Suds are for duds…

Growing up there was nothing better than a head full of suds paired with a bubble bath beard and a good ‘ol rubber ducky. But those “suds” were actually completely unnecessary and drying out your skin. It’s due to a chemical called Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), a detergent found in many personal care products like soaps, shampoos, toothpaste etc. SLES is an inexpensive and very effective foaming agent that, unfortunately, causes skin and eye irritation for many humans and animals. I was one of those humans and could not believe how many products list SLEA as its second or third ingredient. (I dare you, look through your grocery store’s soap aisle or even your own bathroom and count how many times you see it.) My skin and scalp were begging for a healthier more moisturizing cleanser so I went searching for one. 

The solution? Castile soap! Castile soap is unique and different from other soaps in many ways. This is a completely earth friendly, biodegradable soap which contains no harmful chemicals like other average soaps. Castile does not require any animal products like tallow which is widely used by regular branded soaps. Rather, Castile soaps are made from 100% pure plant oils. This is a revolutionary soap in the industry and can be considered as a true soap which contains no chemical detergent.

In earlier centuries, an all-vegetable based soap was made in the Castile region of Spain from local olive oil. By the turn of this century, “Castile” had come to mean any vegetable oil-based soap, which is distinct from animal (tallow) fat-based soaps which can be extremely drying.

Although Castile soap does produce a foaming lather, this comes from it’s high coconut oil content, which makes a more luxurious and richer lather than any detergent could ever create. “Pure-Castile” is your guarantee that what you are using is an ecological and simple genuine soap, not a complex blend of detergents with a higher ecological impact due to the waste stream created during manufacture and detergents’ slower biodegradability. Unfortunately, many synthetic detergent blends are deceptively labeled as “Liquid Soap” even though they contain absolutely no soap whatsoever.

This soap is available in bars, flakes and liquid form. Liquid is my favorite, as it is much easier to mix and measure. Castile soap is famous for its affordability, simplicity, and it’s variety of uses. I used to buy mine on Amazon but now you can find it at Target and I’m sure other stores as well. 
It’s also an all purpose household cleaner. The cool thing about it is that you can experiment using different essential oil herbal infusions to the soaps to diversity and customize your Castile experience. You might feel like a scientist testing out with various products and with different results each time. It’s fun! (Well, at least my idea of fun, I have to do something to make cleaning more fun…) Maybe you prefer lemon blossom to your floor, and orange on your dishes. Some prefer lavender in their laundry and lemon in their bathrooms, the choices and possibilities are endless and you can try something different every time to add more “fun” (again, playing fast and loose with that word here) to your life.

Here are ten ideas on how you can use the Castile soap…

1. Shampoo- Mix it with some almond or avocado oil. Add a little peppermint essential oil for a tingly clean! 

2. Laundry Detergent- You can make yourself a chemical free, safe laundry detergent with simple, common ingredients. Mix your soap with hard water to the ratio 1:3 and there you go. This way you can save loads of money and helping the environment in the process. Use lavender or citrus scented soap to give your clothes a pleasant (but not overwhelming or chemically…I know I know, it’s not a word) smell.

3. Dish Soap- Take half a cup of castile soap and mix it with half cup of water and vinegar. Put the whole mixture in a plastic squeeze bottle, shake up well and you have a high quality dish detergent. You can even use it as a hand wash.

4. Dog Shampoo- What’s good for you is also good for your pets, use the same ratio that you use to prepare your body wash to create an awesome dog shampoo. I put lavender in mine because it has a calming effect and anything to help calm Raven down from the torture that is bathtime, I’ll take it! 

5. Car Cleaner- Take one fourth of a cup of Castile soap and mix it with hot water, it will work wonders to remove stains from cars and keep it clean.

6. Use it as a Floor Cleaner- Use castile soap to mop your floors, all you have to do is add one eighth of a cup of castile soap and safe ratio of vinegar and mix it with one gallon of warm water. A few drops of lemon essential oil and your whole house smells divine.

7. Household Cleaning Spray- It is a great way of cleaning your regular household items; mix with water to dilute. 

8. Carpet Cleaner- Castile soap could act as a great carpet cleaner, mix one fourth of a cup of castile into one cup of water. Blend the solution and stir until it forms a stiff foam. And you get a nice solution of eco friendly carpet cleaner that really works! 

