Tag Archives: beauty

Things Ronnica Doesn’t Splurge On

I’m busy working on Christmas gifts (more on that coming in a couple of weeks), so I don’t have a lot of creative energy left. So why not copycat another of Amanda’s blog ideas?

A few months ago, I shared what I splurge on. Today, I’ll talk about what I don’t splurge on.

My physical appearance

I have reduced my personal hygiene products down to about a half dozen, and I’m trying to use the last of some others so I can get rid of them, too. I don’t necessarily look the best I could be, but who am I trying to impress, anyway? I just don’t see where this falls in my priorities.

Eating out

I used to eat outside of the home daily as much from laziness as anything. I slowly got that under control as I saved for my move to Denver and then was unemployed when I first got there. Since then, I simply haven’t developed the habits of eating out.

Giving up Diet Dr Pepper has further removed temptation to eat out. I used to allow myself the treat of a meal from Chick-fil-a or Sonic, but it was always about the drink.

DVDs from the library play as well as the ones I used to own.
DVDs from the library play as well as the ones I used to own.


I don’t buy movies or music. Apart from the rare event or game I go to, I don’t pay for event tickets, either. I most certainly don’t go to the movies…I can wait 6 months and watch a borrowed DVD from the library. (Every year or two there is an exception: the latest installment of Star Wars is one of them.)

Because I get super-cheap cable at work, I don’t even use Netflix, Hulu Plus or Amazon Prime very regularly.

What do you choose not to splurge on?


If I were to take my social cues from reality television, advertisements and social media, I, as a 32-year-old woman, should be starting to obsess with not appearing to grow old.

A quick Google search reveals that since I’m in my 30s I should now be seeking micro peel, facial oil, skin brightener, retinol eye cream and wrinkle repair…and that’s just for my face. No, I don’ t really know what those are, either.

I think I look pretty good with gray hair (this was for Halloween 2013).

I’m also supposed to be covering my growing number of gray hairs.

[Truth: I’ve done it before. But I’m choosing not to anymore as I can’t align that decision with the way I’ve chosen to live.]

And that’s just for the average woman: if I were interested and wanted to invest in my looks, I could also start looking into various nips and tucks and lasers, too.

I don’t buy it. I want to celebrate age, not youth. After all, each day I have is a gift from God, so why should I try to hide the evidence that I’ve lived those days?

I hope that fashion comes around and recognizes the foolishness of glorifying young looks. But I can’t wait for it to do so.

Benefits of being anti-anti-aging:

1. It’s simpler. My beauty routines are already more simple than average, and I’m only making them simpler.

2. It’s cheaper. I don’t even know what I could spend on anti-aging items, but let’s say that I only purchase them moderately, at $25/month. If I were to live an additional 50 years, that is $15,000. If I had stuck that $25/month in a savings account instead, I’d have over $18,000.

3. It takes less time. All the above treatments take time. I’d rather use that time to pursue other interests that I find more worthwhile.

4. I have better things to think about. I don’t  waste time wondering if others can see my gray roots or if I have a new wrinkle.

What are your thoughts about the anti-aging industry? Am I being naive?

How it Works: Thrift Stores

This is my closet.



Let’s ignore the fact that this closet is ridiculously small (my toddler can’t even fit in here), and the fact that it really should be next in a possession purge (or at least an organization fest), and instead discuss its contents.

Over half of the clothing you see hanging up was purchased at a thrift store.

I’m actually pretty proud of this fact.  Despite coming into the thrift shop craze a bit late in the game (right around the time that the catchy, not-for-childrens’-ears ditty, “Thrift Shop”, by Macklemore came on the scene), I have gotten so many amazing things at rock-bottom prices.  Besides being a financially-savvy choice though, buying secondhand clothes also keeps waste down, which definitely falls in line with being a good steward!

I have a few rules regarding thrift-shopping, and they are by no means “official”; they are just what I’m comfortable with.

The first rule is, if I can catch something from an article of clothing, I don’t buy it.  I suppose one can catch anything anywhere, but I aim to lower my chances, so I don’t buy secondhand shoes or unmentionables (most thrift stores don’t accept underwear anyway, though, so it’s a moot point).

