Inspiring you to live an all natural & non-toxic lifestyle.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

18 Things I Learned in 2018

2018, wow what a year. As cheesy as it may sound its true. I don't know about you guys but this year was one of the years when I saw some of my highest highs one day and the very next day some of my lowest lows. This year I've learned a lot about myself and life in general and in today's blog post, I lay it all out! Here's to learning from our past and moving into the New Year with a bang. 2019 here we come! 

1. What I want to do with my life. Which is to work from home full time as a freelance writer while taking care of my stepson, dog (yes I listed my dog here okay haha) and in the future more babies of course! #workathomemom life is the goal for 2019! 
2. How to save a large amount of money in only a few months (for our house down payment)! Blog post coming soon.

3. How to buy a house! Honestly so cool and I'm seriously so grateful! 
4. That a plate of avocados and white rice is seriously underrated. 
5. I learned that our problems will follow us around until we deal with the root cause! If you're unhappy about something to change it if you can or talk to someone, the sooner the better. 
6. I have a strange obsession with having pet chickens. I could watch videos of chickens on Facebook all day! When adopting our puppy we even made sure to get a dog that will do well around our future chickens. 
Like why are you so cute?! 

7. Family is everything. This year I had so many rough moments in my life back to back and I honestly wouldn't have been able to get through it all without the help of mine and my boyfriend's parents and family. I love you guys! 
8. There are way too many pit bulls and animals in general in the shelter. I saw the importance of "adopt don't shop". 
Our Australian Cattle Dog Marley who we adopted this year! 

9. I won't jeopardize my health for female beauty products. In 2017 I did a lot of research on the toxic ingredients in many female makeup products, lotions, body washes, perfumes etc. It honestly feels like 95% of products on the market are made with toxic ingredients. (learn more about that here) This year I realized I really rather miss out on the latest beauty fad then face the possible health complications that come along with it. 

10. I really love seeing natural brands in stores. Since I was used to just missing out when I do see a natural brand in the store I love it! I also struggle not buying their entire line of products off the shelf right then. Like Pacifica at Target? Danger aisle for me! 
11. What you think manifests itself into your life. If all you think about are your fears they will become your life. If you think about the positives, your dreams and your goals they will become your life! 
12. Going vegan was the answer for me. I had been trying to lose weight my entire life. Veganism and a whole food plant based diet works for me! I have lost 40LBS so far this year. Read my full vegan story here.

13. That I'm pretty cute with short hair if I do say so myself! At the end of the year, my hair was so damaged I decided it would just be easier to cut it off and start again. I cut my hair into a pixie planning to just grow it right back. Then once I saw my short hair there was no going back! At least not for a while. It's so much easier too! 

14. There is a British version of that 70's show called "Day's Like These". It aired a year after that 70's show and it's more cringe-worthy than the British version of the Office and there's also a show called " That 80's show." Why? Let's face it, there will never be another Steven Hyde. 
15. There's never a perfect moment to make a change in your life. All you can do is prepare the best you can then just take that leap of faith. 

16. I'm not a great public speaker and that's okay. I gave a huge presentation at work this year in front of several managers and district managers as well. I was nervous but on my feedback forms, a lot of them said that I came well prepared and they liked my content! That's all that I can really hope for. Being able to get over a fear like that makes having to speak in public that less intimidating the next time around. 
17. Mental health is more important than keeping your job. I won't go into the details but I will never forget that money doesn't mean anything if you are too depressed, anxious or even suicidal to benefit from it. Please if you need anyone to talk to reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
18. I have a lot to offer. Being in a professional development program at work and starting my freelance writing journey this year has shown me all the skills that I have and how not only to sell myself but to use my skills to my advantage when paving my way through this thing called life. 

Those are the 18 things I learned in 2018! What were some pivotal moments in your life this year? What were some of the lessons you learned? Comment down below! 

XOXO, The Natural Babe 


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Sunday, December 23, 2018

An Interview with My Grandmother | Natural Living and Motherhood in the '60s and '70s

Hi everyone! I've always been fascinated with generations before me and learning how everyday life may have differed from my own. In today's blog post, I interviewed my grandmother, Sandra D., and asked her several questions about her life growing up, living naturally and being a mom. Her answers were quite beautiful and I really enjoyed getting to know my sweet Granny better. Keep reading to find out all about it! 

This post is in loving memory of all the wonderful women and grandmother's we didn't get a chance to interview. We love and miss you every day: Edna S., Sandra C., and Betty J.  

Edna S. , My Aunt Carol on the left, and my Dad on the right
Sandra C.
Betty J. 

*The things written in green are my initial reactions! 

