Friday Favorites: Travel

Tis the season for jet setting, and we are no exception! We are headed out of town in a few weeks on an exciting trip, and I'm in full on planning mode! Here is a peek at some of my favorite things for making the most out of travel. 

For planes and car rides:

+ A really great book (or five!) on my Kindle. I love actual books but the convenience of a Kindle for travel! Currently loving Getting Noticed (love me some LTM!), Soup, and All the Pretty Things
+ Cheeky journal for writing notes, lists, brainstorming ideas, all the #bossbabe things! 
+ Motivation oil for tapping into those feelings of action and accomplishment. I like to apply a few drops behind my ears and inhale while I work! Smells dreamy.
+ Earbuds, natch
+ A great travel scarf for keeping warm on the plane & looking fabulous at the same time!

 

You know I never leave home without oils ;) 


Stress Away roller because.. #AtlantaAirport. Instant vacation!
Deep Relief roller along the neck and shoulders after lugging around those bags + sitting all day. 
+ Lavender & Northern Lights Black Spruce oils for sleeping in unfamiliar places! Helps wind down & relax.
Lemon vitality for staying hydrated, just add a drop of two to your water! 
Digize Vitality because travel food. I like one drop of Digize with a drop of lemon in a glass of water. 
Thieves hand purifier for clean hands, because #airports ew.  

 

A few other things:

+ Nena and Co. tassel so I can identify my bag eailsly & backpack tote which is a perfect daily bag and travel companion. Would also make a great diaper bag! I have my eye on a weekender bag as well... in case anyone is searching for a Mother's Day idea. #justsaying
+ A great pair of shades for adding a little sophistication to your look and because you know... sun. 
+ My favorite Tarte lip stain for looking put together even in the coziest travel outfit. Also some other favorites here. 
+ Lavender lip balm for moisturizing under a bold lip color or use alone for a natural look! 
 

Oh, and four of those oil faves come in the starter kit that I'm always talking about on Instagram! Interested in learning more about oils? Check out the Golden Drop Society website, find me on Instagram or send me an email! 

Green Home 01 I Cleaning

When we found out we were pregnant with Elliot one of the first things we did was switch out our Clorox Cleanup for a green cleaner. We had already switched out our soaps and shampoos to "green" options (read: popular brands that we thought were chemical-free but were really just synthetics based on plant components...), but we realized that we needed to start creating a truly chemical-free home. I knew that I didn't want our babe to be exposed to harsh chemicals... on his clothes, in the air. We also learned that our plug in air fresheners were laced with formaldehyde which totally blew me away and made me even more passionate to find healthy alternatives! I'm a researcher by nature so you know I scoured the internet for other options, DIYs and the best of the best for what we should use.

Fast forward three years later and we have achieved our goal. Zero chemicals, all plants, and a super clean home and great smelling home all at the same time. We use plant-based cleaners to clean the whole house, including the sink after we prepare food and meats. And yes it gets it super clean!! Added bonus is that our cleaning supplies are delivered directly to my door and I get $75 back every month to spend on whatever I want. (Insert praise hands emoji!) I love me some Target, but they've never given me $75 just for buying stuff I use every day anyway. And my house smells like a chai latte instead of harsh chemicals and bleach! #winning.

