Curly Girls

Curly hair hasn’t been “in” since the 1980s, and those curls were permed to death, teased to high heaven, and sprayed with toxic hairspray to set. After that trend flew the coop, flat-ironed, stick-straight hair was all the rage.

All through the ‘90s, right on through the first decade of the 2000s, up until just recently, when celebrities like Shakira and Lourde started flaunting their natural ringlets and waves. All of a sudden, women with curly hair weren’t just the “before” photos in the makeover articles.

But tossing all those flat-irons and blow dryers is a hard habit to break! What’s a girl to do?

Embrace her curls, that’s what. Over 50% of American women have curls … say what now? Time to take back what nature gave ya, and tame those tresses.

photo by Gordon via

“Curly Girls” isn’t just a catch-phrase, it’s a movement. The basics for following the Curly Girl method came from Lorraine Massey (try her book, The Curly Girl Handbook) to read all about it.

But the rules for gorgeous, shiny, twirly, swirly, curls are pretty simple:

  • Toss all those toxic hair-care products, and yes, this probably means your shampoo.
  • Skip shampooing altogether (this is called The No Poo Method … no, it’s not a laxative commercial), or switch to a brand with no parabens/sulfates/silicones. Some Curly Girls use a simple mixture of apple cider vinegar and conditioner to cleanse their hair, or a make a DIY sugar scrub for their scalp. But the shampoo brands are catching on: it’s getting easier and easier (and less expensive too) to find a shampoo free of all those nasty, pesky chemicals.
  • Figure out which curl pattern is your distinct pattern. This will help you know which products to try and which tutorials to watch: patterns range from

1 = Straight Hair
2 = Wavy Hair
3 = Curly Hair
A = Curl diameter of sidewalk chalk
B = Curl diameter of a Sharpie
C = Curl diameter of a pencil
4 = Kinky Hair
A = Curl diameter of a needle
B = Zigzag curl pattern
C = No curl pattern

  • Moisturizing is key for curly hair because curls get dry quickly and they are thirsty. Use a thick, organic conditioner. Look for ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, argan, aloe vera, proteins, etc.
  • Get rid of your hairbrush. Curly girls have no need for a hairbrush EVER. Simply comb through your hair to detangle in the shower while your conditioner has been slathered through.
  • For extra volume, flip your head upside down for the final rinse and comb through.
  • Now, “Squish to Condish.” Squeeze and squish your tendrils up towards your hairline. No need to rinse out all the conditioner either. Remember, you have thirsty hair!
  • While hair is still very wet, apply your curl product: creams are good for smooth ringlets, gels provide great control especially in humidity, and mousses give you some bounce and volume. Most curly girls experiment and even combine their products. Remember, you’re looking for products that do not contain parabens, sulfates, or non-water-soluble silicones.
  • Your curls will be sopping wet and sticking a bit to your head. That’s okay! They’re going to come to life during the drying process. For any flat pieces, twirl a section and then scrunch. Some girls do this to their whole head (after a while it doesn’t take so long), some just do those stubborn pieces in the front that they know are prone to frizz or straightening out.
  • Scrunch some of the water out with an old cotton Tshirt. Towels create friction.
  • Air dry, or use a diffuser on your blow dryer. You know the one: it’s the bumpy, round attachment you may not have ever used before.
  • For sleeping, try “pineappling” your hair: Pile loosely on the very tip-top of your head (think unicorn horn placement). Tie in a loose bun or just in a simple ponytail. This keeps your curls from getting smooshed on your pillow all night long.
  • Speaking of pillows, switch to a satin pillowcase. It really makes a difference in frizz control!

It may take some practice to find which products work best for your hair, but your tired tresses will thank you for it.

For a list of curl-friendly products, check out Curly Girl’s blog. Or search for “curly girls” on Pinterest or YouTube. It’s a bunny trail of wavy proportions.

Curly girls of the world, unite!

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Hats Off to the Easter Bonnet

Some of us remember dressing up in our Sunday best on Easter, to-the-nines, complete with a frilly hat or bonnet. Nowadays, it’s more about plastic eggs filled with candy, hunts in parks that get surprisingly competitive, and possibly making your toddler cry while posing for photos with a gigantic bunny rabbit.

