Friday Five: Gua Sua

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Hi friends!  How has your week been?  It has been rainy & cool(ish) here; I am loving it!  I love rainy weather so much.  It makes me grab a coffee or glass of wine, a blanket, a book, the TSF radio station on Alexa, & the fireplace app on my TV.  The wing 9, of my enneagram 1 self, loves all things cozy.

Anyway, shall we move along to my favorite things from the week?

One: New Foundation

Based on the recommendation of Kathleen Jennings, I bought a new foundation.  The Kevyn Aucoin foundation balm is so awesome!  A very little bit goes a long way, and you can layer more on for fuller coverage.  I wear Light FB 02 – but I might try 03 next time.  It covers my blemishes & malasma so well! 8BD0051F-5B57-4C39-9D48-DE1B04E9B04B

Two: Get A Life Chloe Brown

Y’all, I started reading Get A Life Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert.  I love this book so much! Chloe has fibromyalgia & the book chronicles how it has affected her life and love life.  We follow Chloe as she takes back control of her life & falls in love along the way. IMG_2336

The second book dropped this week following Chloe’s sister Dani – Take A Hint Dani Brown.  I can’t wait to start that this weekend!

Three: Gua Sua

Back in February, I bought these Gua Sua (pronounced Gwah-Sah) tools…and promptly put them in a drawer & forgot about them.  Earlier this week Kathleen Jennings did an IG Live with Jennifer Adell; Jennifer did a demonstration on how to use the Gua Sua tools.  I’m now such a fan.  It helps with lymphatic drainage, puffiness, acne, & wrinkles!  Yes please!

Four: Flowerbed Updates

In Quarantine, I was not one of those people that made bread or worked out a ton.  I focused on my garden/flowerbed.  My flowerbed is huge & is the only part of my yard that gets full sun.  My front yard & back yard have about 12 trees each.  So, I dug up old rose bushes (that had trees/weeds growing amongst them too), a sago palm tree, & a bunch of weeds.  Y’all already know about my tower garden, which is doing so well (!!!), but have now also planted oleanders (very drought tolerant), & Bradford pear tree (looks good each season), a bougainvillea (that has ombre pink flowers) & training it to go up a trellis, a slew of flowers, and all the mulch.

The first photo is right after I planted some of the oleanders.  The middle picture is what it currently looks like, & the last photo is a close up of the flowers.

Five: New Podcast

I’m listening to another new podcast – you know I love them so much. 2C552094-0CC1-44C6-8264-18C406B8E65F_1_201_a

So, y’all know I’ve listened to podcasts to educate myself on the atrocities that Black people have endured from 1619, etc.  Well, Higher Learning discusses current events & Black culture, and so much more.  I come away from each episode having learned something new.  Also, Rachel Lindsay was one of my Top 3 favorite Bachelorettes.

Okay, that’s it for the day.  With COVID cases ticking back up, I hope y’all stay home if you can, wear a mask, & wash your hands.  Have a good weekend.

Kiss Hug,

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A Day in the Life: April 7, 2020

Hi friends!  I thought I’d write a post all about what my day looks like.  So, I’m going to list out everything I did today.

6:25am: alarm goes off -> hit snooze

6:32am: 2nd alarm goes off -> hit snooze

6:34am: snooze alarm goes off -> turn it off

6:43am: 2nd snooze alarm goes off -> turn it off -> turn on lamp, turn up the lights on clock, glance at emails

Get up & put YL CBD muscle rub on shoulders & neck -> turn on my news podcasts -> make bed -> head into the bathroom.

Routine in the Bathroom:
1. Clean face with Thayer’s Witch Hazel
2. Used Peter Thomas Roth AHA/BHA Acne Clearing Gel.
3. Put on my Glow Serum on my face & neck: I make this with Young Living essential oils – Lavender, Frankincense, Copaiba, Blue Tansy, Royal Hawaiian Sandalwood, Manuka, & jojoba oil.
4. Under my eyes I swipe on Tula Glow & Get It.34BA9490-3056-4A1A-82E7-DD4983AB7103_1_201_a

While that soaks in, I do the following:
1. Take my Biotin. I use Nature’s Bounty 10,000 mcg.  I have only been able to find this exact one at Target & it is the highest dosage I have found.  They taste good (strawberry) & dissolve quickly.
2. I roll YL Progessence Plus on my forearms.  I use this to help balance & normalize my hormone levels.
3. Then I roll on YL Endoflex over my thyroid for thyroid & metabolism support.
4. Next I roll YL Juvaflex over my liver to help with liver & lymphatic detoxification.
5. Last of the morning oils, I roll YL Joy over my heart because it is uplifting & calming.  Joy also promotes general attitude & emotional well-being; we can all use that right now.  Am I right?

Then I gather all my Juice Plus vitamins (4 berry, 4 veggie, & 4 fruit) & put those aside.  I prefer the gummy vitamins, they taste so good, & eat them while I’m getting ready. 217FC6CC-9DE4-4766-BA49-549224FD5E38_4_5005_c

Okay, so by 7:00am I was in the kitchen making my coffee.  I like this coffee from Amazon, & use any caramel flavored creamer.  Right now I’m using a coconut milk caramel flavored creamer.  While the coffee was brewing, I grabbed a Chobani peach yogurt & filled a small bowl (think salad dressing size in a lunch box) with mini dark chocolate chips & roasted pistachios.  I put the yogurt & toppings in my office & turn on a lamp.  I like for my yogurt to sit out for a little bit to take the cold edge off.  With my coffee in hand, I head back into the bathroom to get ready.

So first up, I put on “weekend” makeup, which consists of concealer, blush, mascara.  I’ve taken all my vitamins by the time I’m done with makeup.

7:30am: still sipping coffee, I start on my hair.  My hair is growing out from a bob & is at a real weird length, so I do have to fix it so that it makes some semblance of order.

7:45am: hair done, coffee done, brush teeth.

7:50am: got dressed – yes, I wear jeans to work from home.  I am much more productive if I am at least dressed “Friday casual” style.