Here are some of our chemical-free cleaning favorites!
+ Thieves Household Cleaner: We use this for the ENTIRE house! Counters, floors, bathrooms, stovetop, showers, commodes, literally everything. This is super affordable because you use 1 capful per 16oz spray bottle for the majority of cleaning. If we really need a heavy degreaser we use 2 capfuls. 
+ DIY Counter Cleaner: Sometimes I also use a DIY version with Thieves essential oil, Lemon essential oil and a little bit of castille soap on our glass cooktop when it gets sticky!
+ DIY Mirror Cleaner: Combine 1 capful Thieves Household Cleaner, 5 drops Citrus Fresh essential oil blend, 1 tsp white vinegar, and 3 cups water in a glass spray bottle.
+ Thieves Dish Soap and Dishwasher Powder: I also mix a bit of the dish soap with a little of the Thieves cleaner and water in a roller ball to spot treat stains on our clothes (helloooo little ones starting solids)!
+ Thieves Foaming Hand soap (kitchen) and Lavender Foaming Hand soap (bathrooms)
+ Thieves Laundry soap: This super concentrated laundry soap is my favorite! It gets our clothes super clean without chemical surfactants and artificial scents, and it is safe for HE washers! You only need 1/4 capful, so it lasts forever. Added bonus is that it is safe for cloth diapers! 
+ Wool dryer balls: We use these instead of dryer sheets and add essential oils to make our clothes and linens smell great! They help cut the static (use more dryer balls for loads with lots of fleece or static-prone fabrics) without adding crazy chemicals to your clothes. Peppermint, lavender, and eucalyptus are some of my favorites to add to the dryer balls.

So basically we clean our whole house with Thieves essential oil, ha! The Thieves oil is a really amazing blend of oils named after a band of thieves who robbed plague victims during the Black Plague. They were perfumers by trade and were forced to reveal their 'secrets' when apprehended. The Thieves blend contains cinnamon, clove, lemon, eucalyptus and rosemary oils that smells amazing and cleans all the things!  Plus, it is Gwyneth Paltrow recommended ;) We love to diffuse it with orange and black spruce or balsam fir, with orange and RC for respiratory support (great for after school!), with lemon and peppermint for a fresh and clean home. 

Click here to find out more about why we love essential oils and to start creating a chemical-free home of your own! 

 

Images by Morgan Blake for Golden Drop Society

Enough

It was 5am on a Tuesday morning and I had gotten up before everyone else to read and reflect, then get some work done. I turned on Ellie Holcomb's 'Red Sea Road' and heard this song. The tears just started flowing. I felt the Lord pouring out Truth over me and telling me to let go of the lies....

I heard this quote recently: "The story that you aren't telling anyone could be the story that is running your life." So in the spirit of understanding and hopefully encouraging other mamas, wives and women, here is my untold story. A possible alternative title to this post could read "Perfectionism, Vulnerability + Gospel Truth"....

 
 

It all started with the word 'enough'. Not too long ago I realized how much I use that word to describe my day...my actions, my work, my efforts, my parenting, my responsibilities. There is a constant inner dialogue running in the background that surfaces mostly in the quiet hours of the morning or just before sleep. Did I spend enough time with Elliot? Did I do enough rounds in that workout? Did I workout hard enough? Did I read enough books at bedtime? Did we spend enough time outside today? Did I show enough patience, love and grace to my family? Did I send enough emails and messages to connect with my team? Will my efforts be enough to move us closer to our dream, to the vision we have for our family? Did I love my family enough today? I mean I did lose my patience a few times... Did I serve my husband enough? I hate that I was short with him on the phone.... Somedays this exhausting list seems endless. 

What was/is driving me to that place? Comparison? Maybe. Perfectionism? Probably. The desire to have it ALL? Absolutely. I want a clean, organized and stylish home, a wildly successful career, a deep intimate relationship with my husband, healthy, happy, emotionally stable children, amazing physical health, strength and flexibility, delicious organic home-cooked meals and most of all a close, intimate relationship with my Creator. And all of those things are good, right things to want and to pursue, but when perfectionism and drive take over, the pursuit of it ALL creates a constant stream of 'Am I Enough' in my mind.

 
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  my whole heart, my life's calling all right here in this picture...

my whole heart, my life's calling all right here in this picture...

I want to know that if I do abc that it will absolutely result in xyz. If I follow this plan, the things I want will happen. If I love and serve my family, our marriage will be strong and vibrant and my children will grow up to live Christ-centered lives. If I work hard, our dreams will come true. If I take care of my body it will be strong, healthy and see me through many many years. All these things I want are good, righteous things to want, but it's the inner drive to be perfect that causes problems. But perfect isn't possible. The beauty and pain of this life is that there are no guarantees on this Earth. The only place where I can truly find my hope is in Christ.

