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How To Grow Natural Healthy Hair {&Keep It That Way}

My hair has been a topic discussion in my life for as long as I can remember. Seriously, I remember moments dating back all the way to 5th grade (1995 party) where kids would discuss my hair and the amount of it. There's a lot. I lost a lot of hair in 8th grade thanks to acutane (pimple party)--- but thats a whole other story (but since we're bringing it up: I do not recommend that stuff to anyone!). Anyway, a lot of my hair fell out, but years went by and it slowly rebuilt itself (thanks body!). I cut my hair really short after giving birth--- and I don't regret it, but I wouldn't do that again since it just doesn't suit my round face. You live you learn, moving on....

So about the natural stuff: Growing up I was a pantene girl (yep.). A grade school friend used it and I liked the smell so I asked my mom to buy it. And I stuck to it for forever until finally about 6 or 8 years ago (talk about commitment!) after I became vegan. I finally started looking more into what I put in and on my body and I slowly started making the switch to more vegan and natural products. To this day it's still a bit of a learning experiment, but a mostly fun one. When I moved into this new house almost two years ago (how does the time go so fast?!) it was a huge shock how disgusting my hair became with a water change (soft to hard water). I've adapted over the past two years, I tried no-poo, but eventually passed on that---  but overtime I've finally found a method that works. The switch has not only made my hair look better but actually made it even thicker-- I'm not sure how one manages to create even thicker hair, but boom: more hair.

I'm not a hair expert by any means--- and I'm totally well aware that everyones hair is very different-- as well as everyone's water (which makes a huge difference!), but some of these things are general enough to help anyone and everyone :) And well, I'm asked about my hair, no lie, probably at least once a day (yes, it is real), so it's probably about time I wrote about what I do to maintain my hair in the most natural way I can.

keepin' natural and keepin' it balanced
I'm not against dyes, shampoos, and whatever else--- I mean, I wouldn't necessarily recommend them (though I've been intrigued to jump on a pink or red hair trend, it looks so fun), but to each their own, in my world. That being said, our bodies are designed to work certain ways and when we start messing around with our bodies inside and outside-- by adding (or extracting) natural things--- well, things can get weird. Playing with hormones, chemicals, and whatever else, even a little bit can throw everything off or create a product addiction of sorts. Using shampoos to strip your hair of oil doesn't make your hair less oily, in the long run it actually creates more oil. Constantly stripping your hair of its natural oil, causes your body to make more oil to overcompensate for oil loss. Same with your face. Companies are making a killing off all of us thinking that face oil stripping washes are going to fix our problems. Naturally, our bodies are all different, and the best thing you can do for the outside of your body is take care of the inside. Be cautious and aware of what you put in and take off--- your hair wants natural oil and your body wants balance and not to be tugged or repressed by added hormones. 

be nice to it, but not too nice. 
Be gentle brushing--- and don't brush it often. I personally only comb it out of the shower--- or after my long scenic drives in a convertible, of course (I'm never in convertibles). Use heating tools only when necessary. I never do, only because I'm in Florida. But if I were up north, I would all spring, fall, and winter long. Brr. If you can skip the heating tools, wonderful! Also: don't be too nice--- over brushing and over touching isn't the solution, you're going to end up with extra oils on your hair. 

no-poo and yes poo.
No poo was fine. And if done right, it's not gross--- but personally I just couldn't fall in love with the baking soda shampoo thing. If I had less hair, maybe, but too work enough baking soda in my amount of hair--- it seemed impossible-- and then to get it all out? Forget it. So no-poo, while I do believe in the power of it, didn't fit for me. However--- one thing no-poo is incredibly good for--- or skipping washes in general, is that it trains your hair to need less washes. The less you use, the less you need. So if no-poo isn't your thing, cool, but try less-poo (if thats not a term, then I'm coining it now). Take a week (or longer) where you won't care what your hair look like and go as long as you can without a wash, then go from there. Skip washes and products when you can. I wash my hair about once a week--- depending on what I'm doing. Sweatier days and weeks require more washes.

hard water?
Hard water can be hard--- err--- difficult to deal with. It took me about a straight year of absolutely disgusting hair to figure it out. One thing that has been really helpful are these demineralizer packs. The instructions say to use one pack a week. Well, I only wash my hair once a week, so I use maybe two packs a month-- maybe even less. The matching shampoo and conditioner work well too, but aren't required if you use vinegar -----> (read on)