Secondly, know exactly what I want.  If I go in just aiming to browse, invariably I will spend far more than I wanted, and will come out with something destined to go to the thrift shop again.  Since thrift stores tend to be luck-of-the-draw though, when it comes to content…

…know when to walk away.  And then come back another time when inventory has been rotated.  The flip-side of this is that you shouldn’t expect to come back later in the day to pick up a hot-ticket item you wanted to think about before purchasing; chances are, someone else will have already picked it up.  Although taking time to think about a major purchase is admirable, it does not typically pay when it comes to thrift-shopping.

Finally, just because your wardrobe is secondhand doesn’t mean you have to deal with poor-quality clothing.  Be sure to look the item over, inside and out.  Check for holes, loose or missing buttons, a stuck zipper, or broken parts.  Try on clothing if you can.  Many stores have a strict return policy, so once a tag is removed and the article washed (absolutely wash clothes before wearing, or clean furniture before using!), you cannot return it.

Thrift stores are a treasure trove, and a great way to boost your wardrobe for less, but I’m still learning how to go about thrift shopping effectively.  Got any tips for me?

How it Works: Coconut Oil

unnamed (14)If you are an aficionado of social media groups that favor holistic living, coconut oil and its
many uses are already well-known to you.  Do a simple search for “coconut oil” and the results will be staggering!

I am a recent convert to the coconut oil camp. This versatile oil can be used for cooking, personal care, health benefits and more.

Be forewarned that coconut oil, like castile soap, is not cheap.  However, one jar of La Tourangelle Virgin and Unrefined Coconut Oil gives our family several weeks of many different uses, so it pays for itself in no time.  You should also know that coconut oil is actually a solid when kept below 75 degrees, and becomes a liquid beyond that.

How does it work for our family?  Let me count the ways:

As bath oil.  With two little people needing my attention, I confess I don’t get to partake of this use nearly as often as I’d like, but that’s not to say coconut oil isn’t incredible for softening your skin, especially in the dry winter months!  I will warn you, though, that it makes the tub slick afterwards, so use caution.

As lotion.  Same principle, different setting.  My youngest kiddo has incredibly sensitive skin, and as one who values living as naturally and lightly as possible, coconut oil has been great for this.  You will have to melt the coconut oil (we put the jar in a warm water bath), so will need to watch the temperature to prevent burns.  You can also rub it on your skin as a solid; your body temperature will melt the oil.  It also works well on chapped lips!

Cooking.  I like to use coconut oil in place of olive oil, where possible.  Because the flavor can be a bit different for some, I recommend using it in baking before trying it in regular meals.  Don’t let the fat content scare you–it’s good fat, but as with all good things, moderation is key.

Coffee creamer.  Don’t judge–a dash of coconut oil in my morning coffee serves as a great, healthy alternative to other creamers.  Even though it may fill you up, be sure to eat a little protein or fiber with your coconut flavored coffee!

What about you?  What uses have you come up with for coconut oil?


How It Works: Going No ‘Poo

This is my hair shortly before I cut it. January 2010.

Last week, Amanda talked about a key piece of her beauty routine: Castile soap. Today, I’m going to talk about something that’s not a part of mine.

I know how many times I’ve washed my hair in the last two years. Just three times, and one of those times was on accident.

A few years ago, I heard of the idea of giving up shampoo. While I’ve heard several reasons to give up on the lather, rinse, repeat cycle, for me I had two:

  1. to save money
  2. to help my dry scalp

So a little over 2 years ago, I decided I’d try it out myself. I read other’s stories and researched how I should handle my hair once I gave up shampoo.

Slowly, I washed my hair less and less. I used to wash it every other day, and I slowly decreased the frequency until I was only washing it once a week. I did that for a few months, as I waited to finish up my last bottle of shampoo.

One day two years ago, my shampoo was gone. I had already switched to a silicone-free conditioner, so I just had to switch to a silicone-free gel and started with a clean comb.

And then I waited for the gross, overly-oily hair that I read about. But it never came.

Apparently, if you want to avoid the excessive oil production, slowly decreasing your shampooing frequency is the way to go. I have thin, relatively dry hair, so those with another type of hair might not have the same experience.