8:00am: got to my desk to start my work day.
Office Diffuser blend today is Peppermint (stimulating), Orange (uplifting), Valor (balancing energies), & Lime (immune support).  It smells so good!

Adjusted thermostat every 10 minutes, trying to get warm.

8:45am: threw a load of laundry in the washer & off to my boss’s house to pickup some equipment to deliver to a client.

9:00am: met my boss & also picked up a face mask my friend Jessica left for me.

9:15am: drove through Starbucks – I know this is so bad, but it was drive through.

9:45 – 10:15am: met client – I’m not going to lie, it felt great to drive my car.  Don’t worry, we maintained social distance.

While I was waiting, I finalized my life insurance policy with my broker over the phone.  Now is a great time to make sure all your paperwork is in order in case something were to happen to you.

10:45am: stopped at Walgreens, totally forgot to get what I went in there for.  Instead, it looked like I gave a 10yo $40 to pick out snacks for a road trip.

11:00am: picked up lunch from Herb & Beet (pickup only).  I was really worried about this small business closing permanently, so I was really excited to see that they were doing pickups.

11:15am: unloaded my Walgreens “groceries,” switched over the laundry to the dryer, & washed the dishes from last night.

11:30am: back at my desk, working with my Texas Brisket salad and mac & cheese. 664E90DA-ECDE-40AF-8405-C689597FB1A0_1_201_a

Made a mess of my shirt, & promptly changed into yoga pants & a sweatshirt.  Back to work.  Ugh, there is a fly in my house.

3:00pm: took a 10 minute break to do an arm workout with Obé Fitness.  My arms are going to fall off after that one.

4:09pm: I hear the ducks have returned to my yard to hold me hostage once again.

5:00pm: virtual HH with Amy & Maureen!  Y’all, I have perfected my Coconut Mojito recipe & will share it on my Friday Five!

6:00pm: made dinner – Trader Joe’s Carnitas with Salsa Verde burrito & guacamole with Elote chips.

7:00pm: watched Watch What Happens Live & Hometown that I fell asleep during on Monday.

8:00pm: watched Vanderpump Rules
Living Room Diffuser Blend: Anthropologie Volcano candle blend – YL Orange, Grapefruit, Lime, Idaho Blue Spruce, & Geranium.

9:00pm: watched Shahs of Sunset from last Friday.

10:00pm: Bedtime Routine:
1. Turn on diffuser: blend is Thieves & Lemon for immune support.
2. Used Bliss Makeup Melt to remove mascara.
3. Wash face with YL Orange Blossom face wash.
4. Used Thayer’s Witch Hazel for toner.
5. Used Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Peel (I’d like to do this every other day, but only remember about once a week).
6. Used prescription acne gel.
7. NeuLASH lash enhancing serum. 5DA4AED0-2560-4D17-8019-701DF39E1231

10:15pm: In Bed Routine:
1. Spray Thieves on the bottom of my feet.
2. Roll YL Tranquil from shoulder, across my clavicle, to the other shoulder (sleep support).
3. Roll YL Soothe CBD oil on the back of my neck (for chronic neck & shoulder pain).
4. Put on chapstick.
5. Put on Olive & June cuticle oil.
6. Read Only You until 11:00pm.  Lights out.

One thing I left off this list is every time I washed my hands.  If I touched something, then I washed my hands.

Was this interesting?

I’ll be back Friday for my Friday Five & the RHONY Recap.

Kiss Hug,

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Quarantainment Ideas

Hi friends!  This week is business as usual for me, as I work from home.  However, I know many of you will start to go stir crazy (if you haven’t already) as you responsibly socially distance yourself from the world.

But, have no fear!  I have compiled a list of stuff for your quarantainment on your Coronacation.  See what I did there?

So, to me the most obvious thing to do is to read.  I’ve already finished two books since last Friday.  I just started Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams, recommended by Becca & Grace from the Bad on Paper podcast.  I have 24 books in my queue on my Nook.

Ideas:

  1. Make your bed & get dressed everyday.  This will help you keep your sanity.
  2. Form a new habit – the proverbial they says it takes 21 days to make a habit.
  3. It’s finally time to join that fitness app you were thinking about.  I’m thinking of Obe Fitness.  Have any of tried this?
  4. Do a puzzle.  You have so many types to choose from: jigsaw, word search, crossword, Hidden Pictures, etc.  Funny story, but a few weeks ago I got rid of some jigsaw puzzles.  Fast forward, I ordered 4 new ones last Saturday.  Oy vey.
  5. Make a playlist.  You can listen to mine, Quarantunes, here.
  6. You could finally binge watch all the shows in your Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime queue.  Mama J & my friend Maureen both just started Schitt’s Creek at my urging.  They are loving it.7E1F31E9-FF3E-4204-A0FF-8C127D3DB89C_4_5005_c
  7. Clean out your closet & donate stuff you don’t wear anymore.
  8. Now is a fantastic time to unsubscribe from all your junk emails.  I recently did this & it was so freeing!  I deleted all my junk mail, & then as the emails came in each day I unsubscribed.  I’ve gone from 1600 emails every week to about 20, & the ones left are bots.
  9. Lots of musicians are doing concerts online.  John Legend has one coming up soon.
  10. @whatkatefinds on IG is doing a live talk show everyday on IGTV with other influencers.  She has great people lined up so far!  They start today at 3pm CST; she’ll be talking to the founder of Olive & June.
  11. There are many museums doing live tours online…for free.  I think I’ll explore the Lueve in case I never make it to Paris.
  12. Now is a great time to learn how to give yourself an at home manicure.
  13. You could face mask a la Kathleen Jennings.
  14. Make a new recipe.  Tonight I’ll be making the King Ranch Casserole from The Defined Dish.
  15. Learn to make a new cocktail or take an online wine course.
  16. Learn a new language – that could be so fun!
  17. Spring cleaning Danny Tanner style. C5931B32-2C4D-4885-ACF9-1EEFC8FFC37F_4_5005_c
  18. Rearrange your furniture.
  19. Try a DIY project you’ve had your eye on.  @prettyonfridays is a great account to follow on IG.
  20. Rewatch your favorite TV series – Gilmore Girls, FRIENDS, Murphy Brown, My Two Dads, MASH…the sky is the limit!

