Making The Switch to All Natural Deodorant

So while we are on a real taboo subject kick this week (we already talked about period panties, I mean come on) I thought it would be a great idea to share another endeavor I have started in an effort to live more organically. When I first heard about people switching to natural deodorant, I must admit I was a little skeptical. That Portlandia skit – where they sell natural deodorant that you have to use twenty coats of and it still doesn’t work – kept cropping up into my brain. That was until I heard the rave reviews about Schmidt’s all natural deodorant from tons of noteworthy sources and celebrities including InStyle magazine and Alicia Silverstone (who by the way has an amazing vegan inspired website called The Kind Life).

(Gif via)

So let’s get real for a second, why is everyone so opposed to the idea of natural deodorant? I am not sure about others, but as someone who sweats a fair amount (whether that is caused by anxiety or heat I am not sure) I have always been concerned that a) it won’t work and I will be left with embarrassing sweat stains on my shirt in a meeting or b) I will smell bad. Either way I decided to take the scary plunge and test out all natural deodorant for a two week period and see what happened. For frame of reference, I have tried every clinical strength deodorant/anti-antiperspirant under the sun to no avail. I even considered a minor surgical procedure before my wedding day, but didn’t in the end because I was told the sweat would form in other places like the backs of my knees. For years I have just been living with the realization that I cannot wear white button downs or baby tees without staining them or sweating through them. Full disclosure? The reason I have SO MANY white muscle tees is because they started off as regular tees that I got sweat stains on. Yeah, gross I know.

So what happened when I used Schmidt’s? I. Stopped. Sweating. Like, I essentially just don’t anymore. The reason is because Schmidt’s doesn’t act the way other deodorants do – by clogging your pores to stop the release of sweat. For many people who sweat a lot, blocking your sweat glands just means a build up and then Niagara Falls under your pits a few hours later. Schmidt’s on the other hand, works to absorb sweat when it comes out. It has arrowroot powder that is wonderfully scented (I have both the lavender and sage and cedarwood and juniper scents) that work fast to keep you dry and smelling incredible.

Oh and if that weren’t enough incentive to switch, remember that Schmidt’s is also cruelty free (vegan) and runs an epic recycling incentive program for its glass container deodorants. Plus if you are hypoallergenic or just sensitive to scents, they do offer fragrance free options.

So would you ever consider the change to a natural deodorant? If you are ready to take on the challenge I would suggest reading this underarm detox guide and be 100% sure to use this offer code: “SOMETHINGSWELL”for 15% off of all purchases from the Schmidt’s website. I cannot urge everyone to try it out enough! 🙂

*This post was sponsored by Schmidt’s. All opinions are, and will always be, my own. Thank you for supporting the content that keeps Something Swell going.*

Recycled Bottle Cap Tray

All of you know that when it comes to recycling, I am about as big of an advocate as you can be. I refuse to throw anything away that could have potential use (this can be bad in terms of staying organized…or worse in terms of food expiration dates…) but it also comes in super handy for D.I.Y. materials. I have been forcing A to save all of his beer bottle caps for the last two years and I must say that it was super handy for this new project I concocted! I love decorating my bar cart and thinking of fancy new ways to display our booze collection – it is not that we are super big drinkers or anything, it is more of a “I feel like a fancy female Don Draper” sort of thing. That is why I finally decided to craft a kind of “brew themed” tray to display our liquor collection with this project).
It was really easy to make and I think it looks pretty damn spiffy if I do say so myself! Here is how you can make your own recycled bottle cap tray!
What You’ll Need:
A Wooden or Acrylic Tray (I got mine from Goodwill for $2)
Two Colors of Paint
Acrylic Glaze (I already had some of this lying around)
Sandpaper (if you’re using a wooden tray that you would like to paint)

Step 1 (only applicable if you are using a wooden tray):
Sand down your wooden tray with sandpaper until the finish has come off and it is smooth and clean enough to be prepped for painting. Be sure to WIPE OFF the tray once you are done sanding it so you don’t get chunks of wood dust in your paint coats. Also make sure that you do two coats of paint and seal it with some sort of varnish (letting each coat properly dry in between).