To be examined and aware of your every flaw and sin, then be told you are the exact opposite of how you see yourself—that you’re actually the beloved and beautiful handiwork of a master—is a truth that can sometimes be harder to live with than the lie of shame.
Because of Jesus’ atonement for our sin, this is who we now are: holy, blameless, without stain or wrinkle.  - via She Reads Truth

I believe that I strive for perfectionism because I want to truly love and to be loved. I desperately want to serve my family well, to walk out this calling that the Lord has placed on my life, to show people His amazing mercy and grace in the way that I live out my life. I want to cultivate an environment of love, light and warmth for my family. I want to love and serve my community, show gospel-rooted hospitality, lift up and encourage other women. I believe that the Lord places us in family units (including close friends that are like family!) as a parallel to the unity that we have as a body of believers and to the perfect unity we will experience in Eternity. So my desire to truly love and be loved is pure and righteous and rooted in biblical truth. However, my twisting of this desire into a pursuit of perfectionism is a slippery slope into sin. And the lies of the enemy run deep....

 
 

But.....
What if I saw me, the way that You see me?
What if I believed it was true?
What if I traded, this shame and self-hatred?
For a chance at believing You

You knit me together in my mother's womb
And you say that I've never been hidden from you
And you say that I'm wonderfully, wonderfully made

You're eyes, they have seen me before I was born
And you know all the good things that you made me for
And I'm wonderfully, wonderfully made
 - 'Wonderfully Made' by Ellie Holcomb

The beauty of the gospel is God's amazing ability to change our hearts, transform our minds and redirect us back to the path of freedom that He provides. I feel that I finally understand my drive to be perfect, to have it all in a pretty little package. And for that understanding the Lord is leading me to a place of freedom. He is showing me how to see myself in His eyes, to see myself through the lens of the cross and to let go of my question of 'Am I Enough?'

This is a day by day, moment by moment walk. Quiet moments in the early morning with the Lord, prayers for peace and rest, reminders of His grace and sufficiency, affirmations of His goodness, and grace for myself are the keys to my freedom from the lies. I am also using the tools the Lord has given me of emotionally supportive essential oils to help my mind and heart break free of the lies. These scents act like a trigger for my brain to remember and tap into to good, the positive, the Truth. To choose those thoughts and feelings instead of the negative, the lies of not being enough. 

Oils are the perfect compliment to this process for me, and I love how the grand design allows our bodies to use plants so easily to connect us back to ourselves, creation and our Creator. (Our sense of smell connects directly to the part of our brains that process and stores memories and emotions.) In the mornings I inhale the Humility blend and apply it to the center of my chest, just above the heart. I breathe deeply and repeat to myself 'I am enough. God's grace covers me.' I have also been using White Angelica to help connect to my whole story (the good and the bad) and to truly understanding the way I was made and how I was made to love on this Earth. I apply White Angelica behind my ears. I also diffuse it with lavender in the evening before bed to help process the underlying untold story, the lies that creep in so easily.

Praise the Lord for freedom from the lies. For when my heart rests in the presence of the Lord, I am enough. I am enough, because I am His. I am enough, because He is enough. And you are enough, because He is enough for you.

DIY Citrus Laundry Soap

When it comes to chemical-free laundry options, I love my Thieves laundry soap. It smells amazing, cleans our clothes (especially Elliot's school clothes!) and lasts forever. All of the other commercially available options (even the 'green' ones) are so overpowering with their scents, and sadly those chemical-laden perfumes that smell good are SO bad for our bodies. If I ever run out of my Thieves soap, though I follow a simple recipe to make my own and can customize the scent as well!