Do y’all have anything you are doing to keep sane during these trying times?  I don’t have kiddos, so no school schedule to worry about; although I wonder if that makes somewhat easier schedule wise?

I hope you all hang in there.  Let me know if you do something fun!

Kiss Hug,

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COVID-19: Don’t Panic, Be Proactive!

Hi friends!  I know what you’re thinking “Oh god, not another thing about Coronavirus!” But guys, I hate to say it but COVID-19 is here & will be for a few months yet.  So, let’s get into it shall we?

Look, I know there is a lot of misinformation, anger, frustration, & panic surrounding Coronavirus.  Normally, I’m not one to wade into the fray, but I have been seeing so much vitriol & ignorance online that I felt compelled to say something.

Has Coronavirus directly affected me?

No, not that I know of.

Do I know anyone directly affected by COVID-19?

Again, not that I know of.  We are in the exponential growth phase of this pandemic. Cases will double every 4 – 7 days, meaning US cases will be well into 2,000 by next week.  You can get real time updates of how many confirmed cases are your area here.

How contagious is Coronavirus?

The contagious life cycle of this virus is not just 14 days.  It is from 8 to 37 days and the severe cases are actually more prevalent in the 14-49 age group. And then add in all the factors that contribute into making you more of a risk – age, underlying health issues, auto-immune diseases, obesity, heart conditions, & so on.  So, if Person A is told to stay put for 2 weeks because they may just have mild symptoms and then goes out, and exposes people from days 15-37 of their virus life cycle.  Most people, realistically, aren’t going to stay home for months making it a very tough thing to navigate.

Is Coronavirus destroying the economy?

This is a partial truth.  It is effecting the economy somewhat, especially the Hospitality industry; we most likely won’t know the full effects for a few weeks or months.  The Coronavirus is related to the stock market dips; however, the temper tantrums being thrown by Russia & Saudi Arabia regarding oil prices, is probably a bigger concern to the economy.  In this week’s episode of Pod Save the World, Tommy & Ben (the hosts) spell this out very clearly.  It’s a great listen.

Should I panic & stock up on everything?

I am not one of these people panicking.  I haven’t been to Costco, and I love Costco, to stock up on toilet paper & hand sanitizer.  In fact, I have been living my life as I always have…with more precaution.  But, now I frequently ask myself “Did that person wash their nasty hands?” or “I wonder if they have it & don’t know it” or “Man, would I thrive in a quarantine!”

How to stay calm:

This is from Dr. Samantha Boardman via @jessicayellin on IG.  “Your anxiety is understandable.  Unanswerable questions coupled with conflicting information, especially from government officials & experts, further fuels fear.  One moment, you’re told it’s no big deal and the next, schools are shutting down.  Mixed messages are confusing & amplify uncertainty.  It’s no wonder people are panicking.  Facts not fear.  Clean hands.  Open hearts.  Our children will thank us for it.”

Why are all my plans getting cancelled?

I get it.  It sucks when a concert we want to go to gets cancelled.  But, I really don’t understand the outrage & fury over big events getting cancelled, like SXSW & the Houston Rodeo, Coachella getting postponed, etc.  I get it, the Hospitality industry is losing out on tons of revenue; I truly get it.  This is the perfect time to start tipping service industry people; tip more than you normally would.  But, stop complaining about it – public safety is what is most important.  The good of the whole is far better than the good of a few.

What is social distancing?

I’m sure every introvert loves this term.  At this point the WHO has officially declared a global pandemic, so social distancing is the best way to slow down the spread of COVID-19.  Let us also not forget that just because you have no symptoms does not mean that you are not contagious.  Yes, I know that more people have died from the flu & cold this year, but quite frankly I don’t want you to pass around the flu either – that’s just common sense.

Also, limiting the spread helps hospitals actually treat those that are ill.  Hospitals in the US are at 68% capacity on a normal day, now we’ve added a pandemic & a certain level of hysteria – our flawed medical system & infrastructure can’t handle the uptick.  The goal is to treat people in phases, instead of all at once.  Thus, social distancing.  You’ll also hear about “flattening the curve” – this is the treatment of those infected in phases.

Don’t believe me, here are some facts from legit sources, the CDC & Vox.A4115F74-F209-4DFE-910C-D2A61B5126A7_1_201_a0957CCFA-1766-4C69-BBE0-96CB55719AFE_1_201_a

Okay, so what should I do?

It is all of our responsibility to be proactive, even if you think this is not a big deal.  So, here’s some practical advice:

  • Don’t panic, but be proactive.
  • Telling someone to “calm down,” does not make anyone clam down.
  • Avoid places where there will be crowds of more than 250 people.
  • Work from home if you can – I’ve never been so happy to have a job where I work from home.
  • If you’re sick – STAY HOME.
  • Use virtual care/apps/hotlines first (not the ER) if you can
  • Avoid touching your face – this is personally hard for me, my face has never had so many itches!
  • Remember, don’t panic and don’t become selfish in the midst of a potential crisis.  Buying all the Clorox wipes may help a smidge, but do you really need ALL of them?  Toilet paper & water is not the first line of defense int his case.
  • Order groceries online & do curbside pickup or have them delivered.
  • Also, wash your nasty hands!  Think about how many germs you come into contact with during the day.  Coronavirus can live on surfaces for 9 days.  Let me say that again.  NINE DAYS.
  • This is my personal favorite “Wash your hands song.” 5894F8F9-A0AD-4053-96FB-44546F8E2C53

Here are some helpful links:

CDC.gov

World Health Organization

John Hopkins Medicine

The Guardian

The Atlantic

Now that our beloved Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson have COVID-19, it has gone A-list! All of this to say, keep calm & be proactive.