Let’s bring back the bonnet, farmgirls! The history of the Easter bonnet began after the Civil War, when people were desperate to bring some normalcy, fun, happiness, and even frivolity back into their lives. Dressing up for church in your Sunday best became something to look forward to, and after Lent, it seemed even more luxurious and exciting. Buying a new pair of gloves, adding some plumage to your top hat or some ribbons to your skirt was …

well, worthy of a parade, you might say.

The first large Easter parade was the Fifth Avenue Parade in 1870 in New York, but it happened a bit as an accident. So many people dressed up in their Sunday best that day, when they filed out of church at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and walked down Fifth Avenue, it had the look of an organized parade. Every year, Saint Patrick’s Easter service attracted more and more church-goers, all dressed in their bonneted finery, and by the 1940s, over a million people were in attendance. Oh, how I love an (accidental) parade!

5th Ave., Easter Parade circa 1910-1915, Library of Congress, via Wikimedia Commons.

In the most recent years, the Easter parade has dwindled in size, but not in spirit. There are still predicted to be around 30,000 people this Sunday, outfitted in their best and most stylish clothes. Complete with hats, of course!

The film Easter Parade, with Judy Garland and Fred Astaire, and music by Irving Berlin, certainly boosted the popularity of Easter bonnets. Who didn’t want to be just like Judy?

And in fact, the heyday of the outrageous and outlandish Easter bonnets was in the 1940s and 1950s, when ladies wore bonnets shaped like ginormous eggs, fluffy rabbits, clotheslines complete with tiny clothes and washboards, picnic scenes, crates of eggs with chicks peeking out, and bunny ears the size of small children! You can take a peek at some of the most outrageous (and probably headache worthy!) headpieces on Pinterest, like this collection, courtesy of The Eternal Headonist, an Australian hatmaker.

Let’s bring back the Easter bonnet, ladies and gentlemen! Who’s with me?

Easter in New Orleans. People with colorful Easter bonnets in the French Quarter. Photo by Infrogmation (talk) via Wikimedia Commons.

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Flour-sack Dresses

The height of DIY, pluckiness, sheer will, and creativity in America just may have been during the Great Depression. Case in point: flour-sack dresses.


No, don’t picture a “sad sack,” readers. These dresses had style!

Take a look at these two sisters, plus their matching dollies.


The flour companies were so impressed and inspired by the women making do with what they had, they began upgrading the designs of their sacks. Not just plain beige, oh no, they came up with all sorts of prints and patterns that would rival any aisle at today’s JoAnn Fabrics.

Scottie Dog lover? Got you covered, ma’am.


Some manufactures even began printing patterns for craft projects on their fabric. Kind of like how today’s cereal boxes have little cut-out projects for your kids to take some scissors to after they’ve gotten to the bottom of their breakfast favorites.

“Mommy and Me” dresses were popular, too, and can’t you just see yourself as a little girl heading out shopping, and spying a beautiful new play dress in that bag of whole wheat?


Times may have been tough and lean in the 1930s, but the ladies weren’t about to give up style and femininity.

No, sir.

Or more to the point, no, ma’am.

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Don’t Be Clingy, Please!

Why are my clothes sticking together or to me and is there a natural way to make them stop?

You’ve probably heard by now that conventional dryer sheets that work to remove static cling from your clothes contain some of the most toxic chemicals of any household products. And those anti-cling aerosol cans are full of nasty chemicals that can nearly drive you out of the room with their odors. But you don’t want to go to town with your skirt sticking to your tights, either. We’ve probably all had an embarrassing moment or two with that scenario. One time when I was flying out of the Spokane airport, I stood in a line of people waiting to talk to an airline clerk with my back to a large lobby. After quite a long wait, a woman came up to me and whispered in my ear, “Honey, I know I’d want someone to tell me this—your dress is hitched up to your panties.” {Funny how I never noticed just how large that lobby was.}

So what’s a natural-living farmgirl to do?

