Why You Should Stop Trying to Be Happy at Work

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    Why You Should Stop Trying to Be Happy at Work

    What are we really searching for when we say we want more “meaning” at work, and how does it differ from happiness? Philosophers, scholars, artists, and social psychologists have struggled to come up with an answer to that question for years. According to research by psychologist Roy Baumeister and colleagues, five factors differentiate meaning and happiness. The author describes them and then offers practical advice on ways to find more meaning in your work.

    So much is written about happiness at work — yet judging from Gallup statistics that show 85% of employees aren’t engaged, few know how to attain it. Given that the average person spends 90,000 hours at work in a lifetime, it’s important to figure out how to feel better about the time you spend earning a living. Here’s the catch, though: If you set happiness as your primary goal, you can end up feeling the opposite. This is because happiness (like all emotions) is a fleeting state, not a permanent one. An alternative solution is to make meaning your vocational goal.

    As author Emily Esfahani Smith has outlined, people who focus on meaning in their personal and professional lives are more likely to feel an enduring sense of well-being. Research shows that making work more meaningful is one of the most powerful and underutilized ways to increase productivity, engagement, and performance. In one survey of 12,000 employees, 50% said they didn’t get a feeling of meaning and significance from their work, but those who did reported 1.7 times greater job satisfaction, were 1.4 times more engaged, and were more than three times as likely to remain with their current employer.

    As a coach to executives considering their next career move, I often hear clients express their desire to find greater meaning at work. Take Jon (not his real name), for example. He started a biotech company, which he successfully grew to over $2 billion in revenue. Investors were champing at the bit for him take the helm of another organization as CEO. However, when presented with these outwardly impressive opportunities, Jon confessed that he wanted to solve what felt to him like more significant health care problems — ones that no one had been able to solve. Although he was flattered to be courted for this top role, he was searching for more from his work, including long-term career satisfaction and engagement.

    In a recent study, Shawn Achor and his research team found that nine in 10 people would be willing to swap a percentage of their lifetime earnings for more meaningful work. That’s a lot of employees who would take a pay cut to have their work matter. But what are we really searching for when we say we want more “meaning,” and how does it differ from happiness?

    Philosophers, scholars, artists, and social psychologists have struggled to come up with an answer to that question for years. According to research on happiness and meaning conducted by psychologist Roy Baumeister and colleagues, five factors differentiate meaning and happiness:

    The distinctions above provide guideposts on steering your professional life toward meaning, which, as research by psychologist Pninit Russo-Netzer found, can ultimately lead to happiness as well. Here are four practical steps you can take to bring more meaning into your work:

    Living with meaning and purpose may not make you happy — at least in the short term. It requires self-reflection, effort, and wrestling with issues that initially can be frustrating. But when you approach work situations mindfully, with an eye toward contributing to others while honoring your personal identity, you’ll find opportunities to practice the skills that help you find the intrinsic value in your work.

    Susan Peppercorn is an executive career transition coach and speaker. She is the author of Ditch Your Inner Critic at Work: Evidence-Based Strategies to Thrive in Your Career. Numerous publications including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, the Boston Globe, and SELF Magazine have tapped her for career advice. You can download her free Career Fit Self-Assessment and 25 Steps to a Successful Career Transition.

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    You Just Lost Your Temper at Work. Now What?

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    You Just Lost Your Temper at Work. Now What?

    Publication Date: July 26, 2019

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    Family Vacations in Alaska

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    Family Vacations in Alaska

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    The fresh air is intoxicating, pristine waters are dreamlike, and glaciers literally glisten underneath blue skies — aah, Alaska — there’s no place like it in the world. Alaska’s unspoiled beauty and wilderness attracts millions of animal lovers, outdoor adventurists, sightseer’s, and nature buffs year after year.

    Alaska Image Gallery

    Families can enjoy an abundance of amazing activities such as flightseeing, backcountry experiences, kayaking, canoeing, day cruises, camping, bicycle tours, glacier tours, dog sled rides, skiing, snowboarding, and a wide variety of historical, cultural, and educational activities.

    ­

    Test your knowledge in the Iditarod­ Quiz.

