Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Life Hacks I Learned in 2015

I recently shared how I made sheet suspenders for my bed and love, love the result, but I've found a few other ideas that were effective last year, so I'm sharing them today. If they apply to you, I'm hoping you can incorporate them for a better 2016!

I've only seen one person with worse dry skin than I was dealing with last summer. My skin has always been on the dry side and I'm used to it getting drier in the winter and recovering when summer comes with all its mid-western humidity. So when that didn't happen last year, I felt desperate. I got a prescription from a dermatologist that helped, but only temporarily. I often had patches of shiny pink skin that was too new and shouldn't have been the top layer, if that makes sense. I tried washing my face with coconut oil at night and everything changed. I just massage it into my skin (it removes makeup too) and then lay a hot washcloth over my face for half a minute and breathe. It feels amazing and then you can wipe your makeup, etcetera away with the washcloth. I put lotion on after that. 

Don't you love that it's not a recipe?! It's just coconut oil. You could add a few drops of lavender essential oil if you'd like the calming effect before bed, but you don't have to! (Apparently my aversion to cooking extends to the creation of personal care products that feels to much like cooking...) 

There are two things that make coconut oil tricky, but they're both easily remedied so stay with me. First, it will clog your drain. It solidifies if it's not quite warm and once it's poured down your drain, it can solidify and seal off your drain. (We did this when we first started cooking with it.) So I splurged on a brand that stays liquid, which I found at Wal-mart. It's much more expensive than regular coconut oil, but since I only use it for my face, it should last quite a while and it's still a cheap face wash. Second, oil is messy. I found it hard to get it out in a way that didn't dribble down the side of the container and leave oily circles on my counter, in my medicine cabinet, etc. So I bought a sports bottle with a pop cap and squeeze a little into my hands. So much better.  Btw - these bottles aren't available just everywhere anymore so I got mine at a second hand store. 

My family seems to have a hereditary tendency towards constipation (eww...I know...I never thought I'd blog about THIS either), so I was pretty pleased when the most effective solution was natural and easy to implement. Our favorite way to eat flax seed is adding a tablespoon to our granola at breakfast, but you can put it in a smoothie too. Flax meal's another option, but not as effective. If you want a cleanse type of experience, you add a second tablespoon the second week and go to three tablespoons the third week. I haven't done that, so I can't say much about it, but the original dose proved to be more miraculous than Miralax at our house. 

To preserve my children's dignity, I'll not tell you which of them needed this remedy. I've heard how important it is to light up or look happy when your child enters the room and I was going. to. fail. So I found a home remedy that seemed simple enough and tried it. I put boiling water in my biggest mixing bowl and steeped five bags of decaf black tea in it. I chose decaf so my kiddo's feet wouldn't soak up caffeine. As soon as the water was cool enough to put feet in, we soaked for twenty minutes once a day for five days. 

The smell was gone! It was shockingly effective. I could snuggle my little again without passing out. The toxic tennis shoes got sprinkled inside with baking soda and tossed in the wash. 
A lot of people live with cold sores and act like it's no big, but not me. They make it hurt to smile, hurt to eat...not to mention looking yucky. And in case you thought they could only happen on your mouth, I confirmed with my doctor and dentist that they can happen on and in your nose. It's like a plague. While some remedies worked for me for a while, the virus seems to figure out how to get around them...even prescription Valtrex. I've been using Zilactin and while it burns like heck when you apply it, it's pretty amazing. My sores haven't developed when I use it and I have a friend who used it a while and stopped getting cold sores ever. She hasn't had one in years. Can you imagine? I keep it in my purse so I can catch cold sores as soon as they start, no matter where I am. 
I had the stop button fall off my seat belt in one of our cars and lived with fishing for the clicky part for months! Then one morning, I actually thought about it and realized I could put a pretty big safety pin where it used to be and probably get the same effect. It worked! And though it's a little ghetto, it was a little thing that made my life so much nicer. 
If you'd like to get a real replacement, this can just be your temporary until it comes!

So there's what I learned in least in the practical how-to-do-life area! I made each one a pin-happy graphic so you can pin them if you like and reference them when the need arises. Happy hacking!