First, a little about electricity. When you think of electricity, you probably first think of the kind you get when you plug something in. That’s called “current electricity,” electricity that travels from a power source down a metal wire. It’s always on the move, carrying electricity from one point to another. “Static electricity,” on the other hand, is electricity that builds up in one place. Lightning is the most spectacular example of static electricity. {In the early ’70s, when I worked as a fire lookout in the Idaho wilderness, I was sitting on my little lookout stool with glass feet in the tower, nearly 100 feet in the air, during a lightning storm, when all of a sudden, my waist-length hair started dancing all around my head, cartoon-like. Startling, to say the least. The next day, a man from the main Forest Service office stopped by to check the grounding wires on my metal tower. Yikes!}


photo by Christophe.Finot via Wikimedia Commons

Static electricity can also be produced by rubbing two things together, like rubbing a balloon on your shirt to make it stick. But it’s not really the rubbing that generates the static electricity, it’s that we’re bringing two different materials together over and over, like in a clothes dryer. According to, “Different fabrics exchange electrons as they rub against each other in the dryer. Some clothes become positively charged and others become negatively charged. These opposite static charges cause the clothes to stick together and produce crackling sparks when pulled apart.” Static electricity does do more than just stick our clothes together. Printers and copiers use it to build up ink on their drums, for one. But why do our clothes seem to stick together more in colder weather and what can we do to un-stick them?

Static cling is more prevalent in colder weather because cold air holds less moisture than warm air, allowing static electricity to build up instead of dissipate. According to, “When a furnace draws some of that frigid air inside and heats it up, the dew point doesn’t rise with it, unless your furnace also includes a humidifier to add more moisture to the air. Inside, it can become as dry as a desert, making the air about as resistant to the movement of electrons as it can get.”

So, now we know why we get static cling. But how do we deal with it naturally?

photo by Stephanie via

Here are a few tricks to try.

Clothing made of natural fibers retain moisture more easily and don’t usually fall prey to static cling. Try drying natural fibers on their own without adding synthetic items to avoid static cling. And don’t over-dry. Air-dry synthetics if you can.

  1. Use a humidifier indoors to keep your air moist. Or hang your outfit in the bathroom while you shower, or even lightly spray it with water.
  2. Try adding 1/4 cup of baking soda in the washer to help avoid static buildup. (It creates a kind of barrier around the clothes.) Or add 1/4 cup white vinegar to the rinse as a natural softener, which also helps static cling.
  3. Add a small ball of tinfoil in the washer (never the dryer) to attract electricity away from fabrics.
  4. Try natural dryer balls to replace dryer sheets. They help keep fabrics from rubbing up against each other in the dryer.
  5. Moisturize your skin so that static doesn’t build up on your body. Also try moisturizing your hands before you remove garments from the dryer.
  6. Run your garment through a metal hanger to discharge the electricity. Or try wearing a metal safety pin on an inside seam.
  7. Now, here’s a real farmgirl fix: Grab some grounded metal (like your metal fence—electricity turned off if it’s an electric fence) to transfer the static.

Do you have a method you use that I didn’t think of?

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Cold Feet Warm a Nation


LL Bean,

Outdoor outfitter L.L. Bean’s website declares, “Since 1912, we’ve believed in the adventure of a life lived outdoors, the promise of a fair deal, and the guarantee that everything we make is designed to last.” You’re probably familiar with their popular outdoor clothing and gear, but you might not know that it all came about because founder L.L. got cold feet. Literally …

According to, “The Maine-based sporting goods retailer got its start in 1911, when Leon L. Bean, an avid outdoorsman with an eighth-grade education, came home from a hunting trip with wet, uncomfortable feet. Bean, who had briefly worked in his brother’s shoe store, had a cobbler sew leather tops onto a pair of workmen’s rubber boots to create a more functional form or footwear. The following year, Bean jump-started his business by mailing a promotion flyer to everyone who held a Maine hunting license, declaring “You cannot expect success hunting deer or moose if your feet are not properly dressed.” He took orders for 100 pairs of his product, dubbed the Maine Hunting Shoe, but 90 of them were returned because of defects. Undaunted, Bean refunded everyone’s money, ironed out the quality issues and mailed a new batch of fliers. His company soon was thriving, and in 1917, he launched his first retail store in Freeport.”