9. Body Wash- Use castile soap as a body wash with your choice of essential oil. You can directly buy the Castile bar soap which is available at all retail outlets or you can mix the liquid soap with water in the ratio 2:1. I prefer the liquid. It’s great for shaving too! 

10. Scrubbing Solution- Make toilet soft scrub with the help of baking soda and castile soap. Fill a spray bottle with soap and water in the ratio 1:3. Spray the area you want to clean with the solution, and then add baking soda to it. Rub it with a sponge and watch the stains disappear, it also works on ovens, stovetops etc.
* it should be noted that I’ve also read castile can be used as an insecticide for indoor and outdoor plants buuuuuut….since I don’t have a green thumb and haven’t tried this myself I decided not to list it as number eleven. 

Who knew you’d learn so much about soap today and I never thought I’d say the word “castile” so many times in one post! 


you so fly…

First of all I would like to warn you that this post is not your usual recipe, makeup tip, or me smiling with my hands on my hips. It’s more of a…scientific nature if you will. Last night I was at my aunt’s house and a fly landed on an item of food. I declared in disgust, “Don’t eat it, that fly just threw up on it!” But her son, my cousin, and a teenager who therefore duh, obviously knows everything, indignantly corrected me. “That’s not true!” he said defensively, as if his best friend were a fly. I guess he just has a soft spot for disease carrying insects (or just likes to prove me wrong…) This made me think. I had always believed that when flies land on something and rub their tiny little arms together, they’re vomiting or defecating. So I decided to research the question…

Do Flies Really Vomit and Poop When They Land on You?”

I found this super informative, albeit gross, article by Debbie Hadley an expert on insects. Hadley says…

Let’s get to the bottom of a common belief about flies – do flies really vomit and poop when they land on you?

First of all, we need to be a bit more specific. We’re talking about house flies here, known by scientists the world around as Musca domestica. The house fly associates with people. Virtually anywhere on the planet where you can find people, you will also find Musca domestica.

Anyone who has ever enjoyed a backyard barbecue knows that house flies will crash your picnic table, walk all over your potato salad, and attempt to taste your burger, should you dare to leave it unattended for even a second. And occasionally, those flies will come to rest on you. So you are probably wondering what they’re up to while they sit there. It’s a totally understandable concern. 

Let’s tackle the first bit of this question first – do flies vomit on you? The answer is a resounding…sometimes. 
House flies do vomit, sort of, and they do so pretty often. Unfortunately for the house fly, it is not equipped to chew solid foods. Most insects that feed on solid food – beetles, for example – have chewing mouthparts, with which they can properly masticate their meals into tiny, digestible bits. House flies were instead blessed with sponge-like tongues. Only in flies, we call their tongues labella (the singular is labellum, but the fly has a matched pair). House flies “taste” with their feet, so they have no choice but to walk on their food (and ours, should they be sampling our picnic menu. 

When a house fly comes upon something that seems like it might be yummy (keep in mind that dog poop is the kind of thing house flies find yummy), it will reflexively stick out its labella and press it against the potential food item to investigate. Liquids can be slurped up without much effort. Inside the house fly’s head is a structure called a
 cibarial pump (or food pump), which generates a suction to draw the liquid up through channels in the mouthparts (called pseudotrachea). 

So how does the house fly make a meal out of meat, or any other solid food (like dog poop)? It uses those same mouthparts to liquefy the entrée. The
 house fly dabs the tasty morsel with digestive enzymes by bringing up a little regurgitated food and saliva. The enzymes begin breaking down the solid food, gradually turning it into a slurry the house fly can then lap up. Meat milkshake, anyone?

Now, think about the last time you had a stomach flu. Anytime you vomit repeatedly, you run the risk of dehydration, so you have to drink a lot of fluids to replace the ones you lost. Flies are no different. This liquid diet means flies require a lot of water. And when you drink a lot of water…well, let’s just say what goes in, must come out, right? So flies do a lot of defecating, too.