Prior to hard water I used pureology super smooth. It seems pricey, but it's super concentrated, so in the end it actually saves money. (It takes A LOT of shampoo and conditioner to saturate this hair). Welp, I received a comment recently that even though pureology is vegan it's owned by a larger company that isn't. That seems to be the unfortunate norm with just about everything these days. If possible, I do support companies that are true all the way through--  but at the same time, I don't stop going to the grocery store, or buying grocery store brands because they sell or produce meat, you know?  I demand the good stuff and create less (zero) demand for the stuff I don't want or believe in.  If we're buying the good stuff, and stop buying the bad stuff, then companies don't need to continue making the things we don't buy, right? Right. Simple rule: do what you can, when you can. Lately I tend to use whatever shampoo is in the shower--- which always seems to be a rotation of three bottles that last for-ev-er. When I forget to restock this set, then I just end up buying and trying whatever is on sale at whole foods that I haven't tried yet. So now you know: this set is good---- or Pureology works well, is sort of vegan, sorta not, in the end: you decide.

shampoo rules
So maybe you decided you're not going to give up shampooing, fine, I get it. So if you're dead set on buying shampoo then here are some good things to look for and avoid:
buy: cruelty-free brands with the bunny logo
avoid: SLS, sulfites, parabens.
do: shampoo as little as possible (or skipping completely if you can!) and avoid bad ingredients and  you're on the right track. Next step? Consider vinegar as conditioner.

Mmmmm salad. So I mentioned this in my natural bathroom tour post, but yes, I totally use vinegar in my hair--- and LOVE it. Vinegar has been a life saver with hard water. But hard or soft water, vinegar is a wonderful replacement conditioner in hair. In a jar next to the shower, I have a mixture of 1 part apple cider vinegar to about anywhere between 5 to 8 parts water. But Alex basically dumped the extra vinegar we had in the fridge into my jar leaving me with about 90% vinegar, the rest water, and I didn't die--- neither did my hair--- so ratios don't matter that much. Honestly, I would use straight vinegar, but it seems unnecessary. Also: Using filtered water is best, but you can obviously just use shower water as well. Twist and dip the end of your hair in the vinegar and pour a small amount over the rest (and under the rest) of your hair. Tada that's it. No need to rinse out!  As I mentioned, you will smell like a salad, but once your hair dries completely, the smell is completely gone. Hooray vinegar! Want to use store bought condition sometimes? Stick with the same shampoo rules: avoid the bad stuff and buy cruelty free as often as you can :)

It's no secret that vitamins add to your body, well vitamins (or healthy eating in general) is good for you hair! I'll be totally honest here and say that I don't take vitamins nearly enough. I pretty much forget until my kid asks me for her gummy bears-- then I take mine too. A daily vitamin is a great start (I take THESE) and adding some b12 (especially if you're vegan) is helpful too (I take THESE). It's not a secret whatsoever that my favorite food is pizza---- I could and would eat it everyday--- but at the same time, keeping it all balanced with tons of nutrient rich foods is key. I feel like it's fading now, but there has always the big misconception that vegans will be low in iron, protein, and whatever else--- but its so untrue--- or can be untrue--- it depends if you're eating properly of if you're  actually just a french-fryatarian. I had blood work done a few months ago. The results? Super blood! Eat your veggies, legumes, and nuts. Take your vitamins. Watch your hair flourish too. Promise.

fat, yum.
I don't think I ever mentioned it here, but I got asked to be a private chef last year. Awesome, right? Then I was told that cooking oils, even olive oil, was a no no on their menu. Not awesome. I get it, oils are fatty-- there are a lot of calories in oils--- but oils (good fats) are also incredibly good for your body. Things like olive oil, coconut oil, nut butters (and nuts in general), and avocados are good! Good fats give you energy, help you absorb vitamins, and affect your hormones (bad fats affect these too, but in a bad way of course). But this isn't a nutrition post (I switched out of that major in college FAST), so I'm not saying you need to skip french fries (I wouldn't) but replacing bad fats for good fats is a great idea to plump up and shine out that hair, naturally.

