NakedLiving.me

Trying to live a naked life

DIY Projects [part 1]

Yesterday I tackled as few DIY projects as something new to do. My choice was do make a few grooming products that should prove to be cheaper in the long run than buying their equivalent.

I actually started this last week by making my own deodorant and continued the trend by putting together a body scrub and a shave oil.

Shave Oil
The site I used for the recipe called it a shave cream, but when using it I thought of it more as a shave oil. Whatever the name, the results were nice. I got a very close shave without a lot of mess. No nicks or cuts and my skin was not irritated.

Shave Cream/Oil Recipe

Body Scrub
I am not a soap or body scrub person. I have actually spent the better part of two years only using soap minimally. Typically I just exfoliate with a loofah in the shower. My skin has been better since I started the practice including during the dry winter months. I rarely had issues with dryness. But I have found that sometimes an extra level of scrubbing is needed so I put together this body scrub from the same site as the Shave Oil. It was simple to make, smells great, works very well. This will not be an everyday item for me, but will certainly be a nice treat perhaps once a week or on those days I need something extra.

Body Scrub Recipe

Deodorant
This one was interesting to put together and use. This is a deodorant, not an antiperspirant so sweating is still involved, but I feel that is healthier. When I put this together in a small batch I did not have any essential oils to add any sort of fragrance so it just seems to neutralize my natural smell. There may be a hit of coconut as coconut oil is one of the ingredients, but I do not think it is very strong. I have had not comments or complaints since I started using this. Hopefully that is because it is working and not friends and family just being nice.

Deodorant Recipe

There are other items I am going to be making over the next few weeks. I am looking at putting together my own clothes soap, furniture polish, bar soap, and other items that can easily replace the expensive store-bought items.

Slow Start

For the past few weeks I have been taking a much slower and more deliberate approach to waking up in the mornings and it has proven to be a nice change. I was having trouble for months waking up early; previously in my life I had been an early riser but stress and other stimuli were changing that habit and not for the better. I was staying in bed later and later but not feeling any more rested when I did finally rouse myself.

I cannot pinpoint when I changed; I simply know that I am waking earlier, usually feeling much more rested, and just taking a bit of time in the morning to fire up. I am usually rising without my alarm, but I have added a pre-alarm, a recurring task that will chime once, but not blare at my like a traditional alarm clock. That seems to be all I need to start the wakeup process. Somedays I get up as soon as I hear that chime. Other days I may wait another few minutes, but rarely do I stay in bed until my regular alarm goes off.

From there it is a matter of slow and methodical actions: visit bathroom if needed, get a tall glass of cool water – a very important step I have found – , turn on one light and just stop for a few moments while I drink the water. The water helps to jump start the metabolism, and the single light is not enough to cause me to wince, but simply get the tiredness out of my system. Many days this is not really necessary if I open the blinds and let the morning light come in, but today is dark so I included it.

After my water is finished, I prep my morning coffee. This is another area where I am continuing to make changes as I want to begin to eliminate caffeine from my diet, but that is still a work in progress  so I will go over my process right now. Recently my coffee process is to freshly grind the beans; fill my kettle; add the beans to the press; boil the water; pour and wait. I make enough coffee for one large mug. The brew is pretty strong, but very smooth. No sugar, no cream, simply coffee.

Sip and enjoy.

For a while that is all I will do. And that seems to be the key. I am adding breaks into my beginning routine. Not rushing about to get ready, not jumping straight into the day, but savoring the morning and the peace.

I move on to breakfast after a few minutes keeping it consistent and simple and high in protein. A few eggs and a little sausage plus some berries if I have them or some nuts. Cook slowly, eat slowly, keep the distractions to a minimum. I may read for pleasure or I may just sit there. (Today I am writing this which I should not be doing, but I wanted to get this down while fresh.) Once done, clean up the dishes I used; a very quick process since by keeping it simple I only have one pan to clean and two utensils.

From there I am pretty much ready to start my day. A little light exercise in the form of a walk or some squats. A quick cold shower. Take care of anything I need to do before I need to leave the house. (A new habit is to try to be sure the house is always neat enough to entertain guests at any time. I am still working on this one but gettings closer.) That is about all.

A slow, methodical routine to ease into the day rather than rushing around and introducing unwanted stress before the day even truly begins.

Privacy in the Suburbs

I live in a fairly densely packed suburban neighborhood made up of town homes and garden homes. I can stand at the side of my house, stretch out my arms and reach from my house to the privacy fence that separates me from my neighbors. In looking at other similar newer neighborhoods in my community, this is an abundance of space, but it is still too little for my liking.

I live in a garden home that has a privacy fence on three sides. Unfortunately the privacy part of that is pretty limited. It is better than nothing at all, but it is fairly easy to see what is going on in the neighbor’s yard without trying. My home is also located in a state with very low tolerance for nudity, although the specifics of the nudity laws are better than I would have thought. Still, there is a greater chance of a general citizen in this area to phone the police rather than ignore an activity the does not cause them harm in any way.

For the past few weeks I have been working to create a much more private environment for myself and am continuing to do so. The biggest change I have made so far was to augment the privacy fence with an extra layer of fencing. I was able to find a reed fencing that I can place over the surface of the privacy that practically eliminates the visibility into my yard and theirs while still allowing airflow.

I am still working on completing this project, but it has allowed me to begin to enjoy a yard that has been limited in usefulness for most of the time I have lived here. I am still respectful and mindful of my neighbors in an attempt not to offend anyone, but I is a great feeling to be able to sit outside and enjoy a morning cup of coffee in peace.