Wash your hands,

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Trader Joe’s Haul

Hi friends!  I don’t know about you, but I love when other people post their Trader Joe’s hauls.  All Trader Joe’s are not created equal – mine for example is one of the smaller ones.  Sad face.  With that said, I always still find plenty to fill my cart no matter the season.

This what I bought on a quick sashay through on my way to dog sit for Spring Break. 84929492-3D1E-48B5-B82D-D7A2430DBC8B

Shopping List from the refrigerated section:

  • ready-made lasagna (not pictured because I already cooked it & had it for dinner)
  • carnitas with salsa verde burrito
  • peanut & crispy noodle salad kit (I LOVE an Asian salad)
  • veggies & greens salad kit
  • crunchy slaw ready-made salad
  • lemon chicken & arugula ready-made salad (my favorite)
  • garlic hummus snack packs
  • arugula & parmigiano reggiano ravioli
  • Italian sausage & 4 cheese ravioli (so good!)

Shopping List from the freezer section:

  • orange chicken bowl
  • riced cauliflower stir fry
  • beef & broccoli
  • cheese & tomato pizza

Shopping List from the shelves:

  • chocolate glazed donuts (not pictured as I hid them from the dogs)
  • thumb print cookies
  • pancake bread (breakfast or dessert?)
  • spaghetti squash
  • salsa verde
  • TJ’s marinara sauce
  • corn & poblano chowder
  • white cheddar puffs
  • elote corn chip dippers (run don’t walk for these!)

I went shopping on Friday, it’s now Monday, & I’ve gone through three quarters of the bag of the elote chips.  Y’all, they taste exactly like street corn or Mexi-Corn Dip (if you’re Southern, you know what this dip is).  I ate these with guacamole & pretty much found Mecca.7065EEBB-A1F7-430B-ACC3-C863524A2442For those of you who can’t handle the heat, you will think these chips are kinda spicy as they do have a kick.  I’ll be stock piling these for Corona Virus…that’s the one thing we need right?

Now, for all the sweets…  I don’t typically buy sweets, and when I do they are usually sour straws or something not too sweet like shortbread; however, 2020 has been the year of chocolate craving so far.  Great.  I kinda did a lot of impulse shopping in Trader Joe’s this time…I’m lying, every time.  Every.  Single.  Time.  To be honest, I only had shortbread cookies on my list, but I think it was a Fall/Winter item as they were nowhere to be found.  Oh, the devastation.

What are some of your favorite things from Trader Joe’s?  Leave a comment with your recs.  About 2/3 of my list were things I have never tried.  Anyone else go grocery shopping & then decide you’re too tired to cook after that strenuous hour in the store? Yeah, me neither.

Anyway, I hope y’all have a great week, & make sure to was your hands often!  Until Friday…

Kiss Hug,

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Hallmark Movie Favorites

Hi friends!  I’ve decided to try something new here…Hallmark movie recaps!  I mean, I’m watching them every weekend anyway, right?  Right.

First things first, I don’t know about you but I definitely have favorite Hallmark stars, some that I could take or leave, & some that I will not watch the movie if they are in it.  Let’s dive in a little deeper, shall we?

My Favorites are: Favorites

If any of these folks are in the movie, I am watching it with my full attention.  Most likely it will be on my list of favorites for the season as well.

Rachel Boston is my absolute favorite!  Emilie Ullerup & Brendan Penny are not far behind.  I love all of their movies.

My Take It or Leave Its are: Take It or Leave It

So with these leading ladies, chances are I’ll watch the movie but also be scrolling on Instagram or something.

Autumn Reeser should only be allowed to do the Fall movies because her eye & hair color are perfectly suited for Fall foliage…and her name is Autumn.  I know Danica McKellar & Lacey Chabert are fan favorites, & I like them too, but I’m a little tired of them.

My Nopes are: Nope

Now don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with these women.  I just personally don’t enjoy most of their movies.  Candace Cameron Bure seems to own Hallmark or something, & quite frankly I’m ready to relegate her to her mystery channel permanently.

My Honorable Mentions are: Honorable Mentions

I wish Hallmark would cast these ladies more; I’ve really enjoyed all of their movies.  I’m pretty sure at least half have been in movies with Luke Macfarlane from my Favorites List.  Your move Hallmark.

Who are your hallmark favorites?  Who did I forget?

Kiss Hug,

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My So-Called Oily Life

For the last couple years I’ve been dabbling in essential oils, but went hardcore into Young Living after being introduced to Thieves (my gateway drug) last winter by my friend Keely. Thieves 2

When I lived in Austin, pretty much the majority of my life, I suffered every fall & spring with allergies, so much so that I would get steroid shots in my tush to knock the allergies out of my system.  Austin is a great outdoor lifestyle city, but it is a huge hub for allergies.  Ugh.  About seven years ago I moved to the Houston area, & low and behold, my allergies disappeared!  Y’all, I thought I won the lottery…until about two years ago.  I was lucky enough (eyes rolling all the way back inside my head) to develop new allergies. allergies

So, while babysitting Keely’s boys I had the sniffles, but told her not worry that it was just allergies.  She quickly suggested diffusing a concoction of oils while I sleep to help get rid of them.  I just as quickly thanked her & promptly blew her off…until I stopped being able to sleep due to said allergies.

I ordered an oil diffuser from Amazon & some essential oils.  The oils I ordered were not anything special and helped maybe only slightly.  I was also “guilty” of buying oils from the grocery store.  cheap oilsAt this point I was not fully onboard with the whole essential oil trend, but ordered Young Living lavender & peppermint from Keely.  Side note: with quality oils, lavender + peppermint + lemon + eucalyptus is the magic blend for allergy sufferers.  I encourage everyone with generic lavender to get a bottle of YL lavender & just smell the difference…it is a game changer.

