My Hair Growth Journey Using the Water Only Washing Method

Well guys,

Here it is.  My photo journal of this journey I’ve been on since Feb 2014.  I started out using relaxers (since I was 12 I guess) & had never been able to get my hair past shoulder length.  Well, it was about an inch or 2 below my shoulders at the longest. Oh yeah, this post is long.  Thought I’d let you know in advance.  Back to the post.

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This is how long it was for years.  And it just looks this long because that was a stand up collar.  So sad.  I’d tried everything.  Braids, weaves, wigs, treatments, etc. but it just didn’t work.  I got to the point that I mentally & emotionally couldn’t deal with my hair.  I went to the salon and got flat twists (the ones with gel) for about 2 months straight.  When they were taken down, I had FOUR INCHES of new growth!  Oh, let me back track a bit.  My hair grows QUICKLY.  No, I mean QUICK-LY.  One of the reasons that I couldn’t grow my hair with a relaxer was because my hair was in need of a retouch every 3 weeks instead of the minimum 4 required by most salons.  So I’d be walking around looking wooly & my hair breaking off.  It was a catch 22.  So I found a stylist who specialized in natural hair & when she saw me she broke it all down.  She suggested I do a big chop.  I refused, citing the fact that I planned to remain married.  You know how husbands are with long hair.  Jesus, help.  So I took a while to think about it.  In the meantime, she gave me blowouts.  O-M-SWEET-JESUS!  That was the BEST thing ever!

20141102165017But I had my concerns about heat damage and it was just as EXPENSIVE!!!!  Oh yeah, did I mention that finances was the other reason that I was having issues with my hair?  Let me do the math for you.  If you get a $60 relaxer every 4 weeks (like I was “supposed to”), that’s $720 a year.  If you get a $60 relaxer ever 3 weeks (like I NEEDED TO) then that’s $840 a year.  Um, that’s a lot of cash, player!  Like an extra mortgage payment, 4 car payments or a mini vacation a year.  Naw, cuz.  I had to figure something better out.  So off to YouTube I went.  I watched some of everything.  It was dizzying.  Thank God YouTube is free.  I could’ve put someone’s child through college.  Twice.

Anyway, here’s how it went.  I decided to go natural.  But with 2 different types of hair (natural & relaxed) I had to make a choice to chop it all off or not.  I decided to transition.  So I grew out my hair for another month or so & kept my hair in bantu knots to maintain moisture & length.  By that time it was February 2014.

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Side note:  If I could have changed anything I did it would have been this:  I never would have told anyone but very close friends about my choice to go natural.  You’d be shocked at the amount of haterade that came from the haternation.  You’d think I set the entire Dudley family on fire!  People have issues about hair and they need Jesus.  What you decide to do with your hair is your business.  Don’t let ignorant folk dissuade you from what’s best for you.  Besides, why do you need to answer to them?  Are they getting up at 6 & 7 am to tackle your tresses?  I. DON’T. THINK. SO.  Tell them to take a stadium of seats.  Let me sip my tea and move forward…

Transitioning wasn’t always easy, fun or cute.  There’s a learning curve when you’re doing this.  Mine looked like this:

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But I got better!  Enter 2015…I had to learn how to rock different styles at different stages.

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I wore crowns/halos when my hair was fully stretched. (Y’all my hair was so full of pins & so tight that if I would have sneezed, my face would have torn and blown off in a breeze.  Why do we do this to ourselves.  But I looked super cute, tho, right??!)  I wore Bantu knot outs with 2nd and 3rd day hair.

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This is when my hair was really long and fully stretched, but I realized it was super dry. 20150423_161544

I’d tried a ton of products & it was getting super expensive & it kept acting crazy, getting frizzy and not holding moisture.

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That’s about the time that I started investigating other ways to infuse moisture.  I kept reading articles and they all said:  MOISTURE.  And more specifically, WATER.  I was getting super frustrated.  The only product I could find to hold moisture was castor oil.  And I couldn’t get the ratio right.  So it was either still not holding moisture or I looked like I had a Jheri curl.  I couldn’t take it any more.  I cut it again.

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And again

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Well, yeah.  Shrinkage is real.  But I think at this point I’d cut off 2-3 inches and that was AFTER my chop!  So it was growing because I was no longer using relaxers, but it was breaking off due to dryness.

2015 was a challenging year. But it gets better!  That summer in July we were going on vacation & I had to figure out what to do with my hair.  So I kept searching YouTube.  And that’s when I found it.  I think it was around April of 2015.  I found water only hair washing.  Literally, that’s the name of the channel.  Water Only Hair Washing.  It was my oasis and the answer to all my prayers!  I watched videos for hours on end and after a bit of trial and error, I found great success.  I took a break for a month while I tried out crochet braids.

