And the winner is …. ! The Princess!

music to read by :: Princess (Moby)


It has been a long hard battle, but in the end, the princess in me has won. Tho, I do have to emphasise  the princess in me may have won the battle, but she hasn’t won the war.

And yeah. It’s the hair thing.

As you probably know,  I have been attempting to be frugal and environmental in my hair world;  going ‘no poo’, switching to henna, no post wash products, and reduced blow drying.  Since February past, I have saved money, used no chemicals,  and produced no garbage with hair care. It was all good.


The princess in me hated it.

Last week I snapped. Big time.

I popped out of the shower, combed out my chemical- free  (yet tangle-free)  hair, and proceeded to glare at my reflection.

Out came the scissors.

Back came the full on bangs.

Then the princess whispered, ever so softly, “You make your own god-damn butter. You deserved to have shiny, red hair. You deserve to have shiny, red, sleek hair. You even deserve to hop into your car, drive to the big box pharmacy, and buy chemical hair dye. Right. Now. I’ll even let you buy it on sale.”

And I am sad to say I listened. I hopped into my car, I drove to the drug store (one might even say, “raced”), and I bought chemical hair dye.

And it was good.

I’m still ‘no poo’, it’s pretty amazing really. I love not using shampoo and conditioner.

But I’ve compromised on the hair colour. I’ll use the commercial stuff, but only get it on sale. And since it comes with deep conditioner, I will use that every week or so, so as not to totally fry my hair, or throw out a usable product that I’ve paid for.

And, most importantly, I’m not going to beat myself up over it.

As my inner princess said, “I make my own god-damn butter!”


Sometimes, it just takes a bit of perspective

music to read by :: Favourite Things (The Golden Filter)




This first week of September has been pretty stressful here at Casa Vassal. Work and school producing huge stress moments for my husband, and our bank account producing many wee heart attacks for me.

As you know, choosing to be a single income family, in this day and age, creates many challenges plus introduces moments of “not fitting in” and feelings of lesserness (hey! look at that word I just made up! royalties for me!)

My frugalness, born out of necessity, has become a comfortable way of life now, and I can’t imagine being as wasteful as we once were when we were a two income no kid entity. And even before the high tech, high income lifestyle, I was a wasteful – but creative – art student.

Yesterday, I hit a bit of a low in the woe-is-me-i-can’t-afford-what-i-want pouts, forgetting that what I want and what I need are two very different things. Also forgetting that what I want is often fleeting, and that I am – and always have been – happier with things I have either created or repurposed.

Must be the artist in me.

So this is my reminder post. Below are a few of my favourite things around the house, items found or given to me, some repurposed. All are great representations of me and who I really am.

And I really need to remember this when I am bummed out by something as uncreative as money. (warning: photo heavy)

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The devil is in the haircut, I guess

music to read by :: Devil’s Haircut (Beck)

I seem to be at the point, with my hair, where I just stand in front of  the mirror and sob. Only, these days, the sobbing is longer and louder as I am attempting to cut out all chemical colours, and return to my natural colour. And by “natural” I do mean I plan on using henna.

In fact, henna is what I have use the past two colours in an attempt to blend my natural light brown mixed with grey with the dark brown chemically treated ends. And by “ends” I do mean bottom 5 inches.

Add to this my attempt to not use gel or hairspray, and you have one head of hair that should not leave the house on threat of shaving.


Today it feels that bad.

I think I’ve become cocky with the whole no poo challenge. We have not used shampoo or conditioner since the beginning of February and have no intention of ever doing so again. If fact, the success of the no poo is what led me to the no colour, no gel, no hairspray challenge.

And I’m about to fail.

I’m hoping I can avoid the chemical colour by allowing myself a spot of gel here and there. I don’t have to buy any, I still have some left over in a drawer. I’ve tried making gel before, but with my super fine hair it’s been less than successful.

And I see a hair cut in my future.


Not only am I frugal and a princess, I am also a Diva

And being a diva is a lot to live up to!

But before I go on, I’d like to worn the guys and my dad that they may just want to skip this post. Not because it’s inappropriate, but because I’m going to write a wee bit about {{shhhhhh}} feminine protection {{shhhhh}} and how it can be frugal, environmentally friendly, and not at all gross.

Continue reading


Forgive me society, for I have sinned.

It has been two months since I have shampooed or conditioned my hair. This excites me and makes me very happy.

Ever since being old enough to choose my own hair products, I have been something of a product snob; not basing my snobbiness on price, but on name. I was brand loyal and used only a certain shampoo, conditioner, gel, and hairspray. And for many years, I used all four on a regular and even daily basis.

A few years ago, when deciding to move to a more frugal and sustainable lifestyle (I think I’ll be working on this for a loooooong time), I attempted to go cold turkey. No more shampoo, no more conditioner, no more gel, no more hairspray.

Needless to say, my hair looked like crap.