Have more tips on how you manage your hair naturally? I'd love to hear (and try) them, as I'm sure others would too!  Have color treated hair, curly hair, or just completely different hair? Awesome,  others do too. Please share! Have you done a post on natural hair care? Feel free to link it back for others :) Hair-sharing is caring.  

*photos by the amazing hannah mayo. If you're local (or even if you're not), check her out! 
**my kid has pretty decent hair too, when she's not being a ragamuffin. &it's long as can be-- past her butt. Maybe time for a trim though, yah? 

An ohdeardrea Giveaway: Sammy And Claire

You know that dress that your kid wants to wear over and over and over again--- well, this is Marlowes. Other than the fact that it looks like I don't ever change my kid anymore, it works for me :)  And hey, she's out of the 24/7 tutu! Haha :)

I'm super excited to bring you guys this adorable giveaway :) Sammy and Claire specializes in high end brands and organic wear---- clothes that are made well to last through multiple kids and generations (you know that's hugely important to us!). And not only are the clothes made to last, but my other favorite part of Sammy and Claire is their buy-back section. A lot of the clothes are even new with tags, and still majorly discounted!  Like they say, "hey we get it--- kids grow fast so we have a resale shop for you too!" Buy your favorite items, where them, and return them! It's a great way to be just a little bit greener. Oh and you can even check out this adorable Marlowe's picks section--- where not surprisingly, most of the stuff is pink. And these strawberry socks?! Obsessed! 

&here are some of my favorites too-- which surprisingly also contain an enormous amount of pink(?!)  

Simple Natural Living: Cloth Diapering {Basics, How To Start, Why, &Useful Tips}

ohdeardrea marlowe cloth diapering
From Emily:
Reduce and Reuse. I try to live by these words, especially when it comes to parenting. No one really prepares you for the insane amount of stuff that comes along with a new kid. The clothes, the gear, the toys, the baby care items, the diapers. And when you factor in the rate at which they go through these things, and then the number of children born per minute...well, let's just say it's enough to give any environmentally conscious person a panic attack. Aside from the littering-the-earth-with-junk thing, there's also the staggering cost of purchasing these items. I did and continue to do what I could to limit the impact on the planet and my wallet by buying secondhand, taking a minimalist approach to toys and gear, and by cloth diapering. 

Drea and I both cloth diapered our babes, and I don't know about her, but most people looked at me like a crazy person when I mentioned that I would be going that route. I went right ahead, because to me, it just made sense. It was less expensive, less taxing on our landfills and safer for my baby's butt (most disposable diapers contain bleached paper products and harsh fragrances.) I created a plan of attack, and somehow, managed to stick with it for almost the entirety of our diapering days. 

There are a ton of cloth diapering options out there, pre-folds, covers, all-in-ones, bamboo, cotton, microfiber, wool...the list goes on. Drea and I both went with BumGenius 4.0 (one size fits most covers that come with microfiber inserts.) They were easy, affordable and pretty cute. I started off with 16 diapers which turned out to be plenty for us, because my daughter had a fair amount of diaper-free time. I also purchased a reusable diaper pail liner, a zippered wet bag for outings and a large bucket for presoaking the particularly soiled diapers prior to washing. All in all, I spent around $350-$400 for everything. Which, in comparison to the $2000 that a typical family spends on disposable diapering, seemed like a win. 

And the execution really wasn't that difficult. Dirty diapers went into the pail (after dumping any solids in the toilet) and got washed every two days on a gentle cycle with a detergent free of dyes and fragrances, then line-dried. Super simple. I know that some people shudder at the thought of washing and reusing something that has been pooped on, but the reality is that when you have a baby poop pretty much ends up on everything. So, unless you plan on tossing every article of clothing, sheet, blanket, burping cloth, etc after each poopy encounter, you'll be doing it anyway. The liner and the wet bag got washed as needed and afterwards I'd add a drop of lavender oil to mask any lingering smells (which weren't really an issue to begin with. I'm just a big fan of lavender oil.) 

ohdeardrea: cloth diapering

What you'll need to get started:
Now that my daughter only uses diapers for bedtime, and given the fact that I no longer have my own washing machine (if any of you fellow city dwellers cloth diaper, I'd love to hear how you do it!), we've moved on to using a chlorine-free fragrance-free disposable brand. But, I'm happy and dare I say a tiny bit proud that we were able to do cloth for as long as we did. 