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Mistake 1:  The braids were too tight.  Mistake 2:  I didn’t cleanse or rinse my hair often enough and got single strand knots.  But MAN, DID MY HAIR GROW!  I gained around an inch in a month.  It’ll grow it you leave it alone, y’all!  But they were cute, right?  Yeah, the hubby almost cried when I took them out.  He got over it.  Poor thing.  His wife really put him through some stuff.  Almost 20 years with hair, then this.  God bless him for staying.

2015 was another year of growth.  But I ran into another bad habit.  Cutting.  I mean on another level.  I’d cut half an inch 1-3 times a week.  It was ridiculous.  It got so bad that my stylist friend had to tell me to stop.  She asked me, “Girl, how are you gonna know if it’s growing and how much it’s grown if you keep cutting it?”  Oh yeah.  Dag, I hadn’t thought about that!  I knew I was cutting it like a psycho, but I hadn’t kept up with how much.  If I had to guess, I’d cut over 3 inches off that year.  I wish I’d used more restraint.  Funny thing is, when my hair was relaxed, I’d fight you in the street if you mentioned scissors and my hair in the same breath.  Funny how wearing your hair naturally is so freeing.  You KNOW it’ll grow back, so cutting it is no big deal.  Anyway, here’s some shots from 2015.  Varying degrees of stretch and various hairstyles.  Enjoy!

March 2015

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April 2015

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September 2015

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Here’s where I was by January of this year.  It was just touching my shoulder when fully stretched.  Pretty good!  I was trying twist outs.  It was still a bit dry, but nothing a trim and adding another water wash during the week didn’t fix.

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March 2016 (my fabulous 2 strand twist out)

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April 2016

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This week!  The measurements are in.  Below the collar bone!  About 6 1/2 inches.  It was 4 inches last year.

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The sides are 8 inches!!  They were 5 last year.  No joke.  Even with all that cutting!

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The front is down to my bottom lip, about 6 1/2 inches.  It was down to my nose last year.  Big improvement!

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I’m happy with the results & have no plans to stop any time soon.  In case you’re wondering if I miss my straight, silky hair, nope.  I had it blown out and flat ironed recently for a haircut (an absolute must by the way) and I hated it!  I was exhausted with trying to figure out what to do with it!  Then when I thought about it I was like, “Let me get this straight.  I took my curly hair, straightened it and now I need to spend more time curling it AGAIN!?”  Oh ….. no!  And people wonder why there’s an uproar over us having to do our hair to make it look like other races.  Nope.  I’ll pass thanks.  And if I decide to change my hair, it’ll be my choice.  Not because of some company’s or government’s regulations.  Foolishness.  Ok, the soapbox is away now.

So here’s the before & after shots.    Ooh, the little thinning part in my temple even filled in!

Proof enough?

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Oh before I forget, I finally perfected the wash & go!  How?  Changing my shower head to one with a filter (see my last post), ditching all products & going completely to water (except a few choice natural DIY mixes involving all natural oils & foods) & by not using towels on my hair.  So, I hope this answers more questions.  Let me know if you have any that I haven’t addressed!

Til next time,

Tonya

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Water Only Hair Washing. My Review!

Hey y’all!

I know I’ve been MIA for a bit, but I took a little mini vacay and actually had no internet service at all.  It was refreshing for me, but almost a suicide attempt for my 15 year old.  LOL!!!!  Anyway, after many requests, I’ve decided to reveal my hair growth secret.  I made a video this time, because it was too much to type.  More than likely any hair posts will be via video through Facebook live.  If you’d like to get the video as it happens, just follow my Facebook page.  Thanks ever so much.  Well, on to how I got my hair to grow so fast in such a short period of time…

I hope you enjoy it!  And as promised, here are some links to some information & products I mentioned in the video:

Water only hair washing website

(there’s links to all the info she has, research, videos, etc. on her site)

Water only hair washing YouTube

(start with the Q&A vids first)

Sebum conditioning with Loving Dee Naturally

(if you decide to use oil rinses start with #73-present)

Shower head with filter on Ebay

(get the shower head and then just buy the replacement beads)

Hand held head massager in purple, black or white

(be warned…you will SLAP YO MAMA when you try this thing.  Don’t have yo mama calling me for ice.)

