« Scott Nonnenberg


Hippie Experiments

I’m outing myself. I have some distinctly hippie-style attitudes. I don’t really go for cleanses or macrobiotic eating, but I certainly like my modifiers. Local, organic, raw, unprocessed, grass-fed, pasture-raised, sustainable, fair-trade? Sounds good!

I also experiment with a lot of weird things. Like making my own kombucha (fail - not tasty), and making my own yogurt (fail - too time-consuming). Happily, some work out well. Here are three successful experiments…

bamboo steamer

Bamboo steamer

I love leftovers. A lot of people get sick of eating the same thing for a few dinners in a row, but it works just fine for me. And honestly I can’t justify cooking from scratch every day. So my plan is to cook relatively large recipes then reheat for the next couple days.

The only problem: how do you get it warm again? The oven takes too long. Toaster ovens have worked for me in the past, but I don’t have one now. And food seems to get cold immediately after I take it out of my microwave.

Enter the bamboo steamer.

It’s easy! I just put a water-filled pan on the stovetop on high, then drop the bamboo steamer in. Food goes in a heatproof container inside one of the compartments, and leftovers are reheated in a couple minutes. I can even steam up some veggies with a few more minutes of cooking time. Food stays warm a lot longer, is heated all the way through, and I never have to wash the steamer because it doesn’t touch the food or absorb food smells.

deodorant ingredients

Homemade Deodorant

I don’t like strong smells. My dish soap and laundry detergent are both fragrance free, and my hand soap is a diluted mint. So, most mainstream deodorants are are immediately off the table. I also generally like to reduce the number of ingredients in my personal care products.

With those odd requirements, I needed to put some effort into finding something that worked. Over the last several years I’ve tried a number of deodorant options. The Crystal was weird, because I had to get my armpit wet before I rubbed it on. It mostly kept smells at bay, but I could get into trouble if I had an extra-stressful day. At one point I did find a very effective solid stick at my local co-op with a nice neutral smell. But a few replacements later, I discovered that it had been reformulated with a stronger, more feminine fragrance, and was back to the search.

Summer 2013 I finally tried making my own. And it’s truly amazing what a little baking soda (1 part), arrowroot powder (2 parts), and coconut oil (4 parts) can do! Just put in in a bowl and mix it up! It is easily the best deodorant I’ve ever used. It lasts a long time and smells like whatever you want it to - just add an an essential oil.

Not convinced? Last summer my homemade deodorant got a ringing endorsement at a friend’s wedding. I had fully committed to the dance floor, sleeves rolled up, tie loosened, quite sweaty. Earlier I had told a friend about my new deodorant, so she decided to test it. She walks up to me on the dance floor, grabs my arm, raises it up, and sniffs. The verdict? Thumbs-up. I can’t think of a better test. :0)

magnesium chloride flakes

Magnesium oil

When I started using magnesium oil about a year ago, my workout recovery improved, and it seemed like I was building muscle more easily. With the oil, post-workout soreness was more a gentle reminder of recent activity than a sternly-worded letter from my body to my brain.

I had previously read that magnesium and calcium could be used to assist with muscle recovery, but pills never really did anything for me. Magnesium oil, however, is apparently easier for the body to absorb.

You can either buy some pre-made, or make it yourself with magnesium chloride bath flakes. Just boil 1 cup of water, and slowly stir in 1 cup of the flakes until they fully dissolve. Once that has cooled down, rub it on your skin for a totally new way to get your key minerals. The reminder that the skin absorbs things that way definitely puts showering and swimming in a new light, huh?

Experimentation FTW!

Here’s to constant improvement! Not all of my experiments have been successful, but the successes make it all worth it. Maybe they’ll be successes for you too?


A few more details:

  • Yes, I have broken one of my normal dinner plates when attempting to use it in my bamboo steamer. I’ve had no problems since I switched to pyrex. :0(
  • Corn starch is more commonly used in homemade deoderant. I use arrowroot powder because I’m allergic to corn!
  • One challenge with coconut oil-based deodorant is that coconut oil has a melting point of 76 degrees fahrenheit, right within normal indoor temperatures. So your deodorant can be a liquid, soft, or fully solid depending on the time of the year, whether the heat lamp is on in your bathroom, etc. Just find a good container and you won’t have to worry.
  • A little more about magnesium chloride.
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Hi, I'm Scott. I've been in software a long time, and during most of that time I have worked to bridge the people/tech divide. Contact me if your company needs training, coding, or just an experienced outside perspective!

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