that’s one minty bit o’ mail

I got a little overexcited a few weeks ago and bought something I don’t need just yet. “But you hate spending money!” It’s true, I do! This is the first money I’ve spent on anything other than groceries or the occasional takeout order since losing my job. Considering the amount of promotional emails I get everyday telling me “times are hard – buy our new loungewear” or “YOU NEED 24 BOTTLES OF WINE,” I think I’m doing pretty well.

Plus, what I bought is something I will need (and use) soon enough. I was lured into buying early by a sale, naturally. I also figured that despite the estimated delivery date being advertised as a week from the time of purchase, I might not get the package until June.

…but lo, it arrived!

The goods came in one surprisingly tiny package (makes sense – use a small box, then there’s no need for excessive padding). Boy did it have a strong smell. Thankfully, all of the different scents didn’t meld into one giant, confusing “blah” smell – it was mostly the peppermint that came through.

…let me explain what you’re looking at. This tiny box contains:

  • One homemade lavender soap
  • One homemade oatmeal milk-n-honey soap
  • One peppermint and rosemary shampoo bar
  • One gardenia shampoo bar
  • One coconut and vanilla lotion bar
  • Two tins (for the shampoo bars, but honestly for anything)

You know I worked too hard to get that photo. WORTH IT.

I’m so excited to try everything. These items are from the Etsy store NMJHandmadeCreations where all kinds of plastic-free soaps, shampoos and lotions can be found. The shampoo bars are extremely customizable, so I made my gardenia one for a dry scalp (me), and the peppermint & rosemary for normal hair (Séan, if I can get him to try it). The tins are definitely going to be used for all sorts of things, especially since I’m going to attempt to make deodorant soon. Ohhh yeah. That’s happening.

I should point out that the lotion bar is wrapped in a small bit of plastic. I’m sure this was disclaimed on the website and I just missed it. Since everything else is wrapped in paper, I’m not going to beat myself up over that by any means. It’s still a heck of a lot less plastic than my usual big Aveeno/Jergen’s bottle. Besides, I’m not going to pretend that I’m never going to encounter plastic again – just seeing how far I can take my attempts to avoid it.

Speaking of trying to make deodorant…I thought I was going to make it the other night, but I bought cornmeal instead of cornstarch at the store on Tuesday. As it turns out, they are not the same thing. I think I knew that the whole time, but I can’t walk into a one-man shop the size of a spacious closet and not walk out with something. I’m too anxious for that. Besides, you know what they say: when life gives you cornmeal, make blueberry cornbread muffins. And then wonder the next day why these muffins that were so tasty initially now taste weird and bitter and are burning the inside of your mouth. Where did I go wrong? Please help. (Still sharing the recipe because I think the error was on my end but uh, watch out I guess?)

Anyway. I’m curious to see how long the bar soaps and shampoos last. I don’t want to open anything until we’ve run down our current supply of bottled soap and shampoo, so it may be a little while before I find out. It was such a relief when I found this particular Etsy shop because the prices didn’t make me cry. The shampoo bars were $8, the soaps $5, and the tins $3 and $4. I didn’t find those prices to be restrictive, but of course I’m comparing to what I usually spend on shampoo, conditioner and soap. For me, if the bars last, this change will save me money on top of reducing my waste output. (There’s probably some real eco-terminology I should be using, not “waste output”, but you get my drift.) If they don’t last long enough to make sense economically…then we go from there.

On an unrelated note – that candle I talked about in my “support local businesses after this is over” rant back in March? (Was it March?) I got one!

The Whole Foods near me sells locally-made goods and I figured this candle was the way to go because I can use the mason jar when she’s all burnt out. I actually bought this right before I was laid off, and I’m sure glad I did because I’d hesitate to buy myself a candle now. Candles – how lavish!

On that note, it’s time for me to close this tab and head back to the job search. Having these little side projects, like finding the shampoo bar Etsy shop or trying to see if I can make my own deodorant, has done a lot for me in terms of keeping me feeling balanced. I’m so much happier when I have a project, and while my timing might seem terrible, this is proving to be the perfect project for this moment. There are a lot of jokes going around about people trying to make sourdough bread or taking up this hobby or that while isolated, but screw ’em. If it helps you and doesn’t do anyone else any harm, why wouldn’t you?! Paint that picture, bake that bread, just…try not to champion your productivity in a way that guilts others for not being “productive.” Whatever that word means. Naps are productive, if you ask me. I’m not joking. Don’t read that as a joke.

Another not-joke: stay well, wear a mask, and try not to let other people’s Facebook posts ruin your day. 🙂

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