I jumped head first (ha! did you see what i did there!) back into the products, spending lots of cash and telling myself that it just couldn’t be helped.

One day, a couple of years ago, I ran out of hairspray and said, “that’s it. I’m not buying hairspray anymore.” I found that growing my hair long  and employing the power of the headband, along side of the occasional pony tail or sloppy bun, I was free. No more hairspray for me.

But I was still in the shampoo-condition-gel-blowdry daily rut.

I then tried making my own shampoos. It was ok, but I found if I didn’t use a commercial conditioner, I couldn’t get a comb through the knots. No homemade conditioner worked. It just left my hair greasy and in knots.

You see, I have thin, fine, tangly hair hair that leans to the oily side of normal.

So back to the shampoo (to clean), conditioner (to return the oil/smoothness stolen by the shampoo), gel (to protect from the blowdrying) routine.

Once my hair made it past my shoulders, I cut back on the gel and stopped blowdrying unless it was necessary. The minimal blowdrying helped as I was no longer damaging my hair with blowing heat.


People started commenting on how nice, long, and smooth my hair looked. It was nice to hear, but it still bothered me that it was mostly due to the shampoo and conditioner. (ok. and hair colour. i do colour my hair as my mousy brown hair makes me want to vomit. how’s that for full disclosure?)

I also played with the idea of washing with just water.  A lot of folks do this and have great results.

I couldn’t get past day 5.

shampooshampooshampooshampooshampoo-condition! And my hair was shiny nice again!

Earlier this year, I was at a point of being able to shampoo/condition every other day. but it still bugged me. My daughter washed her hair once a week and her hair was just lovely. Sure, she has fine (and lots of) wavy dark blonde – shall we say – tresses. It knots just like mine, but she could probably even rock the dreadlocks. (for the record, I have suggested it. she looked at me like I was insane.)

I was jealous of my 9 y/o’s hair.

So I decided to go basic.

I dug out the baking soda. I dug out some apple cider vinegar. For a few days, I cleaned my hair with about about 1 tbsp of baking soda mixed with water, and did a final rinse with a quarter cup of the vinegar mixed with water.

The results were great! No tangles, clean hair, and well – that’s about it. But a few days into this new regime, and the bottom half of my hair was a rat’s nest. I actually broke my round styling brush while blowdrying.

Not good.

So I volunteered my daughter and cleaned her hair with the baking soda and vinegar.

I decided I hated her, would shave her head and glue the hair on my head. Problem solved.

But she wouldn’t let me.

I finally came to the conclusion that if I wanted this to work, I would have to cut my hair. At the minimum, cut off the many inches over-damaged by long term colouring.

Chop, chop, chop – and I had a nice sleek bob.

I’ve been cleaning my hair with baking soda and vinegar for two months now and couldn’t be happier. My hair is clean, it is smooth, and I rarely blow dry it. I do clean it daily, but can go two days without cleaning it. I don’t really like the short hair and am planning to grow it out. With regular trimming I hope to avoid the over-processed ends.

As an added bonus, I no longer have limp, bodiless hair. It has natural body and very little static.

It’s just hair. All natural, hanging there on my head, waiting until it can be tied into ponytails again.

Life can be frugal and natural and good.

(the 9 y/o is also using only baking soda and vinegar. yay her!)


oh the hair dilemma i suffer

Tomorrow, I head -no pun intended – out to get my hair cut. I haven’t had my hair cut professionally for about 2 years, so you can imagine what I am giving her to work with ….

It’s uneven, with split and broken ends, so I find myself in the position of having to decide if I should have it all cut off or not. I could just have a trim, with a few layers added for body, as I don’t use hair spray, and am weaning myself off of all hair products.


You read that correctly.

Except that I lie.

Just a bit.

I don’t think I will ever *not* colour my hair.

But I haven’t used hair spray in over a year. It’s been two or three months since I’ve used hair gel, and two weeks since I’ve use shampoo or conditioner.

The hair spray was easy. The gel? Not too hard. It just took a different mind set to blowdrying. No shampoo or conditioner? Yeah. well. That’s been difficult. I’ve mostly been using a baking soda/water mixture that leaves my hair very clean, mostly soft, but on some days, too dry. I’ve also use a few applications of apple cider vinegar, though I’m not sure that made any difference. I’m pretty sure the lack-luster results are due to my over-processed hair, as a baking soda wash on my daughter’s hair produced beautiful results with no tangles, lovely highlights, and lots of soft hair.

This brings me full circle to the question of what I am going to do to my hair tomorrow.

It will get shampoo’d at the salon. No doubt about that. But do I cut it tres short, go for broke, and start over. Get a sassy bob and maybe try to not dye my hair as often – (yikes! roots!) – and maybe try to switch back to henna? Or just get a clean-up trim with layers and hope that’s enough to stop some of the breakage.

I’ll probably decide last minute, as she is plopping me down in the chair.

I’ll probably go with the same old.

Frankly, I have no idea.