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My friends and family were concerned when they began noticing a difference. My usual bubbly-blonde self talking about water catchment systems, instead of Dior’s new line took them a little off-guard. Trading in my salon shampoo for homemade baking soda rinse followed by a smidgen of organic coconut oil for heat defense just didn’t make sense to them at the time. At first I wasn’t too keen on my new lifestyle either. My new ways were born out of need not desire. As a family of 5 our income was reduced dramatically overnight. A lot of things had to change whether I liked it or not. I wasn’t earth-wise and only got by with adopting minimal green perspectives because it had become popular to do so. God knows, I had to be popular. Suddenly, as a family of 5 living within poverty lines, my partner and I had to get creative! We would lay awake when the kids were sleeping and binge on Youtube (yes youtube), absorbing all that we could from the popular searches:

Living on a Budget

Extreme Couponing

Making your own detergent, shampoo, deodorant

Raising a family on little money

The more we tried to save money the more valuable our natural resources became. You don’t have to buy fruits and veggies if you grow them yourself. But we don’t live on a farm, and have very little land that wasn’t our own. So we began to watch everything we could find regarding:

Urban Homesteading

Raised bed Gardens

“The Dervaes Family” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Q-6eDQ8c-A (I love this family, they have been such an inspiration to us!)

Permaculture

We visited our local library and thumbed through Barnes and Noble while our kids played at the train table and listened to stories we read for free! We like FREE these days! One of the first great books that changed our way of thinking is called Possum Living by Dolly Freed. This book is about living well with little to no money. Freed and her father lived on very little money when her dad worked odd jobs (rarely)and they grew and raised their own food (rabbits). Although, their lifestyle was extreme for us, we were encouraged because if they could do it, than surely we could do what works for our family.

There were a lot of growing pains for me during this time. I missed Starbucks and the mall desperately. I dreamed (literally) of Sephora clearance racks, that I would single-handedly wipe out, taking home Urban Decay eye shadows, Benefit Bronzers, Bare Essentials, for ridiculously low prices It was make up of all kinds, lipsticks and blushes galore, dancing like sugar plums in my head!!!…. then I woke up. I have never seen a crazy clearance sell at Sephora BTW, I think I dreamt this because I knew somewhere inside of me that it would be the only way I could afford these products I have enjoyed for years, they would have to be on serious mark-down. I refused to give up on make up. I started frequenting sample sites and would get high-end face cream delivered to my mail box. I began to despise my home-made shampoo less and less after the initial detox period was over. The thing about most shampoos is that they strip the hair of it’s natural oils and really isn’t good for you. (I have a review on my blog on a shampoo by Rusk that is sulfate-free and not as harsh on your hair and scalp. It’s a luxurious alternative to the baking soda/apple cider vinegar wash I was accustom to).

Our family does not struggle as we once used to. We were forced to move into a cheaper and much smaller home that we are far happier with. Far too many Americans live outside of their means. We take out loans on homes we can’t afford and the “American Dream” is to pay them off so we may finally be “home owners” in 30 years; a reality that usually never happens because you end up refinancing for the new car or the kitchen re-model. One thing about me, is that I have always struggled with patience. I know, it’s virtue but I just haven’t got the hang of it yet and 30 years of signing away the majority of my paycheck to a bank just doesn’t doesn’t sound enticing. So we I have grown a passion for:

The Tiny House movement

Earthships

Bus Conversions (check out http://www.youtube.com/user/steampunkbus)

I am still not a pro at any of this folks. I am a work in progress. We are in the dreaming/learning phase of our life over-haul. Which I think is the most vulnerable time. Where there is vulnerability there is the opportunity for connection and growth. That’s why I decided to start this blog. To connect with like-minded folks who can share tips on sustainability, find and review green products and document our lives as we reach our ultimate goal to living off-grid!

Please come along! I LOVE hearing from you! Please don’t hesitate to ask questions or give me tips and advise.

JEN

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