Therefore, in answer to your original question – do flies really vomit and poop when they land on you? Yes, they do, but not every single time they land on you. It really depends on whether or not the fly thinks you are a potential meal. If the fly gets a message from its feet saying, “Hmm, this guy tastes pretty good. Take a lick!” you’re probably going to get a little fly vomit on you. And hey, if the fly has got to go, it’s got to go, so you might just get a little fly poop on you, too.

So there you go, you really do learn something new every day. Unless you happen to be my father, in which case I’m sure was already completely aware of all the useless information contained in this post. For more information on this fascinating topic, check out this book of children’s poems I found in our book collection… 


He’s my person. 

“We are as perfectly matched as two imperfect human beings can be and I love him with all that I have.

I read that somewhere recently…oh right, it was here on my blog. (shameless plug) But it’s so true. As usual, I can’t sleep. And I’m sitting here, watching him snooze peacefully,  (because he of course falls asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow) his hands folded together, resting on his chest as it slowly rises and falls with each breath…and I just love him so much. I remember before we were married expressing concern about his potential snoring and disruption of my sleep. My mother in law shooed the notion, saying that she loves hearing Daddy snore, it’s comforting and calming. Years later, I realize she was right. You know you really love someone when the loud, rhythmic, “darth vaderlike” sound they emit, caused by vibration of loose tissue in the upper airway, is soothing. That is why, he’s my person. Here’s some other reasons…

I lecture, nag, and scold him (cut me some slack, it’s in the job description. I do lots of good things too) and he takes it and still loves me anyway. He takes it without a negative word or complaint in response, and usually with a smile on his face. (Like in this picture, where I’m pretty sure I’m yelling at him about something…)   

He’s extremely strong. Obviously physically, he’s a big guy and is seriously impressively strong. But he’s strong mentally and emotionally too. He’s endured more than anyone will ever understand but yet exudes a good natured confidence that few can manage.   

He wears whatever I tell hm to. More accurately, whatever is laid out on the bed. He knows that if I’m wearing a pink dress, he will be wearing a pink shirt, tie, socks, or all of the above. He knows that if we go to the beach we will be doing a “white shirt & jeans” photo shoot. And he’s ok with it.   

He got me a puppy. He grew up with dogs but they weren’t like the cuddle with you on the couch kind of dogs, they just sort of lived in the room behind the kitchen, so he was never attached. He didn’t understand the love you can have for a pet and how they really do become your child. Also, dogs eventually die and he doesn’t like death. But I wanted a dog, so he overlooked all of that. Now he absolutely adores Raven, is fiercely protective of her, and let’s her in the bed even when mom says no.   

He’s an awesome son (and totally his mother’s favorite but shhh…)   

My family adores him and he’s not an in-law, he’s a son and a brother. My mother brags about him endlessly and he and my dad have a special bond that makes me tear up every time I watch them together, it’s exactly what I always imagined.

The ladies love him. Three little ones in particular. There’s no one else these girls would rather have to throw them in the pool, carry them around Disney on the throne that is his shoulders, and visit them at school to eat lunch with them and intimidate all the boys who have crushes on them. He may not ever get to display what would be his amazing dad skills in this system of things, but he sure makes one heck of an Uncle Joey.   

Be it “The Fish, “Joey Bananas”, or just Joey, his friends can always count on him for a laugh, a good competitive game of epic duels or pool volleyball, and a listening ear. He considers them more brothers than friends, and they him. 

My friends love him too, I mean look at this guy, who wouldn’t?!  

Just like his father, he’s an extremely hard worker and never complains. 

He makes me laugh. Every. Single. Day. We’ve been through a lot in our eight years of marriage, so laughter has been key to survival. Having a sense of humor is essential, and I’m so blessed that I get to laugh with him for eternity. He’s my person.   

Sunday Style 

You know I can’t resist a polka dot. And this sweet little number from Gwynnie bee (plus size clothing rental service…if you didn’t know that- where have you been?!) had an extra sweet price, only $8 to keep it! I wore this to the baby shower today (it’s a boy so I thought the color would be appropriate) and I got so many compliments! I added my adorable cherry earrings from eBay to this SAMYA Polka Dot Dress With Collar In Blue and a pair of red patent leather wedges along with my signature red lip. We were in Tarpon Springs, Fl and when I saw this soap shop named after ME, I just had to stop for a photo op.