my hippie ways

A long time ago, back (mainly) in my late high school and early college years, I was a hippie. I worked in a head shop for a bit (though, to be honest, I was the squarest employee there.) I wore a whole lot of tie dye. I had rainbow colored dancing bears floating across the rear window of my ford escort. I went to grateful dead concerts and had a shoe box full of bootleg tapes (I drew the line at phish though.) My footwear of choice were birks and I watched the wizard of oz set to pink floyd's the wall more than once.

Man, I wish I could find a picture to show you much-younger Erica in all her dirty hippie glory.

And now, almost 20 years (yikes!) later, I'm returning to my hippie roots. I can feel the pull and power of the patchouli. Flowing cotton skirts and bob marley legend. Hackey sack afternoons and reggae fest weekends.

I know some of you are fondly reminiscing with me.

Now though, my hippie-ness has taken a decidedly different turn and manifested itself in more natural, earth-friendly ways. The added bonus (and fairly substantial motivation) is the cost savings.

A few months ago, Carlos and I put together our first batch of homemade laundry detergent. We used this recipe and it sits in a giant glass jar next to our washer. We love it. There is no discernible scent (which we prefer) but it has eliminated that faint iron-y smell that no other brand of store bought detergent has managed to do. And, when the kids and I tried the oft pinned ivory soap experiment, we mixed the powdered results into the detergent jar.

Since February or so, I've been using the oil cleansing method to clean my face. This was a hard one. It's just so counter-intuitive but my face has never been in better shape! My skin is soft but not oily. No flakiness or dry spots. And the fine lines in my forehead aren't as noticeable either. You'll see in the comments a lot of mixed results so don't simply take my word for it but for me, it's been great. I think the blog I linked recommends a 50/50 mixture of olive oil and castor oil but after a bit of experimentation, I've found a 75/25 split works best for me (olive oil predominant in the mix.) And some nights, I just use warm water and a washcloth. Others, I'll do a honey mask or baking soda mask. Weirdly, I'm most compelled to use the oil on my most strenuous days - the link describes the science!

In the past month or so, I've added is this lemon juice toner to the mix. A nice refresher in the morning! I've had mine mixed and stored in the bathroom for a month now with no noticeable changes to it.

I'm tempted to do one of the natural hair care plans I've seen but I'm so obsessed with the smell of my el-cheapo Rosemary Mint Sauve that I haven't bit the bullet. At least I haven't needed to use conditioner since I cut my hair shorter last fall! Perhaps, at some point, I'll give it a try (have you gone with an alternative hair care method? I'd love to hear about it if you have!)

And finally, composting. I haven't done it yet but after reading this book, with so many inventive farming methods, I'm convinced that I need to give it a shot when spring rolls around. I'd love to hear your advice on that as well!

I'm embracing my granola ways. No excuses. No embarrassment!


  1. yay for being green!

    andy says he has to get me out of madtown before i turn any greener. ;)

  2. You draw the line at Phish!!! What!!! Oh, how I love Phish, have seen them many times. But hee, I've always drawn the line at the Grateful Dead. (Though Deadicated is one of my favorite albums... I can do Grateful Dead songs if they're sung by other people).

    Not winning any major green awards in our house, I suppose, though my sister is a huge fan of all the simplemom.net skincare ideas (As for me, you can pry my DHC skincare stuff out of my cold dead hands).

  3. I've been REALLY wanting to try the oil cleansing method - I really don't know what's stopping me :)

  4. love, love, love this post so much. some times i feel all alone in my granola, hippie ways although more and more lately some of my family and friends are starting to embrace little things here and there. it's so good to hear of other people, that i know, doing these things. i wasn't much of a hippie when i was younger but i'm definitely turning more that way as i get older. :)

    my sister recently stopped using shampoo and conditioner. she's been using baking soda and rinsing with apple cider vinegar. her hair looks great and she said it feels so much healthier. i want to try it but am totally scared to.

    we've been composting for 2 years although we didn't do it right the first year so we haven't actually had anything usable come out of it yet. it's hard in the winter when it freezes and really slows down the composting process. however, it cuts down on our garbage significantly each week and that's a definite win.

  5. i love you and your green green ways.

  6. My husband is a hippy and he LOVES composting. You wouldn't believe how beautiful our dirt is...LOL

    I'll have to try the oil cleansing method and the toner. Most toners really bother my skin but because this is natural maybe it will be okay with my sensitive skin...



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