You will need:
• 1.5 cups of Borax 
• 1.5 cups of Washing Soda (in combo with Borax here)
• 1.5 cups of Baking Soda 
• 1 Bar of soap
• 20 drops total of essential oils - I used grapefruit and lemon

1. Grate the soap with a cheese grater.
2. In a large bowl, mix the borax, washing soda, and baking soda.
3. Toss half of the grated soap into a food processor. Add about 1/2 cup of the powdered mixture from the bowl. This allows you the food processor to process the soap into smaller pieces without sticking to the blades. Repeat using the rest of the grated soap.
4. Blend until mixed. Add your essential oils and blend again.  
5. Take the grated soap mixture out of the food processor and add it to the large bowl. Store in a glass container with a wide mouth.

To use, just add 1-2 tablespoons to each load of laundry! You can either place it directly in the washer before you add your clothes (recommended) or use it in the detergent receptacle. You can also add about 1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar to the load to act as a fabric softener. When it comes to drying, I love adding 5-6 wool dryer balls to our loads to cut the static. I usually add a few drops of peppermint oil to each dryer ball! So fresh and clean! 

This also makes a cute addition to a gift for a new mama as this is a gentle cleaner for newborn clothes and even cloth diapers. Choose calming essential oils like lavender, orange, Gentle baby or Peace and Calming blends. More about essential oils here

Valentine's Favorites

Happy (almost) Valentine's Day! Admittedly we are not huge celebrators over here, but I do love all the pretty things and fun recipes floating around this time of year. We actually have some fun things happening including a Galentines event, family breakfast with heart shaped pancakes, a no-plans Saturday (my fave!) and homemade cookie making. Anyone else love intentionally NOT making plans on a weekend? I feel like we just need the reset sometimes, you know? Pajamas, coffee on the porch, good food, my people. Bliss.

A few other things:
+ Scented valentines because Orange oil is just so happy. (PS, we attached tiny puzzles instead of candy to ours. Other ideas: bubbles, a little toy car, organic applesauce pouch, small pack of crayons, clay, paint brushes, or other art supply. You can make your Valentines cards fit the theme too! "You're my main squeeze" for the pouch, "I like the way you roll" for the car, " etc.
+ Massage oils, perfume rollers, bath salts for my ladies
+ Oily infused cocktails (and mocktails!) for Galentines
+ Paw Patrol shaped pancakes using Elliot's Valentine from his Mimi (similar set here)
+ Paleo strawberry donuts just because (love having treats that don't derail our clean eating)
+ Trying a new cookie recipe on Tuesday so we can surprise daddy after work! If it's a bust, these are our backup plan.
+ Celebrating on Tuesday with some fun balloons and a couple new books. (PS you can preorder my sweet friend Jodi's book now!!!! Go go go!!)
+ Checking out some Pinterest DIYs for making Valentines for our family! 

I'm really excited about our Galentines night at my house tonight! Our theme is 'You should go and love yourself' ;) and we are making relaxing massage oils (oh la la!!) and face rollers with amazing skin supportive oils because we all want to look like J. Lo when we're fifty.  If you're local, come on over!! If not, we're loving you from afar. And if you're interested in joining in the fun, I'll gift you $25 back towards your premium kit today only! 

Finding Freedom

Things have been quiet in these parts lately for a few reasons, but I've finally found my voice about something that's been stirring for the last couple years - FREEDOM. Becoming a mama changed my heart in a lot of ways, one of them being that I realized how much I crave freedom. I want to be at home with my littles, feeding them lunch and teaching them about snails on a Tuesday afternoon. I want to travel with them to see the Civil War battlegrounds and national parks as we learn about United States history. I want the freedom to build a small homestead and grow our own vegetables. 

Our reality is good, don't get me wrong. But our dream is vastly different than our reality. So we are taking some steps to change that. One of the biggest things we did was sell my car. We had a car payment on a pretty nice car, so we sold that car and purchased an older one. Less bells and whistles, less comfort but you know what? It's reliable AND it's paid for. And there's an extra few hundred dollars that can go towards paying off student loans, which is the first step towards freedom. 