Vitagoods (via Walmart) $19

Brookstone $18.99

Oils, creams, butters

(free shipping & arrives in 2-3 days usually)

Oh, one last thing.  I forgot to mention that I have type 4b hair.  It’s cottony and in general can be very challenging to manage & hydrate.  However, since I’ve started this method, I have absolutely no problems with moisture and have combatted many prior hair issues due to dryness.  I’ll be back soon with another video dealing with the pros & cons & how to manage your hair during the process of going water only.  If you have questions, ask away!

 

 

Good Customer Service Should Be Taught, Not Earned

Hi everyone,

Have you been getting treated well by the service industry?  I know they say you get what you pay for, but sometimes you don’t.  Sometimes you pay and still get sub par service.  I hate to tell you business owners, getting money shouldn’t be the motivator for good customer service.  No one should have to PAY FOR good service, because good service is nothing more than common courtesyYou MAY also receive money in exchange for a product or service.  When you need to give more money to get treated better something is really wrong.  When you need a customer to pay more to be treated nicely by you or your staff, you’ve lost sight of how to treat another human being & that’s the real underlying issue.  So whether money is exchanged or not, a servant’s attitude should always be first.  If you’re not intending on serving, you should switch industries.  That’s my topic for today, and I decided to do a video this time complete with crazy stories & a lesson for all to learn!

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Come back for my next post on customer service!

Tonya

 

A Few of My Favorite Things…

 

Hey guys, I am trying to transition back to doing videos, but it’s really tough.  I don’t always have everything in front of me when I can record.  I mean, some thing I can’t actually bring into the room!  Not to mention that with 3 little people, my house is rarely video ready.  So anyway, on to a few of my favorite things.

In no particular order…

Dollar Tree Fruit/Vegetable Knife-Do you have little people who always want apple slices, but can’t be trusted using an apple corer on their own?  This is for you, baby!  I was doing one of my usual browse throughs at Dollar Tree and came across this gem.  I should have bought multiple.  But I only got one and it’s been months with absolutely no issue.  It can cut lettuce, tomatoes, apples, oranges and whatever else you want.  Now, let me recant that.  I haven’t tried it on grapes or watermelon.  So try that at your own risk.  But I wash it in the dishwasher from time to time & have had not one problem.  I don’t know if they’re still available because when I searched for them on Dollar Tree’s website, I couldn’t find them.  Go look anyway.  LOOK HARD!

Family Dollar Vinyl Mini Blinds-I think I mentioned these before, but wow.  I mean, wow.  Everywhere I was shopping for them was like $10+.  So to find them for a measly 5 spot?  Yessirrrrr!  Also, I had to replace like 5 pair, so no, I wasn’t looking to spend my gas money on some durn blinds.  I got them for $25 instead of about $60.  Sweet!  I couldn’t find them online, you’ll have to go check them out.  I don’t even like Family Dollar.  The overall vibe is of poverty & I’m not about that life.  However, I had to go there for something urgent, & I happened to find this phenomenal deal.  Sometimes you have to shop outside of the box!

Rectangular scrubber from Dollar Tree-I just found this about 2 days ago & y’all, it’s a GODSEND.  I HATE cleaning the tub & shower, but this scrubber is so big that it makes it fly by.  I was concerned about the corners, but it didn’t miss a beat!  I cleaned my tub in one swoop and was soaking in it within 10 minutes (it took twice as long to fill the tub as it did to clean it.  I hate that.  Why’s the spout so big if it’s still gonna take that long?  I’m probably just impatient.  Pay me no mind).  The link provided takes you to the grill scrubber (don’t use grill scrubbers because they take off the years of layers of seasoning from the grates.  Or do, that’s your bidness.) but it looks identical except it’s blue.  Go look by the dish scrubbers.  That’s where I found mine.  I just noticed the little hook spot at the top.  Pretty cool!

$10 Walmart heater/fan-my office gets the setting sun.  Need I say more?  Child, I get cooked anytime I’m in there after about 2pm.  The sad thing is, there’s an overhang!!  So, when I found out that my little $10 heater was also a fan, I shouted Hallelujah and put that bad boy to WORK!  It helps to take the edge off and make it tolerable.  I think they’re still selling them online, so check them out.  It’s worth the little investment.  The link provided is to the one I have, but here’s the link to a broader search.  There may be an even better deal by the time you read this and go to check it out.

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Dollar Tree tongs-Y’all.  I saw them and had to have them.  I mean Prince music started playing when I saw these.  They were the perfect thing in the perfect colors.  I grabbed at least 3 and jetted to the checkout!  I’d tried Dollar Tree tongs before.  You know the black plastic ones with the silicone tips?  Well, those rust.  Don’t waste a penny.  And the plastic cracks.  A mess.  So I’ve had these for a few months and they are the light of my life (ok, a little dramatic, but they are ALL THAT!)