Last winter I got really sick with the flu, like I was down for two weeks.  I had chills, aches, the fever tears (you know when your eyes leak hot tears).  Keely came by my house & dropped off a 3-pack of Thieves spray – it is THE oil to use for immunity.  At this point, I was already too sick for anything but antibiotics to help me.  Yes, you read that right, medicine still has it’s time & place.  Once I was better, I used Thieves every night on the bottoms of my feet.  Y’all, I haven’t even had drainage, a cough, a sniffle, nothing since New Years.  We are now at November 20th, let that sink in.

To this day, my nightly routine is:

  1. Wash face, put on glow serum (made from oils).
  2. Diffuse lavender + cedarwood + frankincense – best combo to sleep like the dead.
  3. Spray Thieves on the bottom of my feet.
  4. Lights out, sweet dreams.

Okay, let me tell you a little about what oils are, etc. YL

What are they?
Essential Oils are the aromatic, volatile liquids distilled from plants.  The oil can be obtained from the roots, seeds, shrub, flowers, leaves, & trees and bring health & healing to the body.  The chemistry is extremely complex & may consist of hundreds of different & unique chemical compounds.  They are able to reach every part of our bodies on a cellular level.

Ways to use them:
Topically: apply to your skin or use a carrier oil.
Aromatically: diffuse using a Young Living ultrasonic diffuser or inhale directly from the bottle.
Internally: place oils in a vegetable capsule, fill with a carrier oil, & take like a supplement, add oils to food or drinks, or place directly in your mouth.

Fun facts:
Oils reach the brain within 22 seconds.
Within 2 minutes, they are found in your bloodstream.
And within 20 minutes, they will affect every cell in the body.

Are essential Oils safe?
Essential oils have been used to support our bodies for thousands of years across the world; therefore, we have thousands of years of history & research behind what they can do.  Although is may that essential oils are trendy, rest assured that they have been used for a long time.  In the spirit of the Holiday Season, two of the three Wisemen brought  Frankincense & Myrrh to the manger.

With that said, it’s important to get your oils from the right place to ensure you are only getting the pure oil & no other additives such as fragrance & fillers.  Unfortunately, there is no FDA regulation for essential oils; so many companies are claiming to have pure, therapeutic grade oils but testing shows they are not.  These can actually be dangerous, & many times when you hear stories about pets or people being harmed, it’s usually not the oil, but the additive.  how to

Scary Information About Everyday Products:
There is no federal regulation on chemicals in household products.  In terms of household cleaners, neither ingredients nor products must meet any sort of safety standard, nor is any testing data or notification required before bringing a product to market.

The average household contains about 62 toxic chemicals, per environmental experts.  We’re exposed to the routinely, from the phthalates in synthetic fragrances to the noxious fumes in oven cleaners.  Ingredients in common household products have been linked to asthma, cancer, reproductive disorders, hormone disruption, & neurotoxicity.  Chronic exposure adds to the body’s “toxic burden,” the number of chemicals stored in its issues at a given time.

Words to Know:
Phthalates:
Found in: many fragranced household products, such as air fresheners, dish soap, even toilet paper.  Because of proprietary laws, companies don’t have to disclose what’s in their scents, so you won’t find phthalates on a label.  If you see “fragrance” on a label, there’s a good chance phthalates are present.

Perchloroethylene:
Found in: Dry-cleaning solutions, stain removers, & carpet and upholstery cleaners.

Health risks: Perc is a neurotoxin, according to the chief scientist of environmental protection for New York Attorney General’s office.  And, the EPA classifies Perc as a “possible carcinogen” as well.

Triclosan:
Found in: Most liquid dishwashing detergents and hand soaps labeled “antibacterial.”

Triclosan is an aggressive antibacterial agent that can promote the growth of drug-resistant bacteria.  Other studies have now found dangerous concentrations of triclosan in rivers & streams, where it is toxic to algae.  the EPA is currently investigating whether triclosan may also disrupt endocrine (hormonal) function.  It is a probable carcinogen.

Quats (Quarternary Ammonium Compounds):
Found in: Fabric softener liquids & sheets, most household cleaners labeled “antibacterial.”  Quats are another type of antimicrobial, & thus pose the same problem as triclosan by helping breed antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

They’re also a skin irritant & are suspected as a culprit for respiratory disorders.

2-Butoxyetanol:
Found in: Window, kitchen, & multipurpose cleaners.

Health risks: 2-Butoxyethanol is the key ingredient in many window cleaners & gives them their characteristic sweet smell.  It belongs in the category of “glycol ethers,” a set of powerful solvents that don’t mess around.  Law does not require 2-Butoxyethanol to be listed on a product’s label.  According to the EPA’s website, in addition to causing sore throats when inhaled, at high levels glycol ethers can also contribute to narcosis, pulmonary edema, & severe liver & kidney damage.

Ammonia:
Found in: Polishing agents for bathroom fixtures, sinks, & jewelry; also in glass cleaner.  Because ammonia evaporates & doesn’t leave streaks, it’s another common ingredient in commercial window cleaners.  Ammonia is very dangerous to elderly people with lung issues & breathing problems & people who get a lot of ammonia exposure, like housekeepers, will often develop chronic bronchitis & asthma.  Ammoinia can also create poisonous gas if it’s mixed with bleach.

Candles:
Most candles are made of paraffin wax, which creates highly toxic benzene & toluene when burned (both are known carcinogens).  In fact, the toxins released from paraffin candles are the same as those found in diesel fuel fumes. safe

So, why did I choose Young Living?

  1. It is the only company that has FDA approved oils for ingestion.  That’s right, you can cook with these oils, or spray Thieves in the back of your throat to suppress a cold.
  2. Over the next 5 years, YL will take their global operations to zero waste status.  I love this so much!
  3. I am now basically my own apothecary.  I’ve made the following so far: glow serum for my face, body butter, “soft scrub,” household cleaner, hair detangler, bug spray, spider spray for the house, under eye serum…that’s all I can recall at the moment.

Some of my Young Living favorites:
NingXia Red: NingXia provides natural energy support, promotes glowing skin, powerful antioxidant, supports healthy blood sugar levels, contributes to overall wellness, & provides an immune boost.