Step 2:
Take your bottle caps and count how many you will need for the tray (what spacing you want, how many caps can fit lengthwise, widthwise etc.) then lay them flat on newspaper. Be sure to check each bottle cap for imperfections – sometimes A opens his beers like a beast and the tops get dented. Now you are ready to paint the caps. I used black acrylic paint and gold spray paint to see if one had a better outcome than the other but they both worked great.

Step 3:
Now we get to the fun part! Once both your caps and your dry are completely dry to the touch, lay your bottle caps out in the pattern that you would like, I just did alternating colors but you could get creative and do chevrons or spirals or something. Once you have everything set up, read the instructions on your varnish box to ensure that you mix everything correctly for the epoxy. Be sure to pour very slowly and evenly because if you put too much on one side of the tray it will create pressure and shift the bottle caps out of place (also creating air bubbles). Let the epoxy dry as per the box’s instructions, and that is it!!!! You now have a breathtaking tray for all of your boozy, brewy needs 🙂
Have you ever done a bottlecap recycling project?

Genuinely Cool Stuff 5.3.16

Hello everyone! I truly hope that your week has been lovely so far and that you are enjoying some sunshine and margaritas on this fine taco Tuesday. This week is going to be a really great week for A and I since our seven year dating anniversary is tomorrow so we both decided to take the day off of work! It might seem silly to celebrate a dating anniversary and a wedding anniversary, but I feel so lame saying “we’ve been together for two years” when we celebrate marriage, versus getting to say we have been together seven years when we talk about dating! Also, it is so crazy to think that we have been together this long and it somehow always seems to get even better, no matter how impossible that seems. Tomorrow we are going to have a lovely picnic and then enjoy some daytime brews at Land Grant Brewing and some super yummy fries from their food truck palooza. In the meantime, I pulled together my favorite useful links from across the internet these past two weeks! I hope that you find them useful, I know I am totally obsessed with: a recipe for delicious and healthy on-the-go chocolate breakfast cookies, a guide to how to pick the right antique rug for you and

1. Some really helpful tips for your next move // Jojotastic
2. How cute are these little paper bag succulent planters // Fall For D.I.Y.
3. I’ve been gorging myself on these chocolate breakfast cookies // Running With Spoons
4. How great is this updated clipboard D.I.Y. // Lovely Indeed
5. Obsessed with this bright and colorful Melbourne home // Apartment Therapy
6. How to pick out the right antique rug // Honestly WTF
7. Summertime means some killer classic margs // A Farm Girl Dabbles
8. Love these tips for how to sound more professional in emails // Bustle

Period Panties – Two Gross Words, One Life Changing Product

OK so the title kinda says it all on this one. When shark week pops up/you’re surfing the crimson wave/Mr. T is in town – whatever you like to call it, it is an overarching taboo subject in our culture and the brand Thinx is trying to change that. Because, let’s face it ladies,  as much as we don’t like chatting about riding the cotton pony, it is a part of our daily (…monthly) existence and it is something we don’t chat about openly enough! To be completely honest, when I first heard about the brand Thinx’s product – underwear so absorbent that you don’t have to use pads or tampons – I had visions of trying to wear your wet bikini bottoms home under your jeans after a pool party because you forgot underwear. EWW GRAHS! Right? WRONG.

To say that Thinx is a life changing product might be the understatement of the century. I received one pair of panties to review for this post, but truth be told, after the first time I wore them I immediately went online and bought three more pairs in varying styles/colors. I loved them so much I tossed my tampons into a bonfire then ran around it chanting “My oven may be in cleaning mode, but at least I am comfortable!”. OK I didn’t really do that because it would be wasteful (another benefit to not needing to buy tampons/pads in the future, much more sustainable!)

To get a little TMI here, my period can be a toughie in terms of blood loss as well as it’s perpetual ability to overstay its welcome. I love running, but I have a great deal of difficulty running for over an hour with just one tampon in. This led to my decision to get the sport cut since it protects from chafing and is super breathable. Not only are these my new best friend for working out, they are also perfect for everyday use. I wore mine all day on my heaviest day while I did tons of activities – picnicking, shopping, hiking and getting drunk on a patio – with no issues.

Oh and I haven’t even gotten to the best part! Thinx functions on a business model similar to that of Tom’s or Warby Parker, the “buy one give some sort” of model. For every pair of panties you purchase, they donate funds to AFRIpads, which is a company in Uganda that not only provides women with reusable cloth pads, it also employs them by teaching them how to make them. I had no idea what a terrible issue periods can be for girls in developing countries and was shocked to learn that it actually forces many girls to drop out of school.