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I have others, but that’s all I will share for today.  Some of you have been asking about my hair & how it’s doing.  I’m still water only primarily, but once or twice a month I’ll use oils for moisture.  I’ll explain that eventually.  But my hair is collar bone length, which is about 2 inches longer than I could ever grow it while using relaxers.  It’s also great to be able to rinse my hair in the morning, squeeze it dry and walk out of the door.  Some days I even use a hairpin!  It’s an awesome adventure.  Let me know if you’ve tried it or if you have questions.  If you want me to expound on my hair, that will DEFINITELY be a video SERIES.  So bye for now & I’ll talk to you again soon!

Tonya

Back to School Shopping: Have You Made a Plan Yet?

I know it may seem early, but we all know it’s coming.  School.  Back to school shopping.  PTA.  Homework.  Packing lunches.  For me, it’s on a different level this year.  Three children.  Three different schools.  Wow.  But never fear.  I. Will. Win.  Why?  I have a plan!

First, we have this door pocket system I found on Amazon.com.

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We keep it on the inside of the pantry door so it’s out of sight, but not out of reach.  Each child has a pocket & we use some pockets for bills, magazines, ads and receipts.  It helps keep the junk drawer clean and now we don’t have to dig through a pile to find stuff.  Get yours here (if they’re still available).  It was about $10 when I listed it here.  NOTE:  For some reason they don’t include the over the door hangers!  Big minus, but here’s a link to them too.

They were about $9 when I listed them.  So ask yourself…is it worth $20 total to get all those papers under control?

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Then, we have the kids area.  You can check out how & why I did this area here.

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Then, we have the school supply area.  It’s been updated a bit.  It was this mess.

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It’s green now.

 

Then we have the fridge. We use the door to display more immediate stuff.  But my favorite area by far?  Our family calendar!!  It’s so serious that we don’t use those cutesy-tootsey calendars that they give away at the bank.  Not even the dry erase ones will do.  Nope.  We do it BIG.  The huge desk pad calendars that they sell at Walmart.  Yuuuuuuuup.  That’s our life.  We keep everything from haircuts to family trips, business meetings to dental appointments.  And our family motto is, “If it’s not on the family calendar, it doesn’t count!”  And all of us have had to adapt to the motto and learn the hard way.  It’s so bad that if it’s not on the family calendar, I’ve been known to forget it.  So if your event is on the family calendar, you should feel like a rock star.  Not half of what we’re approached with gets to grace that prime real estate!

We also have this area, but it hasn’t quite caught on yet.

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Mainly because I don’t want to put another hole in the wall.  Maybe if I use 5 or 6 of those 3M velcro strips that will do the trick!  We’ll see…

Files.  I have to keep a flow going.  Not everything can stay in those pockets forever.  Also, some things will come in triplicate for us.  No one needs to keep all of that mess.  So once a month those papers need to be evaluated to see if they should go into the file cabinet.  We have a desk with a file drawer that we use for deep storage.  No one wants to go in that thing.  It’s that super heavy, sturdy wood so you have to “man up” to open the drawers!  Hopefully it will be replaced by something that matches the color scheme in the room and is significantly more chic. But for now, we’re working with what we’ve got.

Finally, I have my paper planner. I just ordered a new one from walmart.com. It is black and white and hot pink! If you didn’t know, those are some of my favorite colors. I’m waiting for it to come in the mail. It said it was supposed to be here today, but I have not seen it yet! 😦  when it arrives, it is Off to the Races! I will be going online to the academic calendar for the kids school and feeling that bad boy up with all the important dates. Not to mention dates for my job, my husband’s business, medical appointments, etc.

So anyway, that is pretty much what is in place for us right now as far as getting ready for school. We need to get it moving. There’s not even a month left before school starts! So how about you, have you made a plan for this school year yet?

 

 

Don’t Use “Waiting on the Lord” as an Excuse

It’s a trap too many of us fall into.  “Waiting on the Lord.”  I know some are waiting to pounce on me for making this statement.  If this statement makes you uncomfortable, then it may be just what you need to hear.