The L.L. Bean brand is now known worldwide, and unbelievably, that same basic shoe design is still one of their biggest sellers … warming the feet of multitudes of outdoor enthusiasts over the years. And they’ll still refund your money if you’re not satisfied. “We make pieces that last, and if they don’t, we want to know about it. So if it’s not working or fitting or standing up to its task, we’ll take it back. L.L. himself always said that he didn’t consider a sale complete ‘until goods are worn out and the customer still satisfied.’”

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turkey by the numbers

According to the U.S. Census Bureau and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), of the 243 million turkeys raised in the U.S. this year, about 45 million of them ended up on our Thanksgiving tables.

The American Farm Bureau Federation reports that Americans paid approximately $49.87 on average for a Thanksgiving Day meal for 10 people. In 2015, the average retail price for turkey was $1.45/pound (up from $.99/pound in 1995). But in a survey about pricing this year, while 29 percent of Americans said that less than $1.50 per pound was a fair price for turkey, nearly the same percent of respondents said they would pay $5 or more per pound. Sounds like more folks are going organic for the holidays!

Find organic turkeys at

Cranberries: From Bog to Table

In the spirit of the season, today’s post is all about cranberries. You know, those tasty, nutrient-dense, little red morsels … you most likely passed them (or passed them by—folks usually love ’em or hate ’em) around your Thanksgiving table last week. And maybe you’ll enjoy them again at a Christmas feast. Their bright-red hues bring a festive touch to any holiday meal.

When I think cranberries, I think New England, where many of the cranberries in the U.S. are grown and harvested. I don’t think my neighboring Washington state … until now. Turns out, Washington state is the fifth largest cranberry-producing state in the U.S. Who knew?

And cranberries are grown in a unique, almost other-worldly setting called a cranberry bog. According to, “[Cranberries] can grow and survive only under a very special combination of factors. These factors include acid peat soil, an adequate fresh water supply, and a growing season that extends from April to November. Cranberries grow on low-lying vines in beds layered with sand, peat, gravel and clay. These beds are commonly known as bogs or marshes and were originally created by glacial deposits. Commercial bogs use a system of wetlands, uplands, ditches, flumes, ponds and other water bodies that provide a natural habitat for a variety of plant and animal life.”

This gorgeous slideshow of cranberry production in Washington state will make you appreciate these little gems even more. And here’s a holiday-inspired recipe to get your creative cranberry juices flowing!

Day-after Thanksgiving Turkey Sandwiches


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Who Let the Cow In?

Ah, geez …

Wait, before I go on, let me throw out this disclaimer:

If you’re allergic to cuteness (or cows), cut your losses and get outta here while you still can.

Still there?

I knew you’d risk it.

You will be duly rewarded with smiles …

The video below chronicles what happened when Pennsylvania farm mom Billie Jo Decker discovered an unexpected house guest hanging out with her 5-year-old daughter, Breanna. Be sure to keep watching to the halfway point and beyond if you can stand the sweetness:

In a YouTube update a couple of months ago, Billie Jo admitted that Izzy the Cow has secured a pretty solid place in the family. “Izzy has turned into quite the spoiled cow. She is literally like dealing with a 2-year-old child throwing tantrums,” she said. “If she is not in the mood to share my company, well, let’s just say she MOOOOOOVES it out of the way. She is a very jealous cow and doesn’t like to share Mom’s attention.”

Izzy is a bit big for house visits now (she makes an appearance in this video). Hmmm … maybe Breanna needs a mini Jersey?


You went wild over the Spirograph post a couple of months ago,

Image Kannanshanmugam,shanmugamstudio,Kollam via Wikimedia Commons

enjoying a spark of inspiration from memory lane.

So, I just had to take a moment to share this with you too …

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Egg Science

Do you know how a hen’s egg is made … exactly?


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