    In the following article, you’ll find profiles of some of the state’s most coveted attractions. Included is contact information to help you plan your trip as well as photos of each destination. Here’s a preview:

    Iditarod Sled Dog Race

    The longest dogsled race in the world covers 1,150 miles from Anchorage to Nome along an old mail route known as the Iditarod Trail. Many children know of its beginnings from the story of Balto, the famous sled dog.

    Saxman Native Totem Park Saxman Native Totem Park is the world’s largest totem park, consisting of two-dozen ornate totem poles. Each totem pole at Saxman Native Totem Park is unique. The colorful carvings share the stories of their makers and the stories of the villages where they once stood.

    World Ice Art Championships and Kid’s Park

    The world’s best ice sculptors convene in Fairbanks in late February or early March to create dozens of frozen sculptures near the center of town. For children, the best part of the festival is a captivating four-acre ice playground with an imaginatively carved entrance that may take the form of a fairyland castle or an icy fortress with ice-cream-cone turrets.

    Continue to the next page to read about the Iditarod.


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    5 Fun Southern U.S. Travel Ideas for Families

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    5 Fun Southern U.S. Travel Ideas for Families

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    If you’re looking to plan a vacation that takes you and your family to sunny (and conceivably warm) vistas, try out some of these destination locations in the southern portion of the United States.

    Nature lovers, country music fans, amusement park aficionados, history buffs or anyone with a penchant for white water rafting or canoeing might choose one of these 5 destinations highlighted by HowStuffWorks.com and TLC.


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    Top 10 Summer Travel Destinations for Families

    10 Things the Camp Counselor Doesn’t Want You to Know

    Everything I Need to Know I Learned … Caribou Tracking

    Everything I Need to Know I Learned … Halibut Fishing

    Everything I Need to Know I Learned … Salmon Fishing

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    5 Fun Southern U.S. Travel Ideas for Families

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    Cape Krusenstern National Monument

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    Cape Krusenstern National Monument

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    Although it has been a national monument since 1978, Alaska‘s Cape Krusenstern continues to sustain native Eskimos, who hunt, fish, and trap within the monument’s 660,000 acres, as they have done for thousands of years. Cape Krusenstern‘s bluffs and 114 beach ridges along the Chukchi Sea contain archaeological evidence of 6,000 years of prehistoric human use of the coastline. Some artifacts here are older than well-known remains of ancient Greek civilizations on the Mediterranean Sea.

    The coastal people of Cape Krusenstern lived mainly on sea mammals, but they also ranged inland to hunt caribou and other land mammals. Caribou still roam in large numbers through the wild and undeveloped monument, foraging the tundra in a constant search for food. During the summer months, caribou feed on grasses and grasslike sedges, small shrubs, berries, and twigs. In the winter, they dig through the snow to find lichen, called reindeer moss.

    Many other animals make Cape Krusenstern their home, including wolves, moose, grizzly bears, wolverines, foxes, and eagles. This rich coastal area also supports huge numbers of nesting birds and abundant sea life. In the summertime, wildflowers bloom on the treeless plain, and hordes of biting insects descend on the area.

    Cape Krusenstern is a coastal plain, broken by lagoons and gently rolling hills. Shifting sea ice, ocean currents, and waves have formed — and continue to form — spits and lagoons, which can be explored by kayak or on foot. Combined with adjacent Kobuk Valley National Park and Noatak National Preserve, the monument protects more than 9,000,000 acres of subarctic and arctic wildlands in northwest Alaska.