One serving of NingXia Red has the antioxidant equivalent of: 73 strawberries, 100 oranges, 85 pounds of spinach, 22 carrots, 34 onions, 59 heads of broccoli, 93 apples, 33 pounds of almonds, & 814 blueberries.

Super B vitamins: B vitamins are the only vitamins that the body doesn’t naturally reproduce, so we have to replenish them daily.  Two of these a day gets the job done!  Full disclosure, take them with food or a flavored beverage if you are sensitive to smell.

Thieves household cleaner, foaming hand soap (I hated foaming soap before), & laundry detergent.  I’m trying to use up all my dishwasher detergent & dish soap before switching to Thieves.

Pretty much everything else I make with the oils I get.  My next endeavor will be in the laundry room: stain remover & EO “bleach.”  I also have some fun treats coming up for the gals coming to my birthday wine weekend in December!

I’ve thrown out all of my candles & now exclusively use my diffuser.  I’m not crazy, or a hippie – this is an investment.  It is not inexpensive.  I recommend slowly easing your way into getting rid of the toxins in your home.  replace the bad with the good.  Figure out what your gateway drug will be.

If you are interested in Young Living or ahve any questions, you are welcome to get in touch with me.  If you get nothing else out of this, I hope you now have some food oils for thought…

Kiss Hug,

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Harvey: Houston Strong

Hi All,

I do promise to get back to recapping our favorite shows, Bachelor in Paradise, Real Housewives, etc.  But, I want to take a moment to talk to you about Hurricane Harvey & the Houston Flood.  This is my personal account of my first hurricane & the last six days…that’s right, six (6) days!  This is truly analogy of my reality.

Let’s start at the beginning…

Thursday, August 24th:  Houston expected some rain with possible flooding.
Hurricane Harvey is expected to hit between Brownsville, TX & Corpus Christi, TX.

I had no idea what I needed to do to prep for a hurricane, but my fellow coworkers quickly educated me.  I was told to go buy as much water as I can, food that doesn’t need to be kept cold & food that I wouldn’t have to cook, & to fill my bath tub with water (I thought this one was so strange).  By Thursday evening, most water was sold out from grocery stores, but I managed to get six 32 ounce bottles from Walgreens, which I will be donating to a local shelter.  I was told the purpose of filling up your bathtub is for when the power goes out, you can use that water to boil & to fill your toilet tank so you can flush it.  Color me shocked!  I also learned to charge all electronics & keep them plugged in as much as possible – makes sense.  I’ve never been so happy that I spent $40 on my 10 foot charging cord.

Thursday evening I discovered that my water heater had been spewing water all over my garage for part of the day, so that was fun.  I had to call my landlord out to turn it off as I couldn’t figure it out.  Let’s just be clear here, not a huge problem by any means, but I had no water at the start of a potential natural disaster.

Friday, August 25th:  Light rain falling in Houston
Hurricane Harvey is expected to hit Corpus Christi, TX, which is 200 miles from Houston.

I went into work as usual.  I arrived at the office around 7am, & I was the first one there – this never happens.  I immediately got worried that the proverbial “they” had cancelled work & forgot to tell me.  I went about my business & turned on all the lights & got to work.   After about 15 minutes, other coworkers arrived – whew!  Around 9am, our HSE Manager informed everyone that our four Houston offices would be closing at noon.

Since Friday was a pay day, yes that really made a difference, I went back to the grocery store to get food that didn’t need to be kept cold or cooked.  Bananas, apples, bread, peanut butter, crackers, batteries for flashlights…you get the idea.

Around this time, my landlord informed me that a plumber couldn’t to my house until Saturday as they were prepping for the rain, which I thought was crazy because the weather was supposed to be worse on Saturday.

At this point, Houston’s Mayor Sylvester Turner (I love him) told Houston residents not to evacuate; we still assumed that the Houston area would just be getting some rain much like San Antonio & Austin.  Governor Abbott, who does not reside in the Houston area, told people to evacuate.  Clear miscommunication here.  You can’t see me, but I’m rolling my eyes at Governor Abbott.

Once I got home, I was glued to my TV watching the Weather Channel.  At 10pm, Hurricane Harvey hit Port Aransas, TX as a Category 4 hurricane, moving at only 2 miles per hour.  Parts of Port A (Texans call it that) were a 100% loss.

Harvey’s projected path as of Friday: Harvey's Path

Rain steadily increased throughout the night.

Saturday, August 26th:
Lots of rain as I woke up Saturday morning.  However, this was the view from my front porch in The Woodlands, about 15 miles north of Houston.  This ditch fills, but drains very quickly…My house

My TV wasn’t working, so I got a lot of my news from social media this morning. I turned my AC way down, anticipating that the electricity would go out at some point, & thinking that it would help take time for my house to heat back up.  Its still August in Texas, y’all.

I learned that Hurricane Harvey had been downgraded over night to Tropical Storm Harvey, but only moving at 1-2 miles per hour.  That meant it was spinning over Port Aransas & Victoria, TX & that the “dirty” side of the storm was hovering over Houston dropping 3-6″ of rain per hour.  At this point, people were being asked to shelter in place as the roads were quickly flooding.

Good news was that my water heater was fixed!

Sunday, August 27th:
I woke up to this image on the news Sunday morning: Sunday

My house was still safe & dry with only 20″ of rain falling so far at my house, but I could not turn away from the devastation being reported.  Let me put this in perspective, I had 20″ of rain over 2 days; parts of Houston got 20″ of rain in a few hours.  Some people had flooding in their homes in a matter of 45 minutes.  I couldn’t help but be so thankful that I was safe & warm; I also cried intermittently because I was so overwhelmed at the loss I was seeing.

People were told to get on their roofs, & if they couldn’t to put a white sheet, towel, or paper in their window so first responders knew to evacuate the people in those homes. Hospitals became flooded.  All of the news coverage was focused on Houston & southern suburbs, so I kept checking Facebook for updates on The Woodlands.

