young living essential oils

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! 

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.  

September Wellness 02: Go Green

Another thing we are focusing on this month is increasing our vegetable intake! We already eat more vegetables than your average American family, but it is easy to get in a rut or to skip them all together when life gets hectic.

Since saying 'eat more vegetables' isn't measurable or specific, our goal is to have three vegetables at each meal. Yes, each meal, including breakfast. If that seems too overwhelming to you or your current breakfast is a bowl of cereal, let's just start with incorporating one vegetable into each meal. Here is what that typically looks like for us:

This recipe  sounds amazing with simple, but delicious flavors. Just substitute zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash!

This recipe sounds amazing with simple, but delicious flavors. Just substitute zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash!

+ Breakfast: roasted broccoli, zucchini, and kale egg scramble with backyard eggs (organic, free-range and unpasteurized! Hooray for owning chickens!) OR roasted chicken and vegetable soup OR a breakfast salad of mixed greens, green onions, and roasted veggies topped with a fried egg or other protein. 
+ Lunch: a big salad with organic greens, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, roasted broccoli + cauliflower, avocado slices + protein with a homemade dressing or guacamole
+ Dinner: paleo chili with zucchini, bell peppers and eggplant over cauliflower 'rice' OR grilled tuna steaks with roasted brussels sprouts, mashed parsnips and raw coleslaw. This is the easiest meal to incorporate vegetables. 


Insider tips:
+ Wash, cut and roast a variety of vegetables on the weekend to have during the week. Think cauliflower, broccoli, butternut squash, parsnips, sweet potatoes, okra, eggplant, rainbow carrots, beets, anything you like! Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, pepper, garlic and roast. Hardier vegetables like butternut squash and potatoes will take a little longer compared to things like broccoli and okra. 
+ On days when we have smoothies either between meals or as a meal replacement we take a MultiGreens supplement or open the capsules and add them to our smoothies. You can find out more about the company behind our supplements here, and stay tuned for more info on supplements later this week!
+ You can find tips for creating a whole foods pantry and refrigerator here as well as our whole-foods-on-a-budget favorites from Trader Joes and Aldi here and here
+ You can find some of our favorite recipes here and complete month-long meal plans here.

September Wellness 01: Move It

With winter and cold season just around the corner, my family and I are focusing on improving our health and boosting our immunity in September, so I wanted to share some tangible ways in which we are doing that! We are focusing on movement + exercise, eating as many vegetables as possible, being consistent with our supplements and ridding our home of any lingering chemicals or chemical-laden products. I'll be sharing little tidbits over on Instagram if you want to play along!

First up: MOVEMENT
+ Goal: do something, everyday.
It doesn't have to be an hour long workout, but move your body and challenge yourself every. single. day. I get that it is difficult to carve out 60 or even 30 minutes with commuting, kids, a job, whatever, but make it a priority and make it work for you! Maybe that means a long walk around the neighborhood, or a ten minute HIIT workout. Whatever time you have during the day, make it count. I guarantee you can find 5, 10, even 20 minutes to devote to your physical health if you are truly honest with how you spend you time (hello Pinterest! Guilty as charged.)

If you have:
+ 5 minutes: hollow rocks, renegade rows, pull-ups, pushups, good old crunches. You can even do some tabata work: 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest x 8 rounds. I like to do pull-ups, push ups, squats, sit ups for whole-body training in under 5 minutes! 
10 minutes: complete one of these great HIIT workouts
+ 16 minutes: do some sprints. 30 seconds full on sprint, 90 seconds recovery x 8 rounds
+ 20 minutes: complete a metcon (metabolic conditioning workout) and get that heart rate up OR for a low key recovery workout, do some yoga (I personally like the YogaX from P90x)
+ 20-30 minutes: complete one of the videos from this great series
+ 30 minutes or more: mix it up! Go for a trail run, a light jog or a swim, then do some hollow rocks, then stretch it out.

Oily tips:
+ We use peppermint oil + Ningxia Nitro before a workout for a little boost! 
+ We support our post-workout bodies with supplements like BLM (more on that later) and a peppermint protein smoothie.
+ Adding grapefruit oil to your water is another great way to maximize the post-working burning window. Just make sure to use a glass drinking vessel. 
+ Other postworkout favorites: Deep Relief, PanAway, OrthoEase massage oil, copaiba + peppermint oils, lavender for calming.