    Cape Krusenstern National Monument Information

    Address: Kotzebue, AK
    Telephone: 907/442-3890
    907/442-3760 (summer)
    Hours of Operation:

    Admission: Free

    Learn about these other national monuments:

    ­Agate Fossil Beds National Monument

    Colorado National Monument

    George Washington Birthplace National Monument

    Natural Bridges National Monument

    Scotts Bluff National Monument

    Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument

    Devils Postpile National Monument

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    Dinosaur National Monument

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    Booker T. Washington National Monument

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    Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

    Tonto National Monument

    Buck Island Reef National Monument

    El Malpais National Monument

    Hohokam Pima National Monument

    Petroglyph National Monument

    Tuzigoot National Monument

    Cape Krusenstern National Monument

    El Morro National Monument

    Homestead National Monument

    Pinnacles National Monument

    Walnut Canyon National Monument

    Capulin Volcano National Monument

    Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument

    Hovenweep National Monument

    Pipe Spring National Monument

    Wupatki National Monument

    Casa Grande Ruins National Monument

    Fort Frederica National Monument

    Jewel Cave National Monument

    Pipestone National Monument

    Castle Clinton National Monument

    Fort Matanzas National Monument

    John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

    Poverty Point National Monument

    Cedar Breaks National Monument

    Fort Stanwix National Monument

    Lava Beds National Monument

    Rainbow Bridge National Monument

    Chiricahua National Monument

    Fossil Butte National Monument

    Montezuma Castle National Monument

    Russell Cave National Monument

    To learn more about national monuments, memorials, and historic sites, and other travel destinations in North America, visit:

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Eric Peterson is a Denver-based author who has contributed to numerous guidebooks about the Western United States.


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    4 Self-Improvement Myths That May Be Holding You Back

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    4 Self-Improvement Myths That May Be Holding You Back

    Our observation of hundreds of performance seekers has led to delineating a series of myths that hold people back when trying to improve. These assertions are based on a diverse set of fields, including psychology, sports, arts, and leadership. We hope that by dispelling these myths, explaining the reality and offering some sound advice instead, we can help move people toward more effective personal development. Myth 1: Performing at the top means consistent peak performance. Myth 2: We get better by benchmarking ourselves against others. Myth 3: Successful people engage in “singular deliberate practice” of one winning strategy. Myth 4: Improvement stems from unwavering focus on your most challenging goals. In the end, improvement comes from knowing our own unique challenges and abilities, not from following pop-culture formulas.

    Advice on how to improve one’s self is everywhere. It accounts for about 2.5% of all book sales in the United States. Add in speeches, training programs, TV programs, online-products, coaches, yoga, and the like, self-help is a $10 billion industry per year, and that’s just in the U.S.

    However, research shows that much of the advice extolled may be misleading or even wrong. Several myths about performance persist, despite research and practices that show they are half-truths at best. That might explain why the most likely purchasers of self-improvement books have bought another within the previous 18 months. The first myth-riddled book didn’t work, so they bought another, and maybe another soon after.

    A recent report in the Journal of Management noted that of nearly 25,000 academic articles on performance, only a fraction include what psychologists call within person variance, which describes ranges, such as that between individuals’ top, average and worst performances. Advice too often mistakenly assumes performance can be compared across people, using the same gauge. That’s absurd.

    Our observation of hundreds of performance seekers largely confirms the report and has led to delineating a series of myths that hold people back when trying to improve. These assertions are based on a diverse set of fields, including psychology, sports, arts, and leadership. We hope that by dispelling these myths, explaining the reality and offering some sound advice instead, we can help move people toward more effective personal development.

    Myth 1: Performing at the top means consistent peak performance.

    Reality: Top performers experience variability in their performance. Famed musician Gregg Allman has said that he suffered from stage fright throughout his career. The feeling, he explained, was not “Am I any good?” Rather, it was “Am I gonna be good tonight?” Whether he was going to deliver his best, or less, haunted him.

    Advice: Expect variability. There’s just no such thing as linear, unwavering, improvement paths. There will be ups and downs. If the path is generally up, all’s good. To the extent you know and appreciate that, you’ll be more patient and less likely to be discouraged.

    Myth 2: We get better by benchmarking ourselves against others.

    Reality: Improvement involves repeating the actions and circumstances that lead to our best performances so that over time they become ingrained. It doesn’t come from mimicry. But research shows that we do, indeed, compare ourselves to others all the time, with negative consequences. In some cases, we benchmark against those who are more capable or accomplished, which can be counterproductive when we fail to match them. In other cases, often in a subconscious effort to preserve our self-esteem, we rate ourselves against people who are less successful — a “downward comparison” that is obviously anathema to personal development.