So many situations call for patience and perseverance.  When that time of stillness is over, it’s time to move!  I’ve recently learned  (again – for the millionth time) that once you have prayed, believed, and then it gets quiet, it’s time to do something. I thought and have been taught by so many churces that God being quiet was a test. A test of your faith is what I have heard a million times. But I don’t know if that teaching is really accurate. God already knows how much faith he has given you, so he doesn’t need to test your faith. If anything, these situations are going to show you how much faith you have been given by him. But I don’t know if that’s the fullness of the revelation either. But I know  that these times of stillness are not tests that we should be sitting, waiting and blankly staring at. No, on the contrary, I believe it’s an open door.  It’s your time to move, step out and test the waters.  See what’s out there and trust God.  

I look back over my life and it’s unbelievable how many times I could/should have moved soooooo much earlier. I noticed a pattern, too.  It’s usually 6 months. In the worst case it was more than 2 years.  

I’ll give you a personal example. There is something that my husband and I have wanted for a long time. We have been working and working for years towards it. There is one key element that was missing. We have done everything under the sun that we could think of to get it to happen. They were clear instructions that God gave us and we followed them. So, we couldn’t figure out why it still wasn’t happening and why God hadn’t said anything!  So we kept tweaking what He had instructed us to work on.  It got to feeling like we were dusting crumbs. (Doing something meaningless to something meaningless)  One day,in quiet reflection I realized that God had already answered the prayer over a year ago. He had even recently repeated Himself!  So we have been sitting and waiting for him, when he had been sitting and waiting for us! All we had to do was step forward and take what was already set aside for us by God’s hands.  

I encourage you to analyze your life by reflection and see what you see. If you have a journal, write in the margins, updating your life events with “God did it”, “still waiting” (add the date), “Thank God that didn’t happen”, etc. Look and listen.  If you’re like me, you have lists of what God said and what you’ve asked God for.  And don’t get frustrated about it. Sometimes you have to make a very peculiar step to get from what you asked him for to what He’s prepared for you. And what he has prepared for you is always so much better than what you ask for. So don’t get frustrated if it requires bigger leaps and longer strides!  And remember,  God is our Father.  If we are moving in the wrong direction, he will lead us and guide us into all truth. But remember, leading requires movement on your part. Guiding requires movement on your part. If you’re not moving, there’s no reason for him to lead you or got here. And don’t be afraid of making a mess! That used to be my biggest roadblock. If you make a mess, believe me he can clean it up. His hands are much bigger than yours. He already knows what you’re going to do, so he is already prepared and made a way for your protection and prosperity. What was the excuse that I was using? I was waiting on God. However, when you read the word, it says that Jesus sat down because his work was finished. If his work was finished, and everything was complete, what are we “waiting for”? No, I’m not crazy. I understand that some things require time. However, the Bible says that if we pray and ask for something and believe it, we already have it. So if you are waiting on something and there’s been no progress, have you just been sitting and waiting or have you been taking action towards the end result you’re looking for?  So I ask again, what are you waiting for?

Fun at the Pool!

We have some great friends who always invite us to their community pool.  Now, this is not the usual community pool.  No, baby.  There are 2 pools.  One for adults (which is not as fun by the way) & one for kids.  The kid area has splash zones, sprayers, shallow & “deep” end (a whopping 3 1/2 feet) and A FREAKING SLIDE!  Yeah, we stay in the kid area.  I guess if we ever go without the kids we’ll have to slum it on the adult side and try to look refined.  God forbid.

So what’s the point of this post?  We’re not used to community/neighborhood pools.  We’re either visiting city park, rec center pools or the beach.  So we had to class it up when we went to the community pools.  We found out the hard way that there are pool breaks & adult swims.  So yeah, they kick you out of the pool for about 15-30 minutes.  I still haven’t figured out why (maybe they want to lessen the chance of swim cramps or pool noise) because they even have adult swims when there are no adults in the adult pool!  Whatever.

So I gave my kids a demo of what they should pack so they’ll have snacks and stuff for their wet clothes.  We all know children can act like heathens & put their squishy wet butts in your vehicle.  But not with me on watch!  So here’s our basic “to bring” list.

  • Bottled water
  • Swim trunks/suit (not jersey shorts or tshirts – my daughter & I wear shirt/tank swimwear because you don’t need to be all up in our personals)
  • Snacks (a sandwich, chips, fruit & snack.  Enough snacks TO SHARE-no greedy butts!)
  • Sunscreen 
  • A change of clothes (like I said, no wet, squishy butts in the car, people!)
  • Beach/Pool towel (NOT A BATH TOWEL-we’re trying to avoid the side eye, people!)
  • Flip flops, shower shoes or sandals

I usually bring a bag full of other miscellaneous items like tablets (they have wifi there so we can watch a movie on the pool break), magazines, paper & pencil or whatever.  One day I’ll step it up and get one of those cooler bags so everyone can put all their food items in one bag.  For now, they each bring their own drawstring bag with their own mini insulated lunch bag inside.  Less for the grown folk to drag around!