I don't talk about it much, but Young Living is what is really paving the way to our freedom. Essential oils are so near to my heart and have changed our life in such an amazing way, that being able to share that passion as a career just makes my heart sing. I am so blessed to lead a group of women and men that love each other and are committed to a natural lifestyle. I get to share information, lead online classes, contribute to e-magazines, talk one on one with people, and bring natural health in the spotlight to help people live health lives. There is so much beauty in that. And so much freedom. And I'd love to help you find that freedom too. 

Golden Drop Holiday Gathering

Last week I hosted a little holiday gathering for my sweet, amazing oils community, and it was so fun! My wonderful mama came over to help me decorate, trim the tree, arrange fresh greenery + camilla buds, and make some yummy snacks.

We made the most delicious wassail (recipe courtesy of my friend Lesley), listened to my favorite holiday album, and made some oily things. I was also able to break out my shiny new Zyto scanner, which is such a great tool for our health. Every time I scan it is right on target for what I need. Love having that tool available to help my people! Overall, it was such a sweet night of fellowship, and I honestly treasured every moment!

And in case you are interested, here are the recipes for the items we made.

Breathe Easy Roller:
10 drops RC
10 drops lemon
Top with desired carrier oil

Relaxing Bath Salts
1/4 cup epsom salts
1 tsp baking soda (option to prevent caking)
5-7 drops desired essential oil
*We used lavender, peace & calming, stress away and believe. 

Life Lately + A YouTube Channel

Ahhhh Saturday! We are spending the weekend working around our house, making merry and doing a little bathroom renovation. The shower is framed with a lovely 6-foot wall built, and today it will be covered in subway tile! Our next goal is to pick out a paint color for the walls and start production on the barnwood vanity.

 Currently loving: these cozy Minnetonka boots (similar  here  and  here ), plaid scarves, and peppermint bulletproof lattes in a mason jar.

Currently loving: these cozy Minnetonka boots (similar here and here), plaid scarves, and peppermint bulletproof lattes in a mason jar.

We are also spending some time adding some holiday cheer to the house as we prepare for a fun gathering for my oils team this week. I can't wait to see all the happy, smiling faces, make roller bottles (LOVE these colorful ones! So great for gift giving and parties!) and munch on my new favorite pumpkin bread. I am beyond thankful for Golden Drop Society, and I truly enjoy sharing that love! 

In other news, I started a YouTube channel and would love for you to follow along! I'll be sharing whole foods meal ideas, tips for using oils in your everyday life, tricks for adding movement to your day, and insights on being a child of God, wife, mama, full-time pharmacist and full-time entrepreneur. ;) I truly want to create a space here and through videos to help inspire other women, wives, and mama realize that you can make your life whatever you want. No matter your age, income, debt level, education, you have the power to change your life and make it anything you choose. #truth

I also recently created a Winter Wellness e-magazing that I'm sending new members. Would love to send one your way! Happy Saturday friends!


Oily Routines: Our Mornings

So many people tell me that they want to use essential oils, but it just seems so overwhelming. I can relate, I promise, but if you don't just jump in, you'll never make the switch! Oils are a huge part of our natural lifestyle, so I wanted to give you a peek int some of the simple ways that we use oils on a daily basis.

Wake up, diffuse something uplifting like joy + Oola family, peppermint + citrus fresh, grapefruit + bergamot or something seasonal like thieves + balsam fir, raven + lemon, rc. 

Wash my face with the satin mint face scrub - my favorite morning routine! This scrub is slightly exfoliating and just a little tingly, so I love it especially after a morning workout! I also use YL Copaiba Vanilla shampoo + conditioner and lavender rosewood bar soap. I moisturize my face with organic jojoba oil with a drop or two of frankincense for healthy skin. On the days I don't wash my hair, I love this DIY Dry Shampoo with rosemary and lavender. 

