DIY Window Treatments
 A simple non-toxic and beautiful way to dress your windows is to use non-toxic fabric such as linen or organic cotton.

This image and idea came from Buy or use your existing fabric or sheets, leave enough room at the top and bottom of the fabric for the tension rods - tension rod pockets - 1 to 2 inches or more, depending on the size of your rods.


I used the 7/16 inch Spring Tension Rod from Home Decorators Collection I bought from Home Depot ($4.67 each). After you sew in the pockets or use tape to create the pockets, insert the tension rods at the top and bottom. If you don't want to sew or use tape, safety pins will work too! But safety pins might not be as uniform and a rod pocket created by sewing or tape.


To create the middle folds, use additional tension rods - pull the fabric from behind the middle rods up and then over the rods to create the folds. 

I'm going to use either 100% linen as my fabric or organic cotton Turkish foutas/towels. 

If you don't want to sew or use tape (maybe you haven't a sewing machine, e.g.), you can simply use a few safety pins to hold the tension rod!

Here's another idea I got from - use thin belts to roll up the fabric, then you'd only need probably one tension rod on top. You might still want to use 2 tension rods (one on top, one on the bottom) so that the fabric stays in place on the bottom when the window's open. You can also insert coins, sea shells, or anything else with some weight in place of the tension rod for the bottom pocket.

This next idea comes from This curtain used one tension rod on top and one tension rod on the bottom. To adjust the amount of light let in, just move the bottom tension rod to the desired spot. Easy! Right?

Here is the Turkish towel that I transformed into my roman shade! I made tension rod pockets on the top and bottom using my Singer Featherweight sewing machine. It was really simple!


I had been wanting to buy or make organic, non-toxic, non-endocrine system disrupting make-up. So, I looked up some blogs and also some videos. I found one suggested by a functional medicine doctor whose formula included bentonite clay, beeswax, coconut oil and some other ingredients.

I tried to make the formula, but the result was too hard at room temperature to apply to the skin. When I warmed it up - which in and of itself was not only a hassle, it was messy - it was too oily and made me look like an amateur or a crazy woman. So, that formula is just sitting in my cabinet gathering dust.

In the past, I've experimented with water and activated charcoal. That would leave specks of black charcoal on my lower eyelids and cheeks. So, that wasn't a great formula either. Then, I tried activated charcoal and aloe vera gel. This worked out better, but still wasn't ideal.

Today, I tried spring water, bentonite clay, activated charcoal and a drop of lavender oil. I use spring water because my tap water is disinfected with chloramine, and I don't really want that near my eyes or skin. Lavender oil is a natural antiseptic. This formula works well for me. You may need to find the right consistency for you and also keep in mind that clay can be drying. Hence, you might want to add a bit more water or something else to ensure your skin doesn't get too bothered by the drying clay. That is probably why the functional doctor's formula included coconut oil and beeswax. If I can figure out a way to get his formula to not be too hard at room temperature, that might be a better formula than mine, which just has spring water, bentonite clay, activated charcoal and lavender oil.

To get the spring water, bentonite clay, activated charcoal and the drop of lavender oil to mix and dissolve took a little bit of work. Probably took me several minutes to get the formula to get a smooth consistency. This formula, however, works well for me. If you try it, let me know how it works out for you! Take care and have fun!!


Oh my God! I just made this homemade strawberry lip balm, and it

smells so good - I think I want to smother it all over myself!

To make your own economical and non-toxic strawberry beeswax

and coconut oil lip balm, try this recipe: 

1. 2 tsp organic beeswax

2. 2 tsp raw, organic coconut oil

3. a few drops of: organic olive oil; organic lavender oil

4. pulverized/powderized freeze-dried organic strawberries

5. 1/2 tsp organic cocao butter 

It's a little tricky to get the freeze-dried strawberries into powder form.

I used a nut grater, while some suggest using a coffee grinder.

If one doesn't get the strawberries into fine powder, they will be clumpy

in your balm - kinda like how the mixture looks in this photo, with the little specks of red.

I'm sure you will find a way to pulverize your fruit and make a smooth, creamy, yummy strawberry lip balm!

Put the beeswax, coconut oil, olive oil and cocao butter in a small glass heat-safe jar and place it in a pot of water over low heat. Be careful you do not overheat the glass to the point of danger of shatter. You could also use a double boiler method to ensure the glass isn't over-heated (simply place the glass jar in a larger glass or stainless steel bowl and put the bowl over gently boiling water).

Once these ingredients are all melted, turn the stove off, add the lavender oil and put in the pulverized/powerized strawberries and stir the mixture. You may need to strain this mixture if there are some small pieces of strawberries. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool. After about 6-8 minutes, before the mixture completely solidifies, stir the mixture as the strawberries will tend to sink to the bottom. Voila! Enjoy! 

Coconut oil ought to help the shelf life of your lip balm as it has antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Lavender oil is also a natural antiseptic. However, to be extra safe, you could consider adding some additional antimicrobial agents such as liquid grapefruit seed extract (one or two drops in a small batch should be sufficient). Grapefruit seed extract is such an amazing substance!


I thought I was fairly frugal until I met someone a few years ago who at the time was thirty years old. He lived in Burlingame with his girlfriend in a rental room in an elderly woman's house. Their rent was $900! The average rent in the San Francisco Bay Area for a room in a shared setting is $1,600 or more. Yet, he was paying just $450 and his girlfriend $450! He also invested in the stock market and already had amassed over $600,00 in his investments.

He drove a 1980s car that he bought for about $2,000, and it was running and looked fine in 2016. I thought my car was pretty frugal - a 2004 Scion xB that I bought in 2016 for $4,300 with only 63,000 miles when I bought it - but he has me beat by a couple thousand and over a decade!

Another way I save money is by using when I travel. This is a website for people who travel by bicycle - bike touring. I have used for travels in the Netherlands, Taiwan, California, Denmark, and France. I have never used couchsurfing, but this is a similar idea; though I think people who travel by bike and the hosts who host bike tourers (usually bike touring people themselves) are a different breed of people from the non-bike-touring people.

People often ask me whether it is safe. I cannot vouch for all hosts, but I have had only the best experiences from being hosted on by hosts from Copenhagen to Taipei to Amsterdam to Marseilles to Aix-En-Provence to Portland to Dresden. Both hosts and bike travelers create a profile on warmshowers. So, you can read the profiles first and sometimes there are reviews. It really shows the generosity and humanity of people that strangers in Dresden will host a stranger from San Francisco.

To save on airline tickets, I fly Norwegian Airlines to Europe, which sometimes has roundtrip flights between Oakland and Oslo or Stockholm for about $400. From Oslo, I use a regional airline, depending on where I'm going, to fly for instance to London or Paris or Marseille. These regional flights sometimes cost only $70 or less each way. Of course, these discount tickets are non-refundable, so, if your plans change and you can't fly on the ticketed dates, you will likely be unable to obtain a refund. I did have to be willing to hang out in the Oslo or Stockholm airport for a few hours since I had to change airlines and planes. Some people might find the time spent waiting in airports not worth the savings. 

Here is the breakdown of what I paid on one trip to Europe:

$688 rountrip from Oakland, California to Marseille, France:

$467      OAKLAND to Oslo, Oslo to OAKLAND - Norwegian Airlines

$78.10   Oslo to London, London to Oslo - Norwegian Airlines

$143.85 London to Marseille, Marseille to London - Easyjet

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Eva Guo (415) 307-8889

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