    Advice: A better approach is to pursue real opportunities for improvement by reviewing mistakes and taking stock of how experiences can lead to improvement. Focus on getting better than you were yesterday and living up to your own potential and aspirations, not somebody else’s. This will give you a keener sense of where you want to go, and, more importantly, why.

    Myth 3: Successful people engage in “singular deliberate practice” of one winning strategy.

    Reality: Although Major League Baseball pitcher R.A. Dickey won the Cy Young award in 2012 in part because of his mastery of the knuckle ball — a pitch that’s difficult to learn but almost unhittable when executed well — he also practiced, and perfected, more traditional techniques. Especially when performing at his height, he thought of the knuckle ball as just one approach among many. He won by relying not just on that special weapon but on a variety pitches, speeds, and spins, to throw off the opposing batter.

    Advice: There is no one way for you, or anybody else, to improve. Singular grand strategies seldom work because they don’t account for exigencies that emerge along the way. Adaptability is as important as plan. Don’t hesitate to call an audible — as long as it’s a thoughtful one. That will also increase your sense of ownership in the path willfully chosen.

    Myth 4: Improvement stems from unwavering focus on your most challenging goals.

    Reality: Evidence suggests that setting goals and pursuing them may actually inhibit improvement. In one study, professors at the University of Chicago asked participants to improve themselves in simple ways: hitting the gym or flossing teeth. The researchers found that while goal-setting increased the amount of thinking those subjects put into something, it actually decreased the amount of time they spent doing it.

    Advice: Create some separation between goal planning and doing. First, think about your end game, such as “I want to improve my golf swing,” or “I want to increase the number of sales I make this year by 20%.” Once you’ve begun to execute, however, focus on what’s rewarding and fun about the activity itself, but de-emphasize the outcome. For example, remind yourself how much you like to play golf or talking to customers, without thinking about (and pressuring yourself) with that challenging target.

    In the end, improvement comes from knowing our own unique challenges and abilities, not from following pop-culture formulas. It’s about understanding valleys and peaks, comparing ourselves to ourselves, adapting along the way, and staying small while staying big. This is not just advice for your own improvement; it’s a way to lead others. After all, you have to be able to lead yourself before you lead another.

    D. Christopher Kayes is a professor and the department chair of Management at the George Washington University. He is the author Organizational Resilience (Oxford, 2015) and Destructive Goal Pursuit: The Mt Everest Disaster (Macmillan, 2006).

    James R. Bailey is a professor of leadership at the George Washington University. He is a frequent contributor to The Washington Post, Fortune, and The Hill, and the author of a Psychology Today column, At the Helm.

    4 Self-Improvement Myths That May Be Holding You Back

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    Car Accident Checklist

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    Car Accident Checklist

    Having an Emergency Binder with multiple checklists printed off in it for different types of disasters is a really good idea to help you keep your head straight and thinking clear during an emergency.  These checklists will also help you to ensure you are prepared before an emergency as well! I recommend purchasing some document protectors and a big three ring binder like this one  to hold all of the checklists that you feel could be important for your geographical area.  I will be adding additional checklists for a wide variety of disasters over the next weeks and months, so be sure to check back every once in a while!

    The downloads listed below are clear and concise checklists (just a few pages) that are designed to help you make sure you have an idea of what to do during a disaster.  Most can be used as a checklist during a disaster to help you prioritize you actions. Finally, some of them will also give you some great suggestions for what to do after a disaster has happened as well.

    Click each link below to see a short description of each download, from that page you will also be able to purchase each download as well.

    Car Accident Checklist

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    Who we are

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    Blog/Politics

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    Blog/Politics

    If you only watch one thing today, make it this: pic.twitter.com/UttSNOgFdJ

    — Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) July 17, 2019

     

    What is most interesting is that there have been plenty of accusations against Google backing Hillary and any attempt to manipulate their search results is precisely what is alleged that Russia used social media to try to “influence” the 2016 election. All of this finger-pointing seems to be very one-sided since Google did what the Democrats accused Russia of doing. Very curious about how the standard works.