Our favorite oils for meditation are frankincense, Grounding, black spruce, Gratitude, Oola balance + Oola grow. Other great options are citrus oils for all the positive vibes, blue spruce and ylang ylang for releasing stress, copaiba + balsam fir + abundance for disappointment. It's important to spend time really sorting through and organizing your emotions, ideally at the beginning and end of the day. Our emotions have a huge impact on our physical health! Just a few minutes of meditation can allow your brain to reset and reach higher levels of emotional and mental health. 

We diffuse something to benefit us all as we make breakfast, usually thieves + orange or thieves + balsam fir, ravinastra + lemon, whatever we are feeling that day! I also love peppermint for bleary-eyed mornings. ;) Then we all drink our antioxidant supplement Ningxia Red, yes even the littlest! Husband and I take our supplements (I love the YL ones because they are infused with essential oils, which means the nutrients enter your cells much more quickly - 64% absorption in just 30 minutes, 86% absorption in an hour!).

My travel kit and daily must-haves: vetiver for emotional support, Deep Relief roller for all the tense things, diluted peppermint for focus + tension, black spruce, Citrus Fresh, Peace & Calming II, Stress Away.

Just a few ways we use oils in our morning routine!

September Wellness 03: Supplement

As much as a whole foods diet is great for your health and can provide countless benefits, it can be difficult to get all the vitamins and minerals you need even from food, especially since our food isn’t typically grown in our backyard. The process of harvesting, then transporting produce allows time for the natural enzymes, vitamins and minerals contained in those foods to degrade. We still get great benefits from whole, organic produce, but those benefits are lessened since the foods have started a natural degradation process once they were picked from the plants or vines. So, the obvious way to help reintroduce those necessary components is to supplement.

When it comes to vitamins and supplements, there are countless options available. Sadly, the majority of products on the market are made with inactive ingredients, often called excipients. These include binders, fillers, and coloring agents such as propylene glycol, synthetic gelatin, lactose, and Yellow #5, which are often pro-allergenic and wreak havoc on the intestinal lining. Because of this, we purchase our vitamins and supplements through Young Living. I also love that the products are infused with essential oils, which means you get 64% absorption within 30 minutes of taking a supplement and 86% absorption within 1 hour of taking it. That is a huge increase from the typical 42% absorption in 24 hours without the addition of essential oils. Enough said. 

Here is a peek at some of the supplements that we take in addition to our oily regimen:

+ Life 5 Probiotic: this high-potency probiotic builds and restores core intestinal health by providing five clinically proven probiotic strains including two advanced super strains to enhance intestinal health, sustain energy and improve immunity. As a pharmacist, I recommend a quality probiotic to every single individual. It sounds a little crazy, but our overall health starts with gut health! If you need more convincing, listen to this podcast featuring world-renowned and highly published neurosurgeon, David Perlmutter

+ NingXia Red: this antioxidant-rich supplement combines the wolfberry superfruit with orange, yuzu, lemon, and tangerine essential oils, along with blueberry, aronia, cherry, pomegranate, and plum juices for whole-body nutrition. The key ingredient, the wolfberry grown in the NingXia province of China, is touted for its health-supporting benefits, and is a great way to energize, fortify, and revitalize the body and support overall health and wellness, from head to toe. The wolfberry, also known as the orgoji or goji berry, is widely known for its powerful antioxidant potential.  So many things we face daily products oxidative stress on our bodies and our cells, so adding antioxidants to our daily routine is critical for preventing and reversing damage at a cellular, DNA level. Everyone in our house, yes even our littlest!, gets a serving of NingXia Red daily: 2-4 ounces for the adults (we go up to 4 ounces if we have been eating poorly or are under a lot of stress) and 1 ounce for our toddler.

We also love Super B tablets for adrenal support + energy, Essentialzyme for adding back beneficial enzymes, Mineral Essence for micronutrients, and Super C tablets for immune support as well as this high-dose Vitamin D.