Getting to Know You: 

I first began my interview with a few general questions so we can all get to know my grandmother more. She was born in the late 30s, married in the late 50s, and raised her children throughout the 60s and 70s. Here's what I asked her: 
  • When did you get married (and how old were you)? 
  • How many kids do you have? 

My Grandmother's Response

"I met Jack [my husband] thru a very dear friend. I had actually met his parents first when my friend Judy and I went to visit them one day. Jack was home after being discharged from the navy and Judy introduced me to him at the skating rink, he was very impressive on roller skates."
My Grandparents on their wedding day

"We began dating, fell in love, and married 3 months later. Jack was headed off to college and we didn't want to be separated.[This was on] 8/3/1957."
My Grandparents on their wedding day

Awe this is literally a scene out of a romcom!

"I think today's young people are so wise not to hasten marriage. I was 17- almost a month away from my 18th birthday when we "tied the knot". It was not unusual for girls to marry young back-in-the-day. There was not much opportunity for girls to get a job. I had planned to go to nursing school before I met Jack, that and secretary or teacher was what was available." 

Wow, even though their love story is sweet, I appreciate my grandma for being so honest about the challenges that she faced as a woman in the '50s and those that come along with marrying young. 

"I was basically a stay-at-home mom, with 4 children: Darleen, Donald, Diane (that's my momma!), and Debra, until Grandpa's company went out on strike in 1971. He stayed home and I went to work as a waitress- a job I continued to do for many years." 

Growing Up

Then, I was curious to see what my grandmothers experience was like as a young child growing up. These are some of the questions I asked her: 
  •  What was it like being a child in your generation? 
  •  What do you remember most about your mother? 
  • What did your family do for fun when you were a kid?

My Grandmother's Response: 

"My Mom was a great cook. We always had a garden and chickens when I was growing up and my parents both hunted. We sometimes had pigs.
On the right side is my Grandma as a young girl
"After we moved from Michigan- after the end of the war- back to Vermont- we lived just a few miles from my Fish grandparents and holidays were always spent with them and all of my mother's family- my Aunts, Uncles, & cousins. Food was a big deal! My grandmother made homemade donuts nearly every morning. Lucky Grandpa!!"
My Great Grandma Evelyn and My Great Grandpa Frank

I love how everything was made from scratch. Made with love and less sodium ;) 

Being a Mom 

The bread and butter! I was dying to get a glimpse into my grandmothers day as a mom in the '60s and '70s. Here are the questions I asked her, let's see what she says below.
  • Were you a stay at home mom or working mom? 
  •  Did you have home births or hospital births? 
  • What were things your doctor/midwife told you to avoid during pregnancy? What are some things that your doctor/midwife told you to do for a healthy pregnancy? 
  • What was a typical day like for you when you had young kids at home? 
  • How would you treat the flu, chicken pox, and measles back then? 
  • What were some staples in your medicine cabinet/first aid kit? 
  • Did children get vaccinations at that time, how many? If not, were things like seasonal allergies, SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), or autism very prevalent? 

My Grandmother's Response:

"All of our children were born in the hospital." My grandma laughs, "Drs. back then did not offer pre-natal or pregnancy advice. A woman had her female family members to advise her. Remember, back then people did not move far away from home. I did quickly learn one lesson, don't eat everything in sight 'cause it is difficult to lose it after the birth of the baby, I gained 50LBS when pregnant [with] Darleen- didn't do that again!!"
Left: My mom, Middle My uncle Donald, My aunt Darleen
What? Doctor's didn't give any prenatal advice? I could definitely see that being a blessing and a curse. A blessing, because today it seems that there is almost too much advice out there its hard to even know where to start! A curse because women had to find out on their own, things like instead of eating for two people it's more like eating for a person and a half. 

"Grandpa often had 2 jobs when the kids were little, and for me taking care of 3 little kids was a full-time job. We always had a garden and if I was going to cook or can I harvested early in the day. I canned all of our produce. I always cooked everything from scratch, and still do, so preparing meals was a time consumer."
My Aunt Debra on the Left doing my moms (Diane) hair on the right

"When we bought the old farmhouse in Ballston Lake,[New York], which we did when Darleen was 5 because we wanted the kids to go to a good school, it was like coming home. We had great neighbors. We had a hill on our property and when the kids were coming into the pre-teen years Grandpa built a ski tow and a lot of neighborhood kids came and enjoyed the fun. As older kids, they had a snowmobile to run around on."
The old farmhouse, now, thanks google maps!
"I don't remember anyone having the flu- our lives were not as toxic as today. The kids got [sick with] chickenpox, mumps & measles. I think the only shots they got was DPT(diphtheria), tetanus,& whooping cough. Aspirin, cough syrup & band-aids were our go tos."

