Pregnancy Beauty: Going No-Poo

October 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

One of my goals over the past 10 weeks of my pregnancy has been to minimize as much as possible my exposure to toxins and pretty much any chemicals I can’t pronounce. My first step was to switch from shampoo and conditioner to a “no poo” regimen. I had experimented with this before after hearing rave views from other Paleo-type folks, but pregnancy motivated me to recommit. Another factor that influenced me to ditch the ‘poo was learning that almost all shampoos and conditioners contain gluten (typically called wheat protein in the ingredients list). Gluten causes such dramatic reactions in my skin (red blotchy face, psoriasis patches, dandruff), that as soon as I learned that it lurked in many shampoos, I knew it was time to make the change.

My no-poo regimen is pretty simple (and completely unoriginal–CaveGirlEats has an amazing series of posts on Paleo beauty):


-Baking soda (aluminum-free)
-Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
-Cup for mixing
-OPTIONAL: tea tree oil

My daily regimen:

1. Get my hair nice and wet in the shower.

2. Mix 1-2 T baking soda with warm water in the cup I keep in the shower.
-I usually mix it with my fingers or swish it around with the handle of my razor to make sure it’s nice and mixed up.
-BONUS: Mix in a few drops tea tree oil.

3. Pour the mixture on my head and scrub it into my roots. Let sit while I shave my legs. Rinse.

4. Mix 1-2 T apple cider vinegar with warm water in the same cup. Pour over head and comb through with a wide-tooth comb. Let sit while I finish soaping off.

5. Rinse really well.


The baking soda gets my hair PLENTY clean. My natural hair texture is normal-dry, so I never have had a problem with grease, and I haven’t noticed any more grease since I ditched shampoo. I also like the gritty texture and the effect the baking soda has on my scalp (helps ease dandruff).

The apple cider vinegar does smell pretty vinegary. The tea tree oil drops does help a bit with the smell, but you can still smell the vinegar. That’s why it’s important to make sure you rinse well. Also, once your hair is dry, the vinegar smell goes away.

The best part is that my hair has never looked better. I have a tendency to frizz, and that is pretty much gone. My hair feels thicker and softer than ever before. I’m so glad that I’m no longer dousing my scalp with gluten and other unpronounceable chemicals. My hair and scalp are happy that they are no longer being stripped of their essential oils and then coated with a waxy conditioner anymore.

The only way I will ever go back to shampoo is after I apply an overnight coconut oil mask (just heat up the coconut oil and coat your hair and scalp, let it soak in overnight, then shampoo out the next day). The baking soda doesn’t cut through the coconut oil, so in that case I will use a gluten-free shampoo (Dessert Essence is my favorite).

I highly recommend giving the ‘no poo method a chance for at least 30 days. I know that might seem like a long time, but I have heard that for some people it takes about 30 days to get used to it, and then after that their hair has never looked better. Some people like to ease in by replacing every other shampoo with ‘no poo, and then slowly adding more and more days of ‘no poo to the week. Whatever works for you, but I think the goal of getting the gluten out of shampoo and the chemicals off your scalp is worth it!

We’re having a baby!

October 25, 2011 § 1 Comment

Baby Bouchard at 9 Weeks

We’ve known we wanted a little Baby Bouchard since well before we got married (if you ask Bryan, he would say he knew he wanted to have a baby with me the night we met at McDuffy’s). But with me being in law school, Bryan being in Japan, and the ever-present possibility of a deployment, when was the right time? Well, if you know anything about us, you know that we don’t like to follow a traditional timeline. We got married while I was still in my first year of law school because it felt right. We wanted to be husband and wife, and so we were. Even after our wedding, however, Bryan was still living in Japan while I was in Boston … so let’s just say the baby-making would have been a little strategically difficult.

When we finally reunited in New York, we deluded ourselves into thinking we would wait and enjoy being newlyweds. That lasted for about 5 seconds before we both divulged that we actually maybe didn’t want to wait. And so just one month after I finished my Arizona internship and returned to NYC (and we finally began to live together full-time) Bryan started noticing that I was eating–a lot. A lot of chocolate, to be precise. And even though I’m typically quite–erm–emotional…I was perhaps a touch more emotional. But Bryan forgot about this because I assured him that I was just PMSing (and we all know that mentioning the monthly visitor is a pretty quick way to get a man to stop asking questions).

I was feeling the tell-tale PMS signs of cramps and irritability, after all. Well, one day while Bryan was at work I decided I was sick of wondering when the visitor was going to arrive, so I decided to go buy a pregnancy test at the corner Rite Aid (always an awkward purchase). When the little pink line showed up, I was actually quite flabbergasted. I knew it was possible that we were pregnant so soon–but what about the cramps I had been having? The chocolate cravings? The tender lady lumps? (Sorry, I’m not good at self-censorship). Well it turns out that many signs of PMS are also signs of early pregnancy. I immediately started chugging water so I could take another test, just to be sure. I also whipped out my cell phone to call Bryan and tell him … but hung up mid-ring because I realized I should probably come up with some cutesy way to tell him that we just might be expecting our first baby together.

I showered, got my pretty on (I wanted my baby-daddy to think his baby-momma was pretty fine), and rushed down to Bryan’s office to tell him the good news. I’m not going to lie, I felt like I was floating the whole way there. I wondered if my fellow subway travelers could tell. I’m pretty sure there was some glowing going on. I could barely contain myself until we got into Bryan’s office and I closed the door, then blurted “I’m pregnant!” Yeah, I’m subtle. I think the next thing I said was “Wanna see the proof?” Which was in my purse in a ziploc bag, natch.

Well, what followed was a flurry of phone calls to my mom and seesters, and then a few days of quasi-denial. Of course I purchased baby books and started perusing baby gear approximately 3 seconds after I saw the little pink line, but I was still understandably worried it wouldn’t “take” for at least a few days. We’re now 10 weeks and 5 days along, and have even heard the heartbeat and seen our little shrimp twice (that’s what they look like at first…whatevs, it’s cute). Bryan and I are both overjoyed and pretty darn impatient for the baby to come out, but we have a lot to think about over the next 7 months.

Baby Bryan

Baby Jenna

So, the Air Force is sending Bryan to Afghanistan. For a year. From Halloween to November-ish 2012, Bryan will be gone. The baby is due in May 2012, so that means that Bryan is going to miss approximately the first 6 months of baby’s life, after he/she is born (we don’t know the gender, but we do plan to find out). But there’s nothing we can do about it, so we’re just going to have to make the best of the situation and focus on what matters–Baby Bouchard.

We’ve also decided that it makes the most sense for me to move back to Arizona and finish law school as a visiting student at ASU (I’ll still have my Harvard degree even though I’m spending my entire 3L year at different law schools). That way I’ll have my family’s support, will be able to have the baby in my momma’s home, and we’ll be able to save a ton of money for the baby’s college education (or, for my law school loans).

So that’s where we are: I’m preggers, Bryan’s going to Afghanistan, and I’m moving back to Arizona. It’s going to be a wild ride until Bry gets back from Afghanistan and we can re-settle down with our new addition somewhere in the New York area (we’re thinking of moving to the ‘burbs), but we know we can handle anything together.

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