Then it’s all fun from there!

We hope you’re enjoying your summer so far! 

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An Unbelievable Tip to Lengthen the Life of Your Candles!! A DIY Bonus!

It’s tip time again!  This time it’s candles.  Candles can be EXPENSIVE!!!  But I found a way to beat it with one little trick:  a mug warmer.  Yep!  I know you’re like, WHAAAAT?  Yeah, child!  I discovered that you can put a glass candle (well the candles that come in jars or glass votives) on a mug warmer and it’ll last for YEARS.  I was so mad after I figured this out because I had a ton of candle nubs that I never used until the end and had thrown away.  I probably could have melted those joints down and made my own layer candles!  But at least now my candles last for years instead of months.  Using the warmer is also safer because you don’t have to worry about setting your house on fire.  But still keep an eye on it.

Speaking of candles, here’s my bonus diy tip.  If you have oyster or other shells, you can melt down wax and make your own pretty candles!  I used some tea light candles for the wax and used the wick too!  I just melted my wax in the microwave (30 seconds or so-WATCH IT) and put the wick in the middle and made these…

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Gorgeous, right?  I could probably sell these!  Who’d like 3 for $5?  lol  I had a ball doing it and when I got fed up with fooling around with it I just poured the wax in a jar and put it away.  I DON’T SUGGEST using a pot that you cook with to melt wax.  I don’t want you killing yourself trying to cook with that pot again (& although I may attend your funeral, I’m not taking ANY responsibility)!  lol   Some of y’all are crazy and I have to tell you not to do crazy things…

So, go find a mug warmer and make your life easy again.  You can find them some of anywhere.  I think I got mine a million years ago at Family Dollar.  I don’t go to that store often, so I can’t say if they still carry them.  But Wally world might and I’m sure you can find one on ebay.  They’re kind of seasonal, so finding one in warmer months may be tricky.  Try ebay first.  Did you know they have USB ones now??  Yeah, child!  You can plug up your warmer right next to your tablet or laptop or pc and have hot yummy goodness while you work!  Here’s the way to find the best deal:

  1.  On Google, search for a mug warmer.  Put it in grid view.  Sort lowest to highest price.  Get your shop on.
  2.  On ebay (my personal fave), select “buy it now”, click grid view & sort lowest to highest price.  Be amazed.  Be very amazed.  You can use other filters like free shipping or US only by utilizing the side panel on the left.

Let me know if you have any questions or if you find anything good!!!  On to the next thing!

Tonya

 

 

Our Front Yard Makeover! It Was a HOT MESS!

This is a significant upgrade for our house.  You SEE what it looked like before.  Actually it looked MUCH, MUCH, MUCH worse before that!  There were 3 layers of rock & weed barrier that had to be dug up and there was grass and weeds growing all in between.  Like I said, a HOT MESS.  These are the best of the worst pictures of our yard!  lol

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Here’s my mint bush growing out of control.  It had taken over half of the sidewalk leading to the front door.img_20160629_095315.jpgimg_20160629_095444.jpg

If you take a closer look you can see my daughter’s little birdhouse is even run down & condemned!img_20160629_095434.jpg

This pile of bricks (graciously left by the builder & sitting in the garage forever) had been moved to the front porch to be used, then inspiration must have left.  They sat there for almost a year!  You can see the remnants of the pea gravel, pebbles & egg rock I mentioned earlier.

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This is how the tree looked after its update.  It had those same white pebbles & egg rock as the front of the house.  They were dug out and replaced with this rich, black mulch.  img_20160629_095421.jpg

But it will have to be redone again because the weed barrier wasn’t put down first. Doh!  Or we could opt to spray it forever with grass/weed killer.  Nah, we’ll put the barrier down.  At some point…   So we did put down an unorthodox barrier for the front porch area.  I saw some renditions of this on Pinterest.  They said to use 2 layers of overlapping cardboard to block the weeds & grass.  Well, in times past we had enough cardboard.  But with our recent arts & crafts revolution, we came up short.  An entire layer short.  Instead of going to get more (my energy was high, the weather was finally cooperating so there wasn’t any stopping me now), I decided to use an old faithful trick.  Black trash bags.  Yup!  They block the sun, superheat what’s underneath & kill it, provide a weed barrier and make a nice complement to the black mulch I planned on adding.  Now you may laugh, think it’s ghetto or just not work, but we’d used this method without the cardboard & never saw a weed, grass, tree or anything.  The only thing that had succeeded was the mint bush.  But it didn’t grow where we put the liner.  It grew over it!  Stupid smart plant…(by the way, if you didn’t know, mint is super aggressive.  It’ll grow through and under your sidewalk.  Pluck it out by the root if you want to get rid of it.  Also, it’s best in a container so it doesn’t take over your yard.