Spring Creek, which runs throughout The Woodlands & Spring, finally crested & over flowed Sunday afternoon.

Help from everywhere flooded the city & surrounding areas.  Citizens with jet skis, boats, & high-water vehicles were asked to lend a helping hand. Neighbors helping neighbors. Help arrived in the form of: the National Guard, the US Coast Guard, the Cajun Navy, Red Cross, FEMA, United Way, local & state law enforcement, fire fighters, & so many others.

Monday, August 28th:
My office was closed due to flooding.  Luckily, our suite is on the second floor.

The rain seemed to slow down a bit, at least at my house, but the water was still on the rise.  All rain north of the Houston area was flowing south trying to get to the Gulf of Mexico.

Things finally seemed calm enough for me to venture out, so I went to my friend Amy’s house.  Her husband was bbq’ing, & I learned how to play “Crazy” Rumi, with special family rules.  We have to take the light-hearted moments where we can get them.

Tuesday, August 29th:
The office is still closed.  I’m working from home, while gathering clothes & such to donate.

Harris County (Houston) & Montgomery County (The Woodlands) are doing controlled releases of the local reservoirs & levees to help maintain the integrity of the dams hoping to minimize flooding.

As of 2:22pm, 9 civilians & Sergeant Steven Perez, of the Houston PD, have lost their lives.  Please keep the fine folks of Texas in your thoughts & prayers.

Why didn’t people evacuate?
Red this article: Why Didn’t Officials Order The Evacuation Of Houston?

Victim

How you can help:
General help:
Text 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross
Donate to the United Way
Donate at youcaring.org/JJWatt
Purchase a Texas Forever tshirt from theshopforward.com or Magnolia
Purchase something from Kendra ScottKendra Scott

Help children:
Donate to Texas Diaper Bank
Donate to The Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi

Help animals:
Donate to Houston SPCA
Donate to Austin Pets Alive!

Help people with medical needs:
Donate to Portlight
Donate to Direct Relief USA

Help farmers:
Donate to STAR Fund

Help the homeless:
Donate to Coalition for the Houston Homeless

Food Banks:
Houston Food Bank
832-369-9390
houstonfoodbank.org
Galveston Food Bank
409-945-4232
galvestoncountyfoodbank.org
Food Bank of the Golden Crescent (Victoria)
361-578-0591
victoriafoodbank.org
Closed Friday
Corpus Christi Food Bank
361-887-6291
foodbankcc.com
Southeast Texas Food Bank (Beaumont)
409-839-8777
setxfoodbank.org
Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley (Pharr)
956-682-8101
foodbankrgv.com
Brazos Valley Food Bank (Bryan)
979-779-3663
bvfb.org
Central Texas Food Bank (Austin)
512-282-2111
centraltexasfoodbank.org
San Antonio Food Bank
210-337-3663
safoodbank.org
You can also list your home on Airbnb for those displaced.

Things I’ve learned:
Ant beds float…as if bugs weren’t gross enough.
The Texas Rangers are assholes.  Read this article from Deadspin.
Houstonians are beautiful and awesome and hopeful.  This is the America I know & love. Houston
The reporters covering this catastrophe need raises.  They risked their lives to help rescue folks in need.  ABC 13’s Courtney Fischer gave me all the feels.

I’ll be honest, I’ve really had to force myself to not be offended by non-Texans talking about things other than Harvey.  I’m sorry, but I can’t bring myself to care about the MMA fight, or the VMAs, or Taylor Swift’s new song right now.  I just don’t care.  These trivial things do not matter at the best of times.

I’m happy to be safe & dry.  I will be volunteering this week at local shelters.  Please do what you can to help, even if it is just sending positive vibes our way.  Thank you.

Kiss Hug,

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Bachelor Recap: The End

Y’all, I’ve been so bad!  SorryI took an impromptu break from recapping The Bachelor.  It inadvertently coincided with the announcement of Rachel as the next Bachelorette, which I’m so thrilled about.  However, once she left the show I knew Vanessa was the shew-in for the final rose; oddly enough, it didn’t hurt my feelings that Rachel was announced so early.

On the other hand, I got so bored with Nick’s season.  I felt like he was kind of producing as he went along, being that he is a veteran in the Bachelor community.  Y’all know my love/hate relationship with the show.  Once they’ve been on The Bachelor/ette & BIP, they’ve run their course & I’m done with them.

Another grievance I have with the show, ahem Mike Fleiss ahem, is that the show seems to be going more towards competing with UnREAL in the drama department & I am so not into that.  Love UnREAL & I love the Bachelor, but I want a separation of church & state.  I’m miss the good ol’ days of Andrew Firestone, Brad Womack, Emily Maynard, & Jillian Harris.  They actually seemed to be in it to find love.  Yes, I said Brad Womack & I mean it…both his seasons.  I actually wouldn’t mind if he came back for a third season – he’s so pretty!  Somewhere I have a picture of me with Brad, & his twin Chad, outside Manuel’s on South Congress in Austin.  Swoon – they are beautiful!  Swoon

All this to say, I will be back recapping soon with Southern Charm (my GOAT), RHONY, & The Bachelorette!  Within the next week, I will update my #SoutherCharm Cast Analysis, which you can read here.  In case you’re wondering -& I know you are – I still have the hots for Shep Rose. Shep

Keep checking back for new content…I swear I will be better!

Kiss Hug,

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Best of 2016: Podcasts

Thanks to my lovely cousin Kimberly, I have been introduced to the world of podcasts.  I’m totally late to the game, but I’m now fully obsessed.  I thought I would compile a list of my favorite podcasts from this past year, just in case you’re not already listening to them. 🙂

Greatest Of All Time (GOAT): GOAT.gif

The Popcast with Knox & Jamie

This is the podcast that got me hooked on all podcasts in general; it’s my cocaine if you will.  My cousin insisted that I listen to at least one episode, as she thought Jamie & I were soul sisters.  The first episode I listened to they deciphered what emojis actually mean.  This is a hilarious podcast – I am Jamie Golden on most levels (except I love Tom Hanks & she does not – blasphemy, I know!) & I love Knox’s weezy laugh, newsletters, & the cold opens that he sneaks in for us.  They both really engage with their listeners on social media as well, so I feel like I know them & that we are friends IRL.