    ©2019

    Blog/Politics

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    Homemade Dish Soap Bar

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    Homemade Dish Soap Bar

    Reviving the lost art of self-reliance, one small step at a time

    Liquid dish soap does a fine job of cleaning dishes, but I cringe every time I have to buy a plastic bottle full of soap. I had an epiphany about homemade dish soap several months ago, and I’ve been experimenting. If — like me — you’re trying to cut back on single-use plastic, this might be just the solution you’ve been looking for.

    solid dish soap recipe in a bowl

    My dishwashing method has changed over time. I grew up in a house without a dishwasher. For our dish washing duties, we filled the kitchen sink with hot water and bubbles and then stacked dishes in the sink. As we washed each plate or cup, the water in the sink got colder, less bubbly, and dirtier. If you wash dishes like this, you know what I’m talking about.

    This post contains affiliate links; I may be compensated if you make a purchase.

    When we moved to Hawaii, I began seeing a method of washing dishes that I’d never seen before. Imagine — such a simple chore, but done completely differently in another part of the world! I’ve completely converted to this method for hand washing dishes.

    Instead of filling a big sink, I now fill a medium-size bowl with hot water. None of the dirty dishes go into the water, so the water always stays clean. To wash each dish, I dip a dish rag or sponge into the hot water and then squeeze on a bit of dish soap. The suds transfer to each dirty dish as I clean it, getting sudsy and clean. I repeat this with all of my dirty dishes, wetting the sponge and recharging it with dish soap as necessary.

    This method works beautifully, but there’s still the question of the plastic bottle. Not to mention that store bough dish soap uses some harsh ingredients.

    Then I remembered my mom telling me that my Grandma used to make tallow bars to wash laundry. Instead of the powder or liquid that we use today, she’d cut off a piece of the soap bar and toss it into the washing machine with the dirty clothes. This made me wonder about using a solid homemade dish soap bar. Why not?

    Before I made up a solid homemade dish soap specific for that purpose, I wanted to try the idea. I set a bar of homemade soap in a shallow bowl and began using it instead of liquid soap. It worked perfectly well! The dishes came out clean and my sponge was suitably sudsy. The only trouble with this method was that the soap did get quite soft in the bowl. This told me that I needed a harder bar.

    I started poking around the internet for a recipe without much luck — have I invented something totally new?? Further searching left me looking for a laundry soap bar and I landed on my friend Jan’s recipe. (By the way, I credit Jan for giving me the confidence to start making my own soap. Check out her Soapmaking ebook collection here.)

    Jan’s recipe is made with pure coconut oil. I didn’t have enough coconut oil on hand, so I used a soap calculator to figure out how to use half coconut oil and half tallow. And instead of forming this recipe into bars, I poured the batter into shallow bowls that I picked up at the thrift store.

    [I ordered this handmade sponge from this seller on Etsy.]

    homemade dish soap in a bowl

    I keep the bowl of hard soap right next to my sink. If I’m washing a lot of dishes, I’ll fill up a container with hot water and dip my sponge in that as I wash. If I just need to clean a few dishes, there’s not even any need to fill a bowl — I just wet the sponge with hot water, then rub it on the hard soap until it begins to foam.

    soap suds on a crocheted sponge

    When you’re done washing dishes, be sure to drain off any water that may have puddled in the dish. This will extend the life of the soap.

    Making soap is not difficult, but you really do need to follow some basic safety precautions.

    If you’re ready to dive into soapmaking, check out Jan’s Soapmaking Success e-course! It includes six lessons that will have you making soap like a pro in no time. It includes:

    You should also give Jan’s basic soap bar a try.

    solid dish soap recipe in a bowl

    ★ Did you make this homemade dish soap? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below! ★

     

    Changing up the way you wash dishes by using a solid dish soap bar can substantially reduce the number of plastic bottles you use.

    Measure the water into a non-reactive heatproof container.

    Carefully pour the lye into the water. (Never pour water into lye.) Stir carefully. Combining the water and lye will create a chemical reaction and the water will become VERY hot.

    Set the lye mixture aside. While the lye cools, heat coconut oil and tallow to about 90 to 100°F. The tallow will take longer to melt than the coconut oil. If you achieve the desired temperature before it’s completely melted, just turn off the heat and let the mixture sit for a few minutes. The residual heat will melt the tallow all the way.