"I do not ever recall hearing of a child dying of SIDS, or any autistic children either. However I will say that what today is termed, ADHD was called "full of energy", Donald was "full of energy."

The fact that SIDs was almost nonexistent and the more calm reaction towards curable diseases like chicken pox and measles was definitely the most interesting thing to learn to me. 

Food & Gardening

Growing up, every holiday my mom and I would pull out the old family recipe book. It always made me wonder what it was like gardening and preparing food back then, here are some questions I had been dying to ask my grandma. 
  •  What was food and preparing meals like when you were a child and did that change much when it was time for you to be a mom? 
  • Did you garden and harvest your own food? 
  • Did you have any farm animals? 
  • What were a few plants that you grew and used for medicinal purposes? 
  • Dyou remember any of your go-to recipes as a mom? 
  • How did you get things like milk and meat? 

My Grandmother's Response: 

"Grandpa and I often had chickens- Donald used to sell them to the neighbors when he took his turn to care for them. We did pigs just once when we lived in Mallets Bay, Vt. Grandpa changed jobs- and we were moving."

If you know me, you guys know I am obsessed with chickens! Can't wait to get our own soon.

"I can not say I grew medicinal plants. We had really good soil, and always had a compost pile to enrich it, so I think the vegs. we grew were our daily meds. A full garden for us was carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, beets- tried celery just once."

"I canned or froze everything. Milk & meat came from our local store. We usually bought a side of beef in the fall from the local butcher and loaded the freezer."

"One of my favorite meals was New England Boiled Dinner- consisting of ham, potatoes, cabbage, & carrots."

"The first year we moved to the farmhouse in Ballston Lake 10/31/63, we had an old wood & kerosene cook stove in the kitchen. We invited my family & grandpa's parents to join us for Thanksgiving. We had a whole fresh ham in the freezer. I cooked the ham for 3 days by the heat of the wood stove for our meal. That pork was the most tender meat I think I've ever had. What fun we had, 4 women in the kitchen, cooking!"
Side view of the farmhouse the beige building on the left used to be my grandpa's garage.

I remember my mom telling me stories about this farmhouse, at the time my grandparents only paid around $3-5k for the home, it didn't have any indoor plumbing, had well water and they repaired almost everything themselves. Talk about dedication and hard work! 


 I wanted to know what inspired and influenced my grandma. What helped shape her as a person? Read below! 
  • Who is your favorite author or what is your favorite book? 
  • When and why did you get into yoga? 
  • What are your favorite natural/ eco-friendly hobbies? 

My Grandma's Response: 

"I have a Kindle so I never run out of books to read and Grandpa and I do a lot of that these days. But my very favorite book is " The Four Agreements", by Don Miguel Ruiz."

"I did yoga with a lady on the PBS station (although then it was called UHF) and the kids used to join me... that was back in the '70s. Your Mom says that's where she started yoga, too. When I retired from my sewing business in Beaufort, SC I started going to the local gym run by the county. In 1998 the then [step aerobics] instructor asked if we wanted to do yoga, a number of us said yes....then [I] started writing my own classes--bringing me to today- leading yoga classes for seniors like myself at the local Karate DoJo."

"When we were young Grandpa and I used to do a lot of backpacking. Funny story. Your Grandad is the type that goes nowhere unprepared. We used to call his backpack his little red wagon. This one late Sept. weekend we went backpacking with friends in the Adirondack Mt. in NY to a place called Fishbrook. So pretty! Overnight, it turned very cold and the wind coming off the lake was freezing. We all wore Grandpa's extra socks on our hands and his extra shirts on our heads. We ate a hasty breakfast and packed up and left. When we got into the woods to hike home the trees cut the wind so we gave Jack back his clothes."
My Grandpa in his Flight Suite on the Left and My Grandma on her Graduation Day on the Right

I love this! I love that my grandparents used to backpack together. I love hiking and I bet the campgrounds and national parks were even more breathtaking (before the increase in global warming and pollution). Go green, to preserve our beautiful natural resources. 

Deeper Questions

Lastly, I couldn't do this interview without going deeper and learning more about my grandma. Here are some of life's biggest questions that I asked her. Let's see below what she had to say.
  •  What are you most proud of in life? 
  •  What is your philosophy on life? 
  •  If you could change one thing about modern society what would it be? 

My Grandma's Response: 

"I would say that I am most proud that Jack and I are still together- life is never perfect and we came close to separating a time or two. Add to that the pride I feel when I think of my children and how they have raised our grandchildren. I believe our union has produced people that are a genuine asset to their communities, and that makes me very proud."
My beautiful Granny and I in our matching Tie-Dye t-shirts, and yes we did DIY them together. This was a few years ago right after I had graduated high school.