Reality TV Podcasts: 

Bitch Sesh: A Real Housewives Breakdown

If you’re not listening to this podcast – what are you doing with your life?  For real?  For. Real.  Casey (great name & correct spelling) & Danielle are hilarious!  Like, my face hurts after each episode from laughing so much.  They’ve introduced me to some great wines, although we are all now boycotting Whispering Angel.  They’ve also introduced me to some lifestyle choices that I may adopt for 2017 (bullet journaling, meditation, etc.).  They have contributed to my hatred for some housewives (& house husbands) & have changed my mind for the better towards some.  I died laughing when Danielle had the audacity to compare Kenya Moore to Alex McCord – I personally think Danielle was on the right track, but Casey’s reaction was gut busting!

Here To Make Friends – A Bachelor Recap Show

If you love The Bachelor, then you need to listen to this podcast.  They recap each episode of Bachelor franchise shows.  Emma & Claire work for the Huffington Post; they dissect all the contestants (their flaws & good qualities).  I love that they call out the contestants, the actual Bachelor, & ABC when something doesn’t sit right with them/America (looking at you diversity).

The Bitch Bible

This podcast is hosted by Jackie Schimmel.  She is hilarious & unapologetic.  She recaps all the trash TV that I watch.  All the Housewives, Vanderpump Rules, Southern Charm, The Bachelor, etc.

Will You Accept This Rose?

This podcast is hosted by comedians Arden Myrin & Erin Foley.  They frequently have other comedians, actors, & past Bachelor contests guest host with them to recap each episode of The Bachelor.  This show is a little chaotic, only because there is so much laughing going on.

Lifestyle Podcasts:

Ladies Who Lunch

This is a kind of mellow podcast, hosted by YouTubers Ingrid Nilsen & Cat Valdes.  They basically discuss real life issues over lunch.  These gals talk about anything from the election to online dating and everything in between.

LadyGang

I love this podcast, & they just won Podcast of the Year!  Congrats to Becca Tobin, Keltie Knight, & Jac Vanek!  They basically talk about their lives, interview accomplished women (or supporters of women), & answer listeners questions.  Keltie is Type A (loves rules – me too!), Jac is a CEO, but also kinda hippie/hipster/dreamer-ish in my opinion, & Becca is no-nonsense & straight to the point (also me).  They hold nothing back & tell it like it is – good, bad, & ugly.

The Skinny Confidential Him & Her Podcast

I adore Lauryn & Michael.  They talk about business, hustling, life, etc.  If you’re looking to start a side hustle or turn your side hustle into a full-time gig, this is the podcast for you.  They also travel a lot, so I live vicariously through them.  Lauryn’s blog, by the same name, is awesome.

Political Podcasts:

Congressional Dish

This is my newest podcast that I subscribe to; it’s hosted by Jen Briney.  So, this podcast is only posted twice a month, which I’m glad for as her podcasts are kinda long.  The reason for such long podcasts is because our Congress is messed up AF & Jen deciphers all the laws & bills trying to be passed, & she exposes all their shady doings.

Throwing Shade

I’m fairly new to this show, but I love it!  This podcast is hosted by Bryan & Erin.  They are both huge advocates for LGBTQ, human rights, & just being a decent person – all while be snarky as hell.  Every week, they bring us political topics, pop culture topics, & an interview.  I really love the humor & shade (get it?) they bring to serious issues happening in our country.

So That Happened

This is a weekly podcast brought to us by the HuffPost Politics team.  They basically deep-dive into the weekly happenings going on in Washington DC.  They tend to lean left, but really obliterate all political parties & the douche bags trying to pull one over on us.

Healthy Living Podcasts:

Beauty Inside Out with Kimberly Snyder

Kimberly Snyder is an nutritional expert that believes in super clean living.  She hosts two episodes per week – one that is an interview with someone from the industry & one that answers listener questions.  I have read the Beauty Detox Solution, but I am easing my way into this lifestyle – VERY slowly.  I’m just not ready to give up cheese.  But, I have incorporated some of Kimberly’s advice into my lifestyle.  I haven’t given up meat completely – I have a protein absorption issue, but I have cut WAY back to about only 5 meals a week with meat.  I’ll get there eventually, & she has a ton of great recipes & advice on her website.

PaleOMG Uncensored

I’m actually listening to Juli’s latest podcast now from last weekend.  I’m pretty new to this podcast…so is Julie, as she only has 14 podcasts under her belt!  She’s really into the Paleo lifestyle – hello its her source of income.  She’s also a personal trainer & into Crossfit.  I love her the recipes that I’ve tried.  Seriously run to your kitchen & make her Paleo strawberry pineapple margaritas!  Juli has a couple cookbooks under her belt, which are great for those that are Paleo &/or gluten free.

Financial Podcasts:

So Money with Farnoosh Torabi

Okay, so I fist learned about Farnoosh Torabi on the GirlBoss podcast.  I immediately subscribed to So Money & it has become one of my favorite.  She posts 2 episodes per week – one interview & one listener question/answer.  This sounds weird, but I love Farnoosh’s voice.  She also gives great, real life advice because she hasn’t always been smart with her money, & I’m trying to get better.

Profit Boss Radio

This is also one of my top favorite podcasts, hosted by Hilary Hendershott.  This is specific to women & money, financial planning, investing, money psychology, personal finances, & so much more.  Hilary interviews successful entrepreneurs & gives advice about everything related to the personal finance world.  She has struggled financially in her day, & is very candid when people are wrong in their money plans/theories.

I hope you all listen to some of these & let me know what you think.  What should I be adding to my rotation in 2017?

Tomorrow I’ll post a blog of my favorite blogs of 2016.

Kiss Hug,

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