    Pour the lye solution into the warm coconut oil and stir by hand briefly. (Note: The lye and oils should both be about 100ºF at this point.)

    Use an immersion blender to bring the soap to trace.

    Incorporate essential oils.

    Pour soap into shallow bowls and allow to cure for 2 weeks before using.

    Wet sponge and rub onto soap until suds form.

    Use sudsy sponge so thoroughly wash dirty dishes.

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    Kris Bordessa founded Attainable Sustainable as a resource for those striving toward a simpler, more self-reliant lifestyle. She is continually learning, often thanks to this virtual community.

    AvatarDon’t Need To Be Preached At

    July 27, 2019 at 10:34 PM

    Screw “eco-friendly”.

    Kris BordessaKris Bordessa

    July 28, 2019 at 7:49 AM

    This page is probably not for you, then!

    AvatarMindy

    July 28, 2019 at 7:15 AM

    Thanks for the inspiration… will make a batch and give it a go!

    Kris BordessaKris Bordessa

    July 30, 2019 at 1:25 PM

    I hope it works well for you!

    AvatarPaddy

    August 3, 2019 at 12:07 PM

    Thank so much for sharing this. I can’t wait to try it.

    AvatarNik

    August 12, 2019 at 10:01 AM

    I’m confused by step 3. It says to set the lye mixture aside to cool. I didn’t see where it said to heat the mixture in the previous steps. Do I heat the water and then add the lye? Do I heat them together? Am I bringing to a boil or just heating to a certain temp? Other people may know this already and wonder why I would ask, but this will be my first attempt at soap making. I just love this idea!

    Kris BordessaKris Bordessa

    August 12, 2019 at 10:31 AM

    Excellent question! I’ll clarify this in the instructions. In short, though: When the lye and water are combined, there’s a chemical reaction and the mixture becomes very hot. You’re right in that there’s no cooking required!

    AvatarNik

    August 12, 2019 at 11:26 AM

    Thank you. Now it all makes sense. I’m looking forward to trying this.

    AvatarANN

    August 13, 2019 at 4:02 PM

    Would you happen to know the amount of another oil to substitute for the tallow (not palm oil)?

    Kris BordessaKris Bordessa

    August 13, 2019 at 4:17 PM

    You should be able to use all coconut oil, but to be safe, always run changes through a soap calculator: https://www.brambleberry.com/calculator?calcType=lye

    I just did, and the water and lye weights change slightly.

    Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) 4.98 oz
    Ounces of liquid 11.15 oz
    Coconut Oil 28.00 oz

    AvatarSamantha Smart

    August 13, 2019 at 11:15 PM

    Hi, this looks like an excellent idea. For the vegetarians among us, can we replace the beef tallow with the same amount of coconut oil? I think that’s what you were saying in the post.

    Kris BordessaKris Bordessa

    August 23, 2019 at 2:42 PM

    See Ann’s comment (and my response) above.

    AvatarAJ

    August 17, 2019 at 7:19 AM

    Thanks I’m going to try this. Do you have a recipe for laundry soap?

    Kris BordessaKris Bordessa

    August 23, 2019 at 2:39 PM

    There’s a recipe for laundry soap in my forthcoming book!

    AvatarHeather

    August 25, 2019 at 7:59 AM

    That is a very cool looking sponge, did you make it or buy it? I think a bowl of soap and sponge prepped in a pretty ribbon will make great gifts!

    Kris BordessaKris Bordessa

    August 25, 2019 at 12:31 PM

    Love that gift idea! I got those sponges from an Etsy seller: http://tidd.ly/8b525112

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    Kris BordessaAloha! I’m Kris Bordessa, writer and hobby farmer, gardener and canner, chicken wrangler and eternal experimenter. Here at Attainable Sustainable, I aim to encourage readers — that’s you! — to embrace a more self-reliant lifestyle, one small step at a time. My latest book, ATTAINABLE SUSTAINABLE: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living, will be published in 2020 by National Geographic Books. Read More…

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