Other tips:
+ Spend some time foam rolling and stretching while you watch TV.
+ Concentrate on mobilizing any problem areas where you experience any discomfort or have knots. Remember that the root of any discomfort may be upstream (i.e., if your ankle hurts, think about mobilizing from the hip). Here are some good explanations. 
+ Get your spouse, significant other, roommate, best friend to be your workout partner. Having someone else with you will inspire you to stay committed! 

Let's set tangible, measurable goals for movement and make September our best month yet! Want to join me?!

For Him: Natural Cologne

There are certain scents and oils that I gravitate towards because they remind me of my husband. Most of them are woodsy like cedarwood and vetiver, and they remind of being on top of a mountain or out in the woods with my man - a place where we both feel connected to our Creator and to each other. We diffuse these oils a lot in the evenings, and I love how our home smells of the memories we have together. So we decided to make a woodsy oil blend for my husband to wear daily and ditch all of the conventional, chemical-laden colognes. I'm pleased to say that the final product smells so much better than anything store-bought and he gets the added benefit of the aromatherapy from the oils themselves. 

Woodsman Cologne:
13 drops Idaho balsam fir essential oil
10 drops Northern Lights black spruce essential oil
8 drops Idaho blue spruce essential oil
5 drops bergamot essential oil

Add essential oils to a 10 or 15mL roller bottle, then top with a carrier oil. (We like fractionated coconut oil.) Apply to wrists and neck daily as desired. You can also adjust the amount of oils to your liking!

To learn more about why we use oils, go here. To get started on your own oily journey, go here!

Young Living Convention Recap

Last weekend I spent about five days in Texas with my oily family for the Young Living annual convention, and it was such a blast! The days were jam packed with so many great speakers, inspiring leaders, fun new products and lots of self-development. I heard more about growing in your faith and personal development that I did about oils. A fact that I think speaks so highly of this company and their commitment to their members and the health and wellness of us all in all areas - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I also learned so much about the ways in which Young Living gives back to those in need and have since decided to regularly contribute to the Young Living Foundation. The events were a perfect mix of serious, inspiring and fun, and I truly enjoyed just being with my people and meeting new friends. 

<< We kicked off the festivities with an oily cocktail party! Ningxia Red + passion fruit La Croix + grapefruit oil. New favorite! >>

<< My Golden Girls! We got our fancy on for an awards night! >>

<< We got our neon on for a fun run in support of the Young Living Foundation, which is changing live across the planet. I am so honored to be a part of blessing those in need in such big ways. >> 

<< The sessions and workshops were filled with amazing and inspiring speakers including Kyle Maynard, Jon Acuff, and Gary Young himself. Gary talked about the history of the company, showing old photographs from the very first fields he ever planted. To see his dedication, hard work and diligence become his vision was amazing. When I tell you that he built a new distillery in Canada last year, I mean he literally excavated the land, planted the crops, and physically built the distillery himself. What company do you know whose founder is that hands on? It spoke volumes to me. In between the sessions, we mingled, took photos with friends, mentors, and inspiring members and hung out at Club Red - a Ningxia Red bar! My favorite was 'Tingly Lips' which included citrus oils, frankincense and topped with cinnamon bark oil. Now I'll never be able to drink my Ningxia plain again! >>

<< One of the best parts of the trip was meeting and spending time with my people. The amount of love, prayer, encouragement and support from these women (and a few men!) is just overwhelming. The Lord is moving in so many big, amazing ways, and I am so blessed to be doing life with these people! Some of the ladies I was blessed to spend time with include Casey, Kristen, Lesley, Katie, Eryn, Erin, Rebecca, Erin M, and Kristina. >>

I can't wait to go back in June of 2016. Already planning a trip, with my husband along side! 

Lavender + Rosemary Dry Shampoo

One of my favorite beauty products (and one I wanted a natural alternative for) is dry shampoo. My hair does best when I wash it once or twice a week, but I find that since having a little one, my roots get somewhat oily after a day or two. Plus, dry shampoo makes my morning routine all the much quicker. Those of you with long hair know what I mean ;) Sadly, the store bought options have a long list of ingredients I can barely pronounce, so here is the recipe for making your own.