Here’s how it looked after we put down the cardboard, soaked it with the lawn sprinkler (the kind that sways back in forth like a rainbow).  While that was happening, I was cutting lawn bags in half.  It took about 8 if I remember correctly.  We had to work fast because it was CRAZY hot!  We had to wet it 2 or 3 times just to keep the cardboard soaked.

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The water also aided in laying down the bags.  They literally stuck to them!  We just made sure the edger bricks sat on top of the bags to seal the edge.

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We had our little hands & little feet helping, too!  Our daughter repotted some new plants I got on clearance from Lowe’s & you can see her watering them.img_20160629_124248.jpg  img_20160629_124259.jpg

Whew!  Finished with the cardboard & trash bags!img_20160629_130244.jpg

Mulch time!  I loved this mulch I got from Home Depot.  It was like threads of wood instead of chunks of bark.  It spreads well and has a great smell!img_20160629_131031.jpg

While my daughter & I worked on the front porch area, my husband & sons did the yard.  Cutting, edging & blowing.  We’d look pitiful on occasion & they’d bring more mulch over to spread.  It was starting to look gooooood!  img_20160629_131109.jpg

I decided I’d use the pavers to make a little design.  Originally, I was going to make a planter out of the pavers (some bright idea from Pinterest that just never happened), but I think they look nice here.img_20160629_131104.jpg

Then it happened.  We were down to the last 3 bags of mulch when my daughter mentioned that the mulch didn’t smell good.  I didn’t pay it too much mind.  She can be a little off the mark sometimes.  I kept going.  Then I noticed it too.  No more lovely smell.  It was a funky, what the world, did someone have tummy issues smell.  Then I looked.  The mulch was a different kind!  img_20160629_132248.jpg

NOOOOOOOOOO!!!! img_20160629_132242.jpg

I almost cried.  It was hot, y’all.  I think my mind wasn’t working right.  The reaction was completely inappropriate for the situation.  But I was so disappointed.  My perfect plan was wisping away before my eyes.  Then I came up with a plan B.  Mix it!  No one had to know that there were 2 different types in there.  So I started mixing it until it looked like it came like that.  Besides, if you are that much of a nutbar that you are critiquing my mulch, you probably aren’t allowed in my house for me to hear your complaint anyway!img_20160629_133643.jpg

So here’s the finished look.  It’s a far cry from how it looked at the beginning of the post, right?

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Sorry the photo didn’t turn out better.  The rainy days of summer are upon us and I didn’t want to wait another day and it end up raining…again.  So next I think we’ll repaint the front door to match the mulch & shutters.  We also may repaint the mailbox.

I hope you were inspired.  Now we’re off to the next project!

Tonya

I Went Label Crazy, Y’all! Spice Tips, Too…

My latest love has got to be my label maker.  I have fallen head over heels for this thing!  From labeling my file folders for my greeting cards to relabeling my spice rack, it’s gotten pretty hot & heavy!  I wanted to share this with you because it really has made a great difference with my organizing.

First, I must apologize to all the labeling ladies who got the side eye from me.  I didn’t know.  I apologize!  You were right.  Labeling things not only makes things easier to find, but neater looking overall.   And one day I’ll get those gorgeous decorator file folders that match the binder & the notebook & the sticky notes, but for now vanilla manila is getting the job done!20160626_191254.jpg

So let me give you the back story to how I started labeling (I make it sound like an Olympic sport, right?)  Well, it all started with a trip to Goodwill.  I love browsing the aisles looking for new & like new treasures that people have decided to part with.  I’ve found some serious steals (I’ll get into all that in another post) in thrift stores and this was a day the Lord was smiling on me!  I’d been strolling along, just really there to kill time & get out of the house when I saw it.

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The Brother P-touch labeler.  Labeller?  Whatever.  Spell check doesn’t like either rendition, so we’ll just continue.  Anyway, I got super excited.  Then I flipped it over and got UBER-EXCITED!  It was only FIVE BUCKS!  Then I almost tinkled when I realized that there was STILL LABEL IN IT!!!!  Y’all, you know I hauled my tail to the checkout to pay for this little beauty.  I’d heard such good things about labelers and the crazy amounts of fonts, sizes, pictures & other bells & whistles this one had.  So they got my money & I got my label maker.

