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Herbs are quite literally the spice of life. Although store bought herbs work fine, there’s nothing like fresh herbs from the garden. They spice up affordable homemade meals and can be dried to use during the winter.

Here’s how you can start an herb garden on a shoestring budget.

Score a cheap container

You don’t need a fancy $40 planter to grow herbs. There are so many free or cheap options out there! Some people use cement blocks, tires, bird baths, kettles, tea cups, and more.

If you’re in the market for a unique container and don’t want to spend any money, try trash picking. Heck, that’s where I got the hanging basket for my herb garden!

If trash isn’t your thing, you can repurpose existing items around your house, ask neighbors, or poke around on Freecycle.com.

Get dirty

You don’t need a $10 bag of Miracle-Gro to grow herbs. Plants are just as happy growing in a $1 “knockoff” bag of dirt as they are in the fancy stuff. If you really want to save money, consider using soil from your yard. Better yet, use your own compost for maximum savings and plant nutrition.

Seed sourcing

Some people like to start an herb garden with mature plants. That’s a great way to have a harvest ASAP, but not a great way to save money. That’s why I always start my plants from seed.

Seeds can be the most expensive part of gardening, especially if you’re trying to go organic. Instead of paying $6 for a pack of seeds, check if you have seed banks in your area. These banks give out free seeds and just ask that you return more seeds once your plants grow. If you don’t have a local seed bank, check for mom-and-pop stores or co-ops. They usually have better deals.

The bottom line

Once you have these three basics, it’s time to get growin’! Harvest fresh, nutritious herbs from the comfort of your own home on the cheap.

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How to Get Rid of Puffiness and Bags Under the Eyes

Puffiness and bags under the eyes can leave your face looking tired, drawn and older than your years. Lack of sleep, water retention, hay fever and other allergens are the most common causes, although genetics and age may play a part for some people. Getting plenty of sleep is the first step to reducing eye bags, but this may not be enough to eliminate them completely. Whatever the cause and contributing factors, there are several ways to get rid of puffiness and bags under the eyes.

Reduce Fluid Retention

Fluid retention can lead to puffiness in different areas of the body, including the ankles, fingers and under the eyes. Sometimes the result of excess salt in the body, fluid retention can be reduced by cutting down on salty foods, and drinking more water will help flush the excess salt from your body. Many women experience a worsening of water retention around the time of their period, so it’s important to reduce your salt intake in the week running up to your period. Another way to help prevent puffy eyes caused by water retention is to use extra pillows under your head, as this allows fluid to drain away from your eyes more easily.

Drain the Sinuses

Hay fever and other allergies can cause fluid to build up in the sinuses and around the eyes. Draining the sinuses can help to reduce congestion and alleviate eye bags. Acupressure and facial massage techniques can be extremely effective in draining the sinuses. For a simple sinus drainage, gently press one of your fingers around the lower bone of your eye socket, starting from the outer corner of your eye and working toward your nose. Next, press along the upper eye socket until you reach the outer corner of your eye again. Repeat the process as many times as necessary to relieve sinus congestion.

Cool the Eye Area

Cooling down the area around your eyes helps to shrink eye bags and reduce puffiness. Slices of cucumber, raw potato, cold spoons and cool tea bags can all be useful for reducing puffy eyes. Alternatively, you can place wet cotton pads in the refrigerator and leave them overnight. The next morning, use them as cold compresses; simply lie back for five minutes with the compresses on your eyes, then splash your eyes with cool water. Cooling eye masks and gel packs can also be extremely effective in reducing puffiness.

Switch to an Eye Serum

Eye gels can make puffiness and eye bags worse, as they often have a high water content, which can increase fluid retention under the eyes. Many eye creams can be too heavy for the delicate skin around the eye area and can lead to sagging or baggy skin. Eye serums, which are much lighter than creams, can keep the skin around your eyes hydrated without overloading your skin with excess water or heavy creams. Eye serums may be more expensive than regular eye creams, but the results are often worth the extra cost.

Puffiness and bags around the eyes can be caused by a number of different factors, including allergies, water retention and lack of sleep. Cutting down on salt, draining your sinuses, cooling the eye area and switching to an eye serum can all help to prevent eye bags. Ensuring adequate sleep is another important factor in the prevention of puffy eyes. If all else fails, a good concealer can be used to cover your eye bags.


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