So my verdict is out. These panties are the bomb. Not only are you supporting your fellow women in developing countries, you are finally being granted an effective and sustainable solution to your monthly grievances.

Have you tried period panties before?
*This post was sponsored by Thinx. All opinions are, and will always be, my own. Thank you for supporting the content that keeps Something Swell going.*


Tips for House Guests I Learned from Airbnb

(image via)

A and I often enjoy entertaining overnight guests at our house, it sort of comes with the territory of moving to the other side of the country from the people you love. Having house guests can add so much joy to a basic weekend, but it can also add so much stress! That is why I have been routinely picking up tips from all of the Airbnbs A and I have stayed at in the past few years. This is seriously the ultimate place for tips because you realize your necessities and you can note whether or not they are met. Anyways, with wedding season and the fun summer months approaching, I thought that I would share a few of the best tips that we have learned to get you prepared for the swarm of guests that will be arriving on your doorstep in only a few short months.

A LITTLE TREAT OR TWO
You know that special feeling you get when you know that your host leaves a visible treat out for you? Or maybe that is just me and my inner child….point is that it makes you feel welcome and special and it is such a small task to complete. We like to leave Andes mints on our guests pillows and we have been chatting about getting a Keurig for the guest bedroom so if our guests wake up before us they don’t have to wait for us to set up our complicated, fancy coffee maker downstairs. I think that Keurigs are really wasteful normally (so much plastic per cup!), but a coworker recently introduced me to the reusable keurig cups that you fill with your own regular quick brewing grounds. The perfect solution to convenience and sustainability! 

EMBARRASSING NECESSITIES

There is nothing more humiliating than having to ask for a plunger or extra toilet paper while you are staying at someone else’s home. All of the bnbs we have stayed in have made a point to make these kinds of embarrassing items readily available to their guest, to avoid any awkwardness. Keeping a few spare rolls of TP, some air freshener, tampons, and plungers in a visible (but not cluttered) location will save both you and your guest some awkward chats. 
(image via)

DON’T FORGET TO STOCK UP THE KITCHEN

If your friends are anything like ours, they eat A LOT. I always make a conscious note to try and stock up on easy no-cook snacks like fresh fruit, mixed nuts, pretzels and cookies. Having these available keeps your guests from feeling awkward about asking for food if they are hungry in between meals. When we were in Australia our Airbnb came prepped and ready with bread, margarine, fruits and teas (I forgot to take a picture of it!). It was such a nice welcoming I am sure that your guests will appreciate it as well.

EASILY FORGETTABLE NECESSITIES

There is no relief as great as when you arrive at an Airbnb at 2am and realize you forgot your toothpaste, but your host has already left some extra out! Ta-da! Leaving out simple toiletries in your guest bathroom like shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste etc. can be super helpful in dire times. Additionally to that, leave your wifi name and password out for your guests on a chalkboard or framed image like our host did in Nashville. It is a sad reality that it is very important that most of us are connected to the web, even on vacations.

What is your favorite guest room tip?

Happy 1 Year Blogiversary + A Yummy Vegan Chocolate Cake

 I was blown away this past weekend when I looked back through my old editorial calendar and realized that today was my one year blog anniversary (you can see my first highly mediocre post here). To be one hundred percent honest, I never thought that my blog would take the direction that it has and I must say that not only am I proud of the shape my blog has taken, I am also so excited for what is lying in wait on the horizon. If you told me a year ago that I was going to work with Aveda, EOS, and Tiny Prints, among so many others, or that people would be paying me to wear their clothes, I would have said you were nuts. I am not trying to sound like I have made it big (I still have such a longggg way to go), but blogging is starting to become a very integral and exciting part of my daily life as well as my identity. 

I also wanted to take this opportunity to say a special thanks to all of my readers out there because without you this blog would mean a whole lot less to me. Your daily comments and encouraging messages mean the world to me and I am so excited to continue this journey into something amazing, together. I am so very eager to see where Something Swell is a year from today!

