially in the bathroom where me and my baby girl bathe. Still learning tho and doing research. Everything I’m learning is so shocking lol I feel like I’ve been living in a bubble all these years. Not much of a story but u inspire me to be conscious about the products I use in my home and on my body.”

Clarissa – “I threw out all the MICROWAVE POPCORN!* I found out there are DANGEROUS CHEMICALS that LINE the bags of microwave popcorn (the grease lining). I also, found out the same applies to SODA POP CANS as well. Also, as Ms Tiffany. We use Apple Cider Vinegar for many uses! We drink a tsp a day (add it to water w/ a tsp of honey). Also, we use vinegar as … See Morea glass cleaner. Instead of pouring HARSH CLEANERS down the sink to clean I use Lemons they clean and REFRESH the drain. We use baking soda to clean out sinks (great for removing rust stains).* Just naming a few changes we have made!*”

Karen – “I put 1/2 cup popping corn in a plain brown lunch bag. Fold the toip over very tightly 3 or 4 times and put in microwave for 3-5 mins (depending on your microwave)… It makes FABULOUS “air popped” corn… then add what ever toppings you like… I prefer Old Bay seasoning instead of salt or cinnamon for a sweet version.”

Dddiva – “We love to make popcorn with coconut oil- no butter needed, so much healthier.”

Angela – “For the last 2 months, I have stopped using dryer sheets or anything else for that matter. All I use is a ball of aluminum foil. I have used the same one the whole time. I do about 15-20 loads/week.” Continue reading

In Case You Missed It…..

The video of the live webcast of The Organic Baby Resource Show on that I did on Monday is up. On the show, I demonstrate how to do several of the recipes here on the blog. It was special for Mother’s Day called “Pampering Yourself with Homemade Bodycare” Pt. 1 and Pt. 2

Part 1 is about 32 mins and Part 2 is about 5 mins.

For those of you unfamiliar with the show, Erika is the host of Organic Baby Resource with Erika and the creator of Organic Baby Resource, a website devoted to all things baby and healthy. Every two weeks Erika talks about something natural and/or organic for baby and in this case, for mom! Viewers watch live and can instant message questions right to the guest and to Erika. So you’ll see me stop and look at a screen on the side occassionally and answer questions, and so will Erika.

Enjoy the show!

“Pampering Yourself with Homemade Bodycare” Pt. 1