ohdeardrea cloth diapering basics

From Drea:
Unlike Emily, I didn't start cloth diapering right away. (Look at this four month old diaper butt!) I wanted too, but only picked up two diapers and debated on it. Two cloth diapers isn't enough--- cloth diapering is mostly an all or nothing thing. You can do it part time, but to have it work smoothly it's best to do it completely so you can create a proper washing schedule. About two months in of the 'raising a baby' thing, I had had enough (with diapers, not the baby). I felt awful seeing our trash pile up from and with diapers. Diapers aren't the most bio-degradable thing, it's estimated they take about 500 years to decompose--- and with billions of diapers making they're way to the landfill each year, well, thats a lot of garbage. Anyway, this isn't an environmental lesson, the point is, I had never had more than a grocery bag or so of garbage every month (unless you count food trash) so I felt bad. The other big factor for me was money. I like to be smart about money (cough: frugal) and I just couldn't get comfortable spending so much money on diapers, when I was already struggling with money as is. So to literally spend money (to fill up with crap) and throw in garbage? No, I'll pass.  (Read more about my thoughts on that HERE). 
So I started cloth diapering--- and sure it takes a tiny bit more work than the disposable option, but it was one of the best decisions I made for our lives and my wallet. I should mention, I never even purchased a pail or liners for the pail. With it being only M and I in the house, I was able to just toss the (rinsed) used diapers into the washer--- I never had to worry about anyone else ever needing laundry done, and once I had about 4 left, I'd run the load. I had somewhere between 12 and 14 diapers total. 


-saves money
-diaper rash is less likely
-you never have to worry about late night diaper runs to the store, you always have them.
-they look adorable! seriously, who needs pants?

ohdeardrea cloth diapering its easy

-look at your initial purchase as a smart investment. The number is much larger than just buying a bag of disposables, but if you do the math, you'll find yourself very, very pleased in the long run.
-decide to do it and commit. It takes a bit of adjusting if you've already started using disposables, but if you plan to do it, and buy all the things you need off the bat, you're set! 
-line drying your diapers outside will do wonders for stains and keeping your diapers bright! Emily is right, I did have diapers hanging in my kitchen---- basically 100% of the time during rainy season. But in winter I line dried them outside, insides up. The sun helps to bleach away stains.
-create a schedule. sure you can't really predict the number of soiled diapers you'll have in a day, but you can mostly guesstimate to create a weekly schedule between diapers and regular clothes.
-don't wash the diapers with your regular laundry. keep it separate. 
-speaking of which, follow wash directions carefully. If you want your cloth diapers to last up until potty training (or better yet, through to your next kid) then watching to take proper care of them is key. Over time the protective lining can wear, so properly washing will help them last longer and throughout the years! 
-avoid creams, unless it specifically says it's safe for cloth diapering. Creams can create a barrier between the absorbent layer and other problems. 
-between the snap variety and the velcro variety, i'd personally recommend the snaps. They can be a touch tricker to close, but the velcro can wear over time. 
-if you have your own blog, consider doing these posts when your child is still in cloth diapers, not two years later, it just makes more sense. 
-Emily's list of what you'll need is perfect. Sprayer is optional, but a lot of people recommend it. Other than that, it's not at all as hard or as messy as it seems, we promise! 

Happy cloth diapering! 

Authors: Drea & Emily 
Illustrations by Emily De Nicolais exclusively for ohdeardrea. To see more of Emily's work, click HERE