OK enough mushy, sentimental talk, let us get to the best part of anniversaries…CAKE. I found this recipe on one of my favorite bloggers websites (Minimalist Baker) and made a few tweaks to it. Instead of powdered sugar in the frosting I actually decided to use coconut sugar, which seemed to give the cake some additional texture. Also I added a few less teaspoons of coconut oil and bumped up the applesauce to fill it in. This is definitely the best chocolate I have ever had, vegan or otherwise and I hope you guys love it! Finally, the best part, you can make the whole thing in ONE. BOWL. Including the frosting! There is nothing I love more than efficiency in the kitchen, and that means not leaving a huge a** pile of dishes in the sink! YAHOO!

D.I.Y. No Sew Headband From an Old T-Shirt

Every night when I go to wash my face, I struggle with keeping my fringe out of water’s way. Typically when I am done exfoliating it looks like I took a shower since my fringe turns into a mop.  That is why when I came up with a solution to my problem this week I was so thrilled! Plus, the best part, it is a great recycling project since you can make it from an old t-shirt. Last week when A and I cleaned out the closets in the name of spring cleaning, we found a ton of old t-shirts that either had holes or stains that would make them unsaleable at Goodwill, but I hate the idea of tossing them out! So this month I have come up with three different D.I.Y.s for what to do with your old ratty t-shirt instead of throwing it away! Today it is a super simple, one minute headband that you can make without sewing!

FYI, the stretchier the t-shirt jersey the better for this one, as it won’t stretch out and it can retain it’s shape better! Enjoy!

Step 1: Figure out how much of the shirt you want to use for your headband, my shirt was a crop top (that I spilled coffee on at the front neck, oops) so I didn’t have a lot to work with. My headband ended up being about 2″ wide which works perfectly. Be sure to cut the hem off first and measure your width up from there (the hem will feel annoying and scratchy if you keep it attached).

Step 2: Now literally all you have to do is stretch out your headband and make one twist, then bring the two side together and voila! You have a super cute twisty headband, ready to wear running or just in the morning while you get ready for the day!

What is your favorite way to recycle old t-shirts?

How to Give Yourself a Proper Manicure at Home + a Giveaway!!! **CLOSED**

Congratulations to our winner Kristin G!

I am not sure if I am alone on this, but typically when I try to give myself a manicure at home, it looks like a four year old did it – I wish I was being hyperbolic when I say that. I am not sure whether it is my impatience in waiting for the polish to dry…OK I am sure…that is 100% why. I am the kind of person who paints their nails and then promptly falls asleep on a sherpa pillow or starts a D.I.Y. project.

The main issue with my childlike level of impatience is that now thanks to the wonders of blogging, my job is very outfacing and small details (like a horrible manicure) are made visible to my readers and can be off putting or distracting from whatever tutorial or instagram post I am putting out there. What I am getting at is that since I am being forced to act like an adult woman and properly manicure my nails every Sunday, it is about time I learned how to do a proper job. After a lot of trial and error, here are the best steps I have found to giving yourself a spa worthy manicure at home! Also be sure to read the entire post for guidelines on how to enter our manicure giveaway!  

Step 1: Remove your old nail polish thoroughly

This is one of the most important steps and a good nail polish remover key! Nasty chemical nail removers dry out your nails and smell horrible. That is why I started using Karma Organic Spa’s Soybean Oil and Lavender Nail Polish Remover, because it removes the polish so effectively and leaves my nails healthy and strong.

Step 2: Give your nails a good soak

If you get dry nails beds and cuticles like I do, this is super important. I use a shallow bowl of warm water with a tablespoon of olive oil, a slice of lemon, a drizzle of honey and a teaspoon of salt. Aim to soak your fingertips for a good eight to ten minutes – I do this while watching Netflix so I don’t get bored.
Step 3: Scrubs your nails and clean underneath
Using a nail brush buff your fingernails clean (this is an easy way to gently remove dead skin. Once your nails are fresh and clean on top, gingerly clean out under your nails with a metal hooked nail file. 
Step 4: Lotion up and massage your hands
This is a step that I always want to skip but it is really important. Your hands are exposed to awful things daily (drying public bathroom soaps, UV rays etc, etc) and they are in need of some TLC. Hydrate with some super thick hand specific lotion and be sure to have your massage last at least five minutes.