I’m trying to remember what I actually labeled first.  It was some files in my business cabinet.  I was hooked.  So I did that for a while until I had to move on to other responsibilities & then I kind of forgot about it.  Until one fateful day…it was the day I decided to make over the kitchen.  Remember my post about that?  Well, part of it was cleaning the grody old spice rack I had.  Y’all, why?  Why did I choose to clean that thing?  Well, the jars at least.  I feel like this is going to be a long post.  I’ll stop around 1000 words, I promise.  There may be a part 2!  Anyway, I took all the jars out, assessed them & decided to clean them.  I tried wiping them down.  Nope.  Didn’t work.  Imagine trying to rub old gum off of glass.  The spice rack spins and sits beside the stove.  So years & years (I think it was a wedding gift which means it was 20+ years old) of grease, dust & whatever else was splattered on it.  I think I’m making it sound grosser than it was, but oh well.

So I soaked them in the sink with my husband’s patent pending cleaner.  They were mostly clean, but not spotless like I wanted.  So they went in the dishwasher and came out super squeaky clean!  I’m glad I didn’t put them in the dishwasher first. That thing probably would have had tears rolling down the front of it!  lol So I dried them (impatient) and used an old funnel from a steam mop (I cleaned it first) to fill the jars.  Then I noticed I was running low on garlic powder.  This is the norm in our house.  We use so much garlic powder that it should be investigated.  So I had a decision to make.  Where to refill on spices?

Side note:  This is my tip for you.  Try Christmas Tree Shops!  I think I’ve mentioned this before in other posts, but oh my goodness they have great spices at great prices!  For example, I got this large container of lemon pepper seasoning for $1.99.  I usually get my little Dollar Tree spices for $1 and only get about 1.25 ounces.  But look at this whopper!!

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Yuuuuuup!  And their other spices are bigger, too!  Check it…20160628_095647.jpg

Gotta love it!  Ok, here’s Tip #2.  Don’t shake/pour your spices over a steaming pot.  Why?  The moisture from the steam will travel up into those little holes & mess up your spices.  Look at this clumpy mess!20160628_095738.jpg20160628_095753.jpg

That’s why it’s looking all nasty and whatnot.  So instead, pour the spice into your hand or a bowl, table spoon or a measuring spoon and then put it into the hot liquid.

Back to the story.  I bought so many spices (they had new blends I hadn’t seen before) that I had to use a Dollar Tree shoe storage box to store the overflow!  Well, to be honest, this is the second overflow.  20160628_101850.jpgHere’s how much spice I really had left over after refilling the spice rack bottles…  20160628_095847.jpg I may need to be admitted into somewhere for having this much spice sitting around.  But don’t worry, it won’t go to waste!

Now, back to the labels.  Here’s how excited I was.  I ripped off the old gross labels & got to designing and printing new ones.  I’m way to happy about this, y’all!

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And that’s when it happened.  My labels ran out.  Child, I just broke down.  I’m screaming”NOOOO!”
I’m mad.  I’m hurt.  I’m overreacting big time.  That’s when it hit me.  EBAY.  Yes!  Ebay can fix ANYTHING (I had to order the charger cord for my label maker from there, so why not this too)!  I hopped my butt on my app and promptly found a refill.  FOR FOUR DOLLARS!  Yes sir/ma’am!  Not the $15-$30 from the manufacturer.  I had to wait a couple of weeks, but to be honest the kitchen makeover was a lot more stressful than I had originally anticipated.  I was glad for the break.  And not having labels does not stop my recipes!  So when it came in the mail I was praying the whole time that it fit/worked.  It did!!!20160621_162741.jpg 20160621_162752.jpg

So I finished my spices.  It took me a bit to get the font right (so long that I didn’t care any more and went with the default font in caps).

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& the rest of my folders for my greeting cards.  By the way, if you want the list of headings I used, they are:

BIRTHDAY          THANK YOU          MOTHER’S DAY          FATHER’S DAY          GET WELL

JUST BECAUSE          VALENTINE’S DAY          CHRISTMAS          SYMPATHY         ENVELOPES

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So, I hope I gave you some inspiration or a good tip or two.  I don’t know what I’ll be labeling next, but I’m thinking about tweaking my binder system.  Have I told you about that yet?  Oooh, I feel another post coming on!

Until next time!  XO,

Tonya