It's Been A While & A Long Time Coming

drea and marlowe I'm not sure what clicked tonight, but something inside said that I should just sit down and write. It's been a while, guys. I mean, I post everyday-- 5 to 6 times a week--- thats a lot of work and takes up a lot of time(!), but I still feel like I'm not sharing much of myself (my soft squishy insides) but it's not intentionally by any means. I think I've just let my work and fun side take over, without letting my emotional side out. I play play play and work work work (I think thats what they call "living") but there's not much to pour my inner guts out about. Which, let's be honest here, is a good thing. No, not a good thing, an amazing thing. I mean, the days (nights) I opened up the most in the past, were the days (and nights) I struggled the most. I was overworked, like now, but instead (of choosing to intentionally and happily over work myself like I do now), I was just emotionally over-worked. I am and have always been one of those people who want all or nothing-- that goes for emotions too. And when emotion finally comes in (or out), it really comes in--- the sad and luckily, the happy. I've always worked hard on myself (too hard) to find a balance on the outside in order to be happy (and less anxious) on the inside. But now, as I'm settling into my older self (that feels funny to say) and all the outside necessities seems to be set in place, I've also learned how to refine my inside. Well, still learning, because growing never stops, right? If you've stopped growing, you're doing it wrong. I mean, does that make any sense? Or does this all feel out of context? I've had a few very subtle and quiet reality checks this summer. The book was hard, but it made me appreciate this space even more. And this bit of traveling that we just finished doing? I don't know--- it was just so good. Okay, some personal external parts were hard, but overall, it gave me insight to what is good around me. 

I feel like a lot of us typically look at the good around us and it becomes this comparison of the greener, greener grass. Sometimes the good can make us itch with questions and sometimes doubts--- is what I have enough? Is it better there? Am I enough? This time away from home gave me the ability to look at the much greener (and temperately cooler) grass. And instead of leaving me with questions of "is my lawn green or flower covered enough?" (it's not, it's literally kind of brown and wild flowers aren't abundant in summer), it left me feeling grateful for my own (hypothetical) green grass. And what I feel is even more important than my gratitude, is that is left me not envious or questioning of myself and my space, but instead: inspired by all I saw. Travel is good for that. 

I'm seeing a lot of amazing people doing amazing things--- and the more I get out there and open up to it, the more I'm getting back. Yes, there are many others with a lot more than what I have or my family has, but you know what? I wouldn't change a thing of what we have or ask for to be given more. I love what we have. And the only thing I really want more of right now is time--- because I do more want more--- lots more--- but only in the sense that I want to be able to DO and accomplish more. But even without the possibility of endless time, I'm okay with it all. I'll never have all the time in the world, but I am excited to use the time I have (as much or as little as it may sometimes be) to keep enjoying this...... continuous refinement growing. Sure, I still have mild anxiety, a skin mustache that comes and goes (I mean, it's mostly gone, but give me a full day in the sun without sunscreen and forget it, we're back to square one. womp womp), and I feel like there may or may not be a possible rat living in the walls of my house (I could also be hearing things, because I have minor paranoia)--- but I'm happy here.

If I don't take a moment to sit and spit out my thoughts in this space, it's not because I don't want to, because, I really really do, it's just that, well, unless I'm in all the emotions, it's hard for me to dig deep and create stories within these happy times. I'm not the sappy kind, you guys who have been reading for a while know that--- so it's a bit of a stretch for me to create romantic stories about how the earth is blooming beneath us. (It is though, isn't it?). The sap and the sentimental bits, it's just not like me. I mean, don't get me wrong, I cry happy tears from time to time, and I often sit back and I'm like "whoa, the earth is good, how did I get so lucky?" but those moments--- they're the quieter inside moments. On the outside I'm a mix between deer caught in headlights, composed statue, and a black ball that spews out floral rainbows--- with a bag of sarcasm to sprinkle everywhere--- but on the inside, I joke that my heart is black, but I'm still soft, squishy, and full of love. (The coffee didn't work today, thats the best visual comparisons I could think of). So the earth is blooming (figuratively) and will be (literally) and I am grateful for it.

I'm still asked often how I made this space grow into a business, and to be honest, I'm not quite sure, but holy hell, I'd be lying if I said I'm not thankful it has. This space (more specifically: you guys) have been here with me in the hardest times and seeing me through the good times too. And I just can't explain enough gratefulness that I am able to just sit down and spit out (rainbow spew) my thoughts on a random tuesday evening in my life. I'm not an easily moldable person, I'm a bit too stubborn and a bit too off beat, but I do believe there is a space for everyone---and I know I've found mine here. 

So yeah, I'm not to sure what sparked this sit down session with my laptop tonight--- I'll be honest, I always second guess when I hit publish on these sorts of things--- but in the end---- to have this freedom to grow, change, live, and of course share--- as painful or embarrassing as it can be at times--- well, it has made my life better.