Step 5: Give your cuticles some lovin’

My cuticles are perpetually dry and nasty and I recently discovered it is because I trim them which in turn drys them out and creates hangnails. I have made the switch to applying cuticle oil (I love Organic Karma Spa’s Cuticle Oil with Tea Tree Oil) every night to ensure that my cuticles are soft and supple, and then I push them back using the end of my old cuticle trimmer. This gives the visual of my nails looking longer (since they are paper thin and never grow very long) and doesn’t damage my skin. 
Step 6: Shape your nails
Shape your nails however your desire using an emery board. I am always sure to buff only in one direction because it keeps the edges of your nails from fraying. 
Step 7: Polish it up
The most obvious of all the steps. I always try to polish the whole nail in three strokes (left, right then center) to ensure a smooth coat. Be sure to do two coats of polish and one layer of a protective top coat.
Step 8: Don’t try to eat a bag of chips Let your nails dry

This is a very important step that I like to ignore. The way I think of it now is that I wait exactly how long I would wait for them to dry if I were at a salon. If getting my nails professionally done takes 45 minutes, than that is how long it should take to do my nails at home! Wait at least 15-20 minutes for this step and catch up on some TED talks or a great podcast!

I hope that you have found this post helpful, and that it is getting you in the mindset to give yourself a proper manicure. Also (I saved the best for last here) you can give yourself a lovely spa pedicure at home using the amazing organic and nourishing products from Karma Spa Organics if you comment below and follow along on Instagram to enter the giveaway! You will win an entire bottle of their lavender nail polish remover and their tea tree cuticle oil so you can give your nails the love they deserve. Giveaway ends Thursday April 28th at 8pm EST.

Good luck! xx
*This post was sponsored by Karma Organic Spa. All opinions are and will always be my own. Thank you for supporting the content that keeps Something Swell going.*

Upcycling Your Old Candle Containers

If you were to search my house at any given time, I am 99% sure you would find at least six totally burnt out candles that I am still trying to burn to the bottom of the wick. I can’t help it! I am a huge aromatherapy kind of person (I normally have a few candles or incense burning or I have our essential oil diffuser on) and I never want to waste the sweet waxy residue at the bottom of my candles. However, A and I had a scary experience the other day when we burnt one too far down and it heated the glass so much that it exploded in our living room! Thank goodness neither of us were sitting too close to it, but either way I clearly wanted to stop the bad habit and clean out the candle skeleton collection. The only thing about that is that wax can be kind of hard to get out so after a ton of trial and error here is the best way that I discovered to clean out my old candles so I can reuse them for decorative purposes.

Step 1: Fill the candle jars up with boiling water and wait for the wax to soften, then quarter the wax and pull it out in chunks.
Step 2: Once you have taken your wax chunks out, scrub the inside of the candle holder with a toothbrush and some rubbing alcohol. This works insanely well and manages to remove any waxy residue as well as any charcoal reside on the inside of the container.
Step 3: Then once all of your jars are cleaned out you can use them for whatever you would like!  I used the smaller screw-top jar as a travel sized lotion container, but you could also use it as a salt cellar or spice container. As for the bigger containers I windexed them squeaky clean and used them as a new containers for my makeup brushes and q-tips, but you could also use them as planters, pencil cups or even pour in some new wax and make your own candle.
Have you ever upcycled your candle containers?

Genuinely Cool Stuff 4.19.16

Hello all! I hope that everyone is having a great week so far! I seriously could not be happier with the weather the way it is! It was in the upper seventies all weekend and I spent a lot of it either day drinking on patios or picnicking in the park and soaking up some serious sun – truth be told I still look a bit like a lobster today, but I have never been happier to be one! Anyways this week, with Earth Day fast approaching, we are continuing my favorite sustainability themed Genuinely Cool Stuff! This post includes: how to make you own buffalo tempeh tenders, how to order vegan at non-vegan restaurants, and the best eco-friendly homeware companies!

Enjoy! xx

1. These yummy tempeh buffalo tenders // Fork and Beans
2. Such a sweet guide to planting flowers that help save bees // Old Fashioned Susie
3. Some crunchless ab workout ideas // Women’s Health Mag
4. A cool guide on how to order vegan at a non-vegan restaurant // Banana Bloom
5. The best post-workout foods to help you recover // Ambitious Kitchen
6. Loving these vegan, chambray slip ons // Toms Shoes
7. A collection of the best eco-friendly home brands // My Domaine
8. Loving this guide to zero waste grocery shopping // Eco Cult