I had thought I’d switch to using baking soda to wash my hair, but I still haven’t tried it. I’ve just not needed to.

So what do I think?

Well, I’ve not gone back to regularly using shampoo, only using it when I’ve had to use excessive amounts of other hair products (like when I sprayed my hair gray for Halloween).

When I look at my original goals, unfortunately, it did not help–or hurt–my dry scalp. It’s the same as it was before. But since it overwhelming met my first goal, I stuck with it.

So how much have I saved?

This is my entire hair care routine. I love simple.

As you can see below, I didn’t have expensive tastes before. Still, I’ve been able to save $122/year. Plus, my routine is simpler than before, saving me several minutes a day.

Old hair care routine – $136/year

Shampoo $4/bottle x 6 bottles a year = $24
Conditioner $4/bottle x 8 bottles a year = $32
Anti-frizz spray $5/bottle x 4 bottles a year = $20
Mousse $5/bottle x 12 bottles a year = $60
(I used Pantene products)

Current hair care routine – $14/year

Conditioner $2/bottle x 4 bottles a year = $8
Spray hair gel $4/bottle x 1.5 bottles a year = $6

Why should you quit shampoo?

I think the biggest argument against shampoo is that it strips our hair of oil, forcing our scalps to produce more oil, which we have to fight by using more shampoo. Simply by shampooing less, you will allow your body to fall back into a more comfortable rhythm.

I think it’s crazy that modern hair care products work at cross purposes. First we strip our hair of oil by shampooing, then we add other products to get a “natural” sheen that the oil would have given us if we hadn’t removed it.

Isn’t my hair dirty/smelly?

You’ll have to ask those around me about the smell (though I frequently get comments about the smell from my coconut conditioner), but no, it’s not dirty. It gets rinsed out with conditioner every day.

My hair is oilier than it was previously, and I can tell now if I’ve gone more than 24-36 hours without a shower. But since I’m more active than I used to be, I feel the need to shower everyday, anyway.

Where should you start?

If you are interested in going “No ‘Poo,” I recommend researching what hair care products may be within your budget that are missing  sulfates/silicones on sites like this one. I found mine on a site that unfortunately doesn’t exist any more.

And if you do try it, give yourself time to find new hair care routines that work for you. I’m still working on this myself, as I moved from a humid climate to an arid one.

I hope you do give this a try. Let me know if you do!

Ode to Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap

Ever since watching the documentary Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox
on Netflix, I have unnamed (2)become a true believer in the power of Castile soap, as well as the amazing experience of “buying” my values.

Castile soap refers to any soap made from a vegetable oil, as opposed to animal fat; Merriam-Webster goes so far as to label it “bland.”  This is actually a good thing:  the natural, grease-fighting properties are effective enough on the dirtiest of floors, yet gentle enough to bathe a baby with daily.

Although there are several different brands of Castile soap out there, I have only ever used Dr. Bronner’s.  Not only is it certified fair trade and organic, but it is also not tested on animals, has no GMOs, the bottle is made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic, includes all-natural and organic ingredients, and–this is the biggie–it can be used for everything.

This is my shampoo, body wash, hand soap, baby wash (it has no detergents), dog shampoo, floor cleaner, and, in a pinch, has been used as my laundry detergent.  Some even swear by it as a toothpaste (although I haven’t been that brave…yet!).  It is just that versatile.  Bonus:  it provides some great shower-time reading–each bottle is loaded with quotes and poetry espousing Dr. Bronner’s somewhat eccentric life philosophy.

At most stores, Dr. Bronner’s does come with a heftier price tag than your usual, run-of-the-mill soaps, but for me, it is worth it.  It is so concentrated and effective, I am able to make one bottle last for our family of four people (and one dog) and all of our purposes for over a month.

Our bodies are a gift, as is the environment.  Being able to put our hard-earned dollars into a product that nourishes both of these rather than harms is of utmost importance to me.  I am thankful we are fortunate enough to be able to choose this option.

Although I usually follow my Dr. Bronner’s shampoo with a vinegar rinse, Ronnica does things a bit differently.  Come back Monday and learn the secret to her beauty regimen!