Thanks for inspiring me and helping me grow.

^ &a real life face halfie (taken at my moms last week) for your evening--- cause my friends joke (completely call me out) that it's all I ever do. It's true.

Happy Tuesday ;)

A Summer Party / Grilled Summer Fruit Recipe / We Love Olive Oil / A 300$ Giveaway To Oliviers & Co!

Oh summer parties, you are romantically wonderful. Am I right? I'm right. Outdoor summer entertaining does not exist in Florida. I mean, you can have a pool party, sort of--- but you're always more than likely to have rain. So for us, our sometimes summer visits to Massachusetts are always guaranteed to be filled with dining outside--- and it always leaves me lusting after Florida winter. For summer (and for life) enjoying meals together needs to be easy. There's no point in stressing out over meals and feeling too anxious to enjoy them-- trust me, I've done that too many times. Now we often stick to things like toast--- and things on toast. I mean, you guys know I'm in love with all things on toast, I always have been-- so for me (and for our friends and family) this always seems perfect. And best of all, it's easy, and pretty good looking too :) 

mixed olives quickly sautéed in olive & green lemon oil, lemon zest, grapefruit zest, and fresh rosemary.

When asked if we wanted to try out Oliviers &Co. I squealed with joy--- we LOVE (LOVE) oil and vinegar around here. I joke that Alex and I could single handily keep the olive oil and vinegar industry alive--- but you know, we almost probably could. Alex uses olive oil like it's his job, and I would drench anything and everything in vinegar. We aren't big splurgers around here, as you guys know--- we stick to our basics, but really good cooking staples? They are part of our basics. To make any meal delicious, all you really need is delicious quality products--- I swear on it. For us, finding O&Co (or them finding us) was like hitting the jackpot. (For you too, with a 300$ giveaway, haha!Can we say delicious party?)

Oliviers &Co works with  top artisanal producers to offer the worlds best olive oil. And they are involved in every step of the production process. From overseeing family farms throughout Europe, to the mills and bottling facilities, and ultimately to its boutiques – from grove to table, O&Co. is focused on maintaining the highest integrity in their products.

Oh, and I'm kind of obsessed with this 'how to taste' guide. It's so fun-- and would be blast to have a wine and olive oil night with friends to try to figure out smells and flavors. Right? I mean, we're food nerds, but that sounds ridiculously fun and delicious. 

Grilled Summer Fruit With Vegan Yogurt Dressing & Fig Balsamic Vinegar

you'll need:
4 peaches
6 apricots
6 large figs
handful blueberries
mint leaves
1 cup plain coconut yogurt
1 tbsp honey 
1 lemon zest and juice
oliviers &co organic persiani olive oil
oliviers &co fig balsamic vinegar

how to:
-coat peaches and apricots with olive oil
-sear on hot grill until fruit shows good marks and color
-remove and arrange on plate, tear figs open and lay on plate
-sprinkle with fresh blue berries and torn mint leaves
-in separate bowl, combine yogurt and lemon juice/zest
-drizzle over fruit
-finish with drizzle of fig balsamic vinegar and persiani olive oil

grilled fruit with fig balsamic vinegar
simple hummus, sprinkled with piment d' espelette
green pea and mint pesto with lemon oil
hand crushed tomatoes with reserve sherry vinegar
simple green salad with a wild poppy vinegarette 

wine, can't forget wine. 

All my travel posts are a bit out of order (I still have New Orleans photos to share), but regardless, this was such a nice easy day--- and the best way to spend our first day in Massachusetts: sharing delicious food with friends and family. I'm looking forward to winter here in Florida and our next year summer party in New England :) 

Want your own amazing treats from Oliviers &Co? Well, O&Co is graciously offering one ohdeardrea reader the chance to win they're very own 300$ delicious shopping spree. 

TO ENTER: simply click HERE, enter your email address, pick out your favorite items and come back here telling us which items you would choose if you won! It's that easy :) 

Want a discount? Receive 10% off your first purchase at Oliviers &Co. when you enter the giveaway (with THIS link)! 

*please note: don't forget to leave your email address for us to contact you! &this giveaway is available for US readers only (sorry international friends!). This post was sponsored by Oliviers &Co. Thanks O &Co, you are delicious! 
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