My goal is to add additional planting and landscaping to turn this into much more of a private oasis, truly cut off from the eyes of the world around me.

Food Failures and Successes

One of the biggest challenges I face is with my eating habits. I have developed some bad habits over the years and they work their way back into my life on occasion. This is one of the first problems I am working on changing and I am going to use the core concepts of naked living to do so.

I think simplicity will be the key to my success in this. Creating a way of eating for myself that is enjoyable, sustainable, and simple will hopefully reduce or eliminate the failures I have encountered in the past.

For the past few months I have been trying to eat a Paleo inspired diet, and on average I have done pretty well, but there are still times when I get it wrong. Additionally the cost and rarity of some of the key ingredients for a lot of the recipes I find, make this a diet that is not really in keeping with some of the core values I want to stick with.

I will give you an example: Coconut Flour. I can get this at my local grocery store. The cost is pretty high so I use it sparingly. But I live in the southeastern US and I do not have coconut trees nearby, so this is not really an ingredient a paleolithic hunter-gatherer would have had access to in my area.

Now I know that the Paleo diet is not really after a true paleolithic diet otherwise I would be eating quite a few more insects and much less bacon. Yet, I do want to be a little more honest with what I eat. To this end I am going to focus more on locally produced items; fruits, vegetables, livestock, and even (gasp) grains.

At first glance this may not seem simple. I agree. But I think over time it will become simple. It will break down like this; if I do not grow it or buy it locally – meaning it is produced relatively near by –  then I will not eat it.

For certain this will not be a quick change as I do not have a garden ready and I am going to have to learn more about what is on and what is off that list, but I already have a pretty good idea of what would fall into the approved category so I will start there. Local resources are going to need to come into play as well. There are three farmers markets that I know of, one is relatively close at hand, the other two are not. Local co-op food boxes are available, which I have done in the past, and I may need to look into that again.

This challenge at least gives me something to focus on for a while, so we shall see how it goes.

Cold Showers

Cold showers are pretty nice once you get used to them, especially on the warmer days. Add in air drying to reduce your temperature a bit and you can stay cool for quite some time. I have started this practice this past week as part of an experiment and so far I am enjoying some of the side benefits.

The main reason for this change is to start winding down on energy use and consumption. Power and water being two areas where I can make some simple changes that will hopefully have an impact overall. I am taking quick, cold showers and turning off the water between phases; get wet, water off, scrub, water on to rinse. Max time with water on… maybe two minutes. I will need to start timing so I can get an idea on water consumption as well since I should be able to gauge water flow per minute.

Air drying means fewer towels to wash later and as I said, it really reduces your temperature so you stay cool longer which is important as I have been adjusting my AC to not turn on until the temperature is much warmer than where I had been running it. Previously I had been keeping it set between 78 and 81 degrees. I currently have it set to 84 and there is a noticeable difference in those few degrees, but is also means I am running it much less throughout the day, and if I can stand it I may let it get even warmer.

Of course the easiest way to stay cool while the house is warmer is to remove one’s clothes. Since this experiment started, if I am at home, I am nude. This is not really a big change for me, just a step up so that essentially I am a full-time home nudist where as before, it was just most of the time.

Airflow and the afternoon sun seems the be the biggest two issues when keeping my house cool. There is not a good way for me to keep air flowing through the house. The position of the house and layout of the neighborhood are the problem. There is a strong breeze that can run through the neighborhood at times, so much so that it destroyed a shade structure I had set up, but it runs perpendicular to my windows, so across the front and back, but not through.

I also have practically no shade at the back of my house to limit the afternoon sunlight. I have plans to put up a pergola where I can introduce some plantings to help, but that may not be something I can tackle until later this summer or in the fall due to budget constraints.

Additionally the layout within the house prevents airflow as well and while I can move some items around, the main culprit is my kitchen counter that pretty well cuts off air currents.

But I do alright otherwise. The only time is really becomes frustrating is when the humidity is very high so I am going to have to look at ways of dealing with that, especially as warmer and more humid months are on their way.

A naked life

I am trying to live a naked life.

What does that mean? Well, when I address my naked life, I am going to be looking at it from a few core principles: self-sufficiency, low-impact living, minimalism, environmental responsibility, frugality, responsible consumerism, and naturism. All of these concepts are centered around creating a life that is a step or two away from current “Western” living.

Why live this way? In short the answer is because I can. I am single and my responsibilities are limited. For me this is a non-scientific experiment on how I can live my life in a way that I feel good about.

To be blunt, I am increasingly tired of the pace of life today. Everything is rushed and we feel obligated to receive instant satisfaction. I am no exception to this; I like being able to switch over to Netflix and watch a movie or TV show instantly, or pull up a music service and listen to just about anything I want at any time.

But at what cost? I, for one, am becoming increasingly anti-social. I have few friends and there are few activities I participate in. Life for the past several years has been work at a job I get no satisfaction from, go home to an empty house, entertain myself with the same content over and over,  sleep poorly, and then start over again. This lifestyle has messed me up.

So I have made some changes and am continuing to make changes and I want to document those to see what works and what does not.

I know that some changes will fail, especially if I try to change too many things at once. I already had my first failure the other day when I re-subscribed to Netflix. So there will be those bad days and good days. I hope the good days outnumber the bad, and if nothing else, at least I am trying.