For light hair:
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
3 drops lavender essential oil
3 drops rosemary essential oil

For darker hair:
2T arrowroot powder
2T raw cocoa powder
3 drops lavender essential oil
3 drops rosemary essential oil

Add powders to a food processor and pulse to incorporate. Add essential oils and gently pulse again. You may have to play with the amount of cocoa powder that you add in order to get a shade that is perfect for you. I have a mix of blondes and light brown in my hair, so just 1tsp of cocoa powder was enough for me. I suggest adding the cocoa powder 1tsp or 1T at a time and test it to your root color, adding more if you need. If your mixture becomes too dark, add a little more arrowroot powder to lighten it.  Store your mixture in a glass jar (I like mason jars). When ready to use, apply the powder to the roots of your hair using a makeup brush. And enjoy the calming yet uplifting aroma of the lavender and rosemary as you go throughout your day!

Other oils that would be great if lavender + rosemary isn't your thing: rosemary + peppermint, lavender + peppermint, lavender + copaiba, grapefruit + bergamot, bergamot + patchouli. You can find other ways we use essential oils here and check out a getting started guide here.

Because I love our oils and other Young Living products so much, and because I want everyone to have a chemical-free home, I'm giving away a bottle of rosemary oil to all new members this month! It's a great oil to have on hand during the winter months (we diffuse it a lot!), for making this dry shampoo, for making detox bath salts, for adding to finishing salts for grilled meat, even for making salad dressings! Just create your membership with a premium starter kit, and I'll send you a bottle of rosemary and some other goodies! If you aren't ready to take the plunge with oils but are wanting a chemical-free home, I recommend the Thieves Premium kit which has Thieves oil, household cleaner (favorite!), hand soap, waterless hand purifier, spray, toothpaste and mouthwash as well as some other things. Email me to let me know you're getting started, so I can send over your rosemary! xo

Cucumber Lime Sangria

One of my favorite things about warm weather is backyard patio grilling with friends. The littles playing in the sprinkler, the grill filled with delicious (and healthy!) foods, and conversation with friends. Even when it's just our little family, having a backyard al fresco dinner just makes the days feel more special. I love having a signature drink for such occasions as well, even if we are just celebrating being together. Here's a light, breezy recipe that is perfect for any backyard affair (inspired by this recipe).

Cucumber Lime Sangria:
1 small honeydew melon
1 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
1 lime, thinly sliced
12 fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup honey
750 milliliter bottle Sauvignon blanc or other semi-dry white wine, chilled (optional)
1 liter bottle carbonated water, chilled
3 drops lime essential oil
3 drops orange essential oil
Fresh mint sprigs, lime + cucumber slices for garnish

Remove and discard seeds and rind from the melon and cut it into thin slices. In a large pitcher combine the melon slices, cucumber slices, lime slices, and the 12 mint leaves. In a small bowl stir together lime juice, honey, and essential oils, then pour over the melon mixture. Add wine, if using, stirring gently. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. When ready to serve, stir in the carbonated water and mix well. Pour into individual glasses and garnish with lime, cucumber, and/or mint.

Lavender + Gentle Baby Bath Salts

I love using essential oils in our home for everything, and my beauty products are no exception. We create our own favorite combinations of oils and make roller blend, make our own cleaning products, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. This weekend I decided to take a little 'me time' and created a mini spa experience in my own bathroom. I plugged in the diffuser with balsam fir + lavender (my favorite combo for unwinding!), ran a hot bath, grabbed a book and soaked in the warm water infused with lavender + gentle baby bath salts. This is such a great way to relax and involves almost no effort! 

Gentle baby is one of my favorite oil blends for relaxing! It helps calm emotions and therefore great during pregnancy and for troubled littles. It's also amazingly soothing to the skin, so it's a great choice for adding to bath salts, either for me or for Elliot! Interestingly, many of the oils contained in this blend are used in high-end cosmetic products to enhance a 'youthful appearance.' And no home should be without lavender, the Swiss Army Knife of oils. We use it for so many things! 

Lavender + Gentle Baby Bath Salts:
1/4 cup epsom salt
1/8 cup coarse himalayan salts
3 drops lavender essential oil
2 drops gentle baby essential oil

Mix epsom salt and himalayan salt together, then add in essential oils and mix well. Store in an air-tight glass jar. When you are ready to use the bath salts, scoop out about 2T of the mixture and place it under the running water. This allows the aroma to diffuse throughout the water. Relax and enjoy!