Monthly Archives: November 2013

Does your bed have the ickies?


Ahhhhh, your bed…

Thoughts of soft sheets and fluffy pillows provide us with a feeling of comfort and relaxation. People (me included) assume that their beds are a hygenic refuge because they wash their sheets once a month. We spend our days walking around and coming in contact with all kinds of suspicious-looking muck and not everyone is inclined to take a shower before bed. The result: our beds are the least hygenic thing we come across day in and day out. Which poses a very important question…What exactly is sleeping in our beds with us each night?

You dirty dog, you…

Consider this: One third of dog owners allow their dogs to sleep in bed with them. “Fido is well kept. I gave him a bath last month.” or  “A dog’s mouth is cleaner than its owners.” I’m afraid these are antiquated statements that just aren’t true. We can’t blame ourselves. Cute and cuddly, we believe our animal friends to be the perfect sleeping companion. But ponder this:  Dogs and cats step in poop, dirt, name it..they step in it. Yuck! Not to mention the serious licking that goes along with the settling down on your pillow for the night. Hot summer nights equal tons of animal dander and shedded fur which can cause sinusitis and allergies galore. Parasites and bacteria have been known to nestle into the sheets after a day on your pet’s back. So while we all love a little cuddle time with our pets, we should probably keep them off the bed. I know, say it ain’t so.

Yeah, you too…

We’re no cleaner than our dirty pets. We excrete half a pound of moisture a night. We shed skin scales, sweat up a storm, and cough and sneeze into our pillows nightly. Let’s not forget the grime on our bodies from the day. Believe it or not, feces and urine is frequently a visitor as well. 1 in 10 women and men under the age of 25 wash their sheets only 6 times a year! Ewwww! Just our own filth can cause respiratory illness, fatigue, sinusitis, irritated eyes, and asthma. Not fun!

Ok, now that I’ve totally grossed you out and and probably scared you to death, let me tell you the easy fix….

  • Wash your sheets and comforter at least once a week in hot water between 120-140 F, and dry on high.
  • Vacuum your mattress at least once a month.
  • Don’t forget the pillows. Experts say up to 10% of the weight of an unwashed pillow can be made up of dead skin and mites (sick!). Fungi and dust mites vacation in dirty pillows as well. You can clean your pillows every two weeks by washing them or taking them to the dry cleaners. Every three to four years it’s probably time to purchase a new pillow (Yes! I finally have a good excuse for this).
  • Finally, we can’t avoid discussing the mattress. Something we give very little thought to, and yet a major reason why our beds can become toxic and wreak havoc on our health. The majority of mattresses are manufactured with polyurethane foam which has been known to leak volatile organic compounds. This chemical is absorbed through the skin and causes respiratory illness and heart problems. Organic cotton mattresses are a cleaner, greener solution to avoiding these troubling ailments. Be sure to flip your mattresses regularly and frequently clean all stains and air dry in the sun.

Our beds should always be a clean, stress-free escape from the outside world. While sleeping, our bodies get the most repair work done. We boost our immune system, keep fatigue away, and revitalize our mental energy. Just a few changes can greatly increase your chances for a better night’s sleep so you can rest easy.


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Filed under Clean Living Tips, Cut the Crap Series - 10 Fast and Easy Ways to Clean Up Your Lifestyle

Recipe: Roasted Beets and Sweet Potatoes

Roasted beets and sweet potatoes
  • 3-4 large beets, washed (you can peel them if you like, but I just scrub them really well), cut into chunks
  • 2-3 medium sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • olive oil (3 tablespoons)
  • garlic powder (to taste)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)


Heat oven to 400*F
In a bowl, toss the beets with 1 tablespoon olive oil to coat. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper in a large resealable plastic bag. Place the sweet potatoes and onion in the bag. Seal bag, and shake to coat vegetables with the oil mixture.

Bake beets 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Mix sweet potato mixture with the beets on the baking sheet. Continue baking 45 minutes, stirring after 20 minutes, until all vegetables are tender.

Yummy and ready in 1 hour 15 min! I served mine on a bed of arugula, but it would go as a nice side to a roast, or serve mixed with quinoa for protein!

Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 11.51.48 AM

This recipe is courtesy of the fabulous Kristin Heineman. Kristin is a dear friend living up in Ft. Collins enjoying life as a hip professor of ancient times. When she’s not teaching and dreaming up wonderful recipes you’ll likely find her on the slopes kicking ass on her snowboard. Thanks for the recipe, Kristin! 


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Adult Acne, Dry Skin…Have you Tried the Oil Cleansing Method?


By: Vanessa Richardson (guest post)

Does this sound familiar…

I was one of the lucky few in high school who had perfect skin.  I wish I’d known just how lucky I was.  Alas, my blessed skin only lasted until about 22 when I was hit with adult acne.  At 33 it has shown no signs of releasing me.  I’ve tried everything… the washes, meds from the dermatologist, creams, facials, fasts and cleanses, everything. Sometimes I would get zit free, dried out irritated skin, but how is a red flaky face an improvement over zits?

After years of trying everything, I gave up and decided to just concentrate on keeping my face clean and moisturized.  That helped the most.  However, the soap still dries, the moisturizers are full of who knows what, and I still have the same acne issues that I’ve had for 11 years now.  *sigh*

A woman on a mission…

I’m always on the lookout for ways to EASILY eliminate chemicals from my life.  A year ago I switched to baking soda instead of shampoo. Three weeks ago, I switched out my face wash for olive oil.  Yup, I started washing my face with OIL.  It’s called the Oil Cleaning Method (OCM) and is based on the basic idea in chemistry that “like dissolves like.”  Therefore a gentle, effective way to dissolve the dirty oil on my face is to use clean oil.  It’s been fantastic. My skin isn’t all dry and itchy, it’s a little less broken out, and I feel good about using something natural on my face.

How you can get in on it…

The most common instructions for OCM call for using various mixtures of oils such as castor, jojoba, grape seed, olive, and almond based on your skin type. You rub the oil in for 4-5 minutes, place a washcloth soaked with hot water on your face for another 2-3 minutes, and then gently scrub off until the oil is gone.   I’ll be honest, I’m lazy AND I’m cheap so as this wasn’t going to work for me.  7 to 10 minutes to get my face clean? Nope, this had to be modified to work for my lazy butt. Here’s what I do:

  • I pour a quarter size dollop of olive oil into my hand and rub it into my dry dirty skin for about one minute.
  • Next I put a clean washcloth, soaked in hot water, on my face for about 30 seconds.
  • I gently use the same hot washcloth to scrub the oil off my face using a circular motion until all the oil is gone. It takes about a minute.
  • Then I look at the previously clean washcloth with shock and a little disgust.  All the crap that was on my face is now a brown Rorschach splotch on the cloth.

For the first week I just used olive oil.  I always have olive oil on hand and I didn’t feel like going out and buying something else (cheap and lazy remember.)  Also, I guess castor oil is drying so you only use it 2x/week.  I can use olive oil everyday, which is good because I need to wash my face every day. Now I use a mix rosewood essential oil and olive oil mostly because I like the smell, but rosewood is also good for the skin. The mix I use is an 1/8th of a cup of extra virgin olive oil and 4-5 drops of rosewood essential oil. I keep it in a glass jar on my bathroom counter.

Why I love it…

I’m done in about 3 minutes.  No moisturizer is needed afterward because my skin isn’t stripped of all its natural oils. The olive oil doesn’t hurt my eyes or taste bad if it goes somewhere it’s not supposed to, it’s gentle enough to use on my lips, and it gets eye makeup off better than makeup remover!

As I mentioned before I’ve only been doing this for about 3 weeks, so I can’t speak to the long term results, or say that it will work for everyone. All I can say with certainty is that my face is healthier and happier than it has been in awhile.  If you’re struggling with your skin, give OCM a try.  A good resource I found is


Vanessa Richardson (when she’s not having fun playing in the mud) is a newlywed living in Los Alamos with her husband Charlie and son Aiden. I’ve known Vanessa since we were kids and always looked up to her as the cooler, older, big sister of one of my best childhood friends. Thank you Vanessa for pulling this together for us. I’m looking forward to trying it out on my newly-developed dry skin.


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Filed under DIY Beauty Recipes