"I would say my simple philosophy is, "live and let live". I think today some people try to run things their way and try to take everyone else with them. We are all unique and just as God meant us to be. He did not use a cookie cutter."
Amen Granny, I couldn't have said it any better. 

I encourage you all to do something similar to this, with your own grandparents and even your own parents if you can. We have so much to learn from previous generations and the past. I think hearing stories like these can help keep some of those traditions alive. Of course, we all can't always can all our own food anymore and modern medicine has progressed quite a bit. However, learning how to garden our own food, live off the land and enjoy the present moment are things I think we can all benefit from. What was your favorite part of this interview? I just loved being able to get a glimpse into my Grandma's life and heart. Be sure to let me know down below your favorite part of this interview and if you do this with your own grandparents be sure to tag me on social media! I would love to see their responses. 

The Natural Babe 

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Twitter : @samshannonhouse
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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

I Went Vegan! | Why I went Vegan and How it Changed my Life | Plant Based Health

Yep! You read that right, I went vegan! I've been vegan for one year now and I wanted to write this article to explain what lead up to me going vegan, what happened right after I went vegan and what's in store for my health journey next! Stick around to read all about it!


      I remember as a kid there were a few things in my life that I just knew I was going to do, it was really only about a matter of time. I knew that I wanted to help those in need, I knew that I wanted to travel the world, and I knew that one day I wanted to go vegan and be the healthiest I had ever been. 

      So fast forward to the last few years and I found myself watching vegan YouTubers with such awe and curiosity. I would see YouTubers drinking green juice every morning and if they were raw vegan their breakfast would include at least 30 bananas...literally. I would think to myself that I could never do that and that I could probably give up meat but... give up dairy, are you crazy?!

     The idea of going vegan always came back up but would often get pushed to the back burner. I work in an office setting where I sit for 8 hours a day and I hadn't been proactively taking care of my health. I had reached a point in my life where I had gained about 60-80 Ibs (mind you I already wasn't at a healthy weight). I was always tired, uncomfortable with myself and feeling lost. I decided I needed a change and that all the fad diets I had tried in my teenage years didn't give me long lasting results.

     So, I just went for it! A few weeks before Christmas time (I know not the most ideal time to start a diet), I was thinking about veganism almost daily. One of those days, I woke up and said today is going to be my last day eating meat, dairy and any other animal products (lard, gelatin, eggs, etc.). I've been vegan ever since.

     Now have I been that green juice, banana eating vegan every day? Honestly, no not even close. In the beginning, the weight fell off easily and I found myself losing about a pound a week from just cutting out meat and dairy! I've lost about 40 Ibs so far and I've kept it off! Just typing this out, I honestly am so proud of myself. For years I have struggled with my weight, my self-image, and even an eating disorder as a teenager. To be able to write that I have lost 40 Ibs so far in a healthy and truly attainable way is one of the best experiences I have ever had. 
My one-year weight loss transformation! 40ibs down and feeling great! :) 
      Like most vegans though, a few months in I had reached a point in my journey where I found myself eating just as much junk food and oil as before to fill any non-vegan cravings I was still facing. I wasn't gaining the weight back (score) but I also was still feeling pretty tired and low energy. I had found that I was becoming a "junk food vegan". Which don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this and I still will eat junk food occasionally. But, if I was going vegan for my health I really had to get back on the bandwagon.  

    I really needed to focus on healing my body from the inside out. I've started either walking my dog almost daily( for those of you that know me this was prior to me breaking my ankle lol), doing at home workouts or yoga. I also started gravitating back towards whole plant-based foods. I still would like to lose another 40 Ibs over the next year or two to ensure that I am in a healthy weight range for my height. I know that with being vegan and focusing on nourishing foods and moving my body, it is a totally doable goal and can give me long-lasting results. 

    So with all this being said did going vegan turn me into this perfect picture of health overnight? No, does anything ever? However, going vegan did kick start my weight loss journey, helps me improve my negative self-image, reduces my toxin exposure, and is not only good for me but it's also good for the planet and the animals. Going vegan has opened my mind to a whole new world of eating and living. It has given me increased creativity in what I am eating, abundant possibilities for my health and a cruelty-free way of life. 

     Would you ever go vegan? If you're interested in learning more about this lifestyle I have linked a few tedtalks, documentaries, and YouTube videos as additional resources below: 

Examples of What a Vegan Eats:

Credit: Rawvana 

Credit: Shine with Plants
Health Benefits of Veganism

Credit: TEDx for both videos

Harsh Realities of the Meat Industry:
Credit: Earthlings

XOXO, The Natural Babe 

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