Friday Five: Do I Feel a Nip in the Air?

Hi friends! How has your week been? I started a new job this week, still working from home, so needless to say it has been a busy week. I’m so glad it’s September…it means cooler weather is hopefully on its way! Tuesday morning I thought I felt a little nip in the air while I was turning on the sprinkler…by the time I got back in my house I was sweating. I digress.

My five favorite things from this week are pretty good…if I do say so myself.

One: Melissa Wood Health

So, as of September 1st I started eating meat again. I’m keeping meat to 1 or less meals a day. For my first meal, I went to Whataburger for lunch & got a cheeseburger (the one thing I craved in August).

I think I mentioned last week that my September Challenge was going to be to do a Melissa Wood Health workout everyday for the month. I’m only a few days in & really enjoying it so far. I’ve been sticking to beginner classes just to ease into things.

Two: Essential Oil Face Mask

As most of you know I love my essential oils. One of my favorite oils is Blue Tansy – it smells like fruit roll-ups. Blue Tansy is anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal; it’s also fantastic for your skin. I use it in my glow serum that I make.

Well, I recently found out that straight, undiluted Blue Tansy makes an amazing overnight face mask. Yes, you will look like a smurf and I covered my pillows with a towel just to make sure I didn’t stain my pillow cases. The premise is that the oil will soak into your skin & you will wake up glowing the next morning.

I’d say it works!

Three: Meal Planning

Y’all, I just got a meal planning magnet for my fridge. I got this one and I’m loving it already. Isn’t it cute?

Remember my gigantic food inventory from the beginning the pandemic? I feel like this could kinda replace my inventory list because this is magnetized to my fridge, so I can open it to meal plan.

Four: Work the Polls

Did you know Tuesday was National Poll Worker Recruitment Day? Now, I signed up a few weeks ago to work the polls on Election Day, and I have to tell you – I. Am. So. Excited. I signed up specifically so someone in our vulnerable age groups or someone with a compromised immune system could stay home. I signed up thinking it was a volunteer position, but it’s actually paid.

You can sign up here:

Vote Save America

We All Vote

Five: Wreaths

Something you may not know about me, is that I love seasonal wreaths. Especially as we move into Fall & Winter. I bought this double sided wreath hanger, so I can enjoy all the season has to offer! It’s under $10!

That’s it for this week! Hope y’all have a great weekend and end to the summer.

Kiss Hug,

Friday Five: What a Week

Hi friends! Whew! What a week it has been. Since last week I have stocked up on bottled water & groceries in prep for Hurricane Laura. Monday & Tuesday I was at my mom’s house about 3.5 hours away to trade vehicles. She is having knee replacement surgery at the end of October, & has to layoff all pain management injections (aka bandaids) until the surgery. Needless to say, she is in a LOT of pain. So, I traded my Ford Escape with her Expedition so she wouldn’t have to climb in & out of a vehicle. On Wednesday, I accepted a new job which starts on Monday. Yesterday my power was out for 7.5 hours due to Hurricane Laura. Luckily it didn’t hit near me…we didn’t even get rain. My thoughts are with all the people in Orange, TX & Lake Charles, LA & everyone who has been impacted by the storm.

So, shall we get into my favorite things from the week?

One: Productive Conversations

I want to tell y’all about a very productive conversation I had with my mom about racism. Mama J lives in a large neighborhood with lots of military families (her husband is a Vietnam Vet). So, as you can imagine many of the houses are very patriotic, lots of flags, etc. There is also a lot of racial diversity.

Mama J told me that the neighborhood’s FB page had started a thread encouraging residents to change their outside lights to blue lightbulbs to show support for police, aka Blue Lives. I asked my mom if she had any Black neighbors, & she listed off half a dozen or so that she personally knows & regularly chats with.

I asked her what her Black neighbors thought of the blue lightbulbs. She gave me an odd look & said she had no idea. About 20 minutes later Mama J brought the subject back up very perplexed.

Nicely, I explained that I thought the blue lights were offensive & racist, & that perhaps she should check if it is offensive to her Black & Brown neighbors. Rightfully, Mama J was appalled that she had done anything that might be considered racist. I want to clarify – my mom is not racist.

I politely pointed out that by outwardly supporting Blue Lives, & not Black Lives it implied that 1) she didn’t think Black Lives Matter, or 2) that Black Lives didn’t as much as Blue Lives. She was horrified by the thought of offending her lovely neighbors.

I also explained that a person can choose to be a “Blue Life,” but that Black & Brown folks cannot choose nor change their skin color. I also pointed out that Black people are killed by the police at least twice the rate as white people.

Mama J texted my on Wednesday to let me know that they had taken out their blue lights. She even went a step further to message the original poster on FB to share our conversation with her. That person was equally horrified & shared it with the FB group.

Now, I don’t know if all her neighbors have switched their lights back – I’m sure some have not, but this is how you affect real change. I spoke to my mom from a place of calm, kindness, knowledge, & perspective…and it worked! I’m so proud of Mama J! You can support the police, and support Black Lives, but you cannot ignore that we have a real problem and we all play a part making change happen.

Two: Stamps

Have you seen the new USPS stamps? They are gorgeous! @grossypelosi shared these on IG, & I was influenced to buy my own stamps.

These stamps would be excellent for your mail in ballots.

Three: Fall Blends

Okay, if you are an essential oiler, like me, then you are probably ready for Fall diffuser blends. I couldn’t wait and I’m already enjoying a few new blends.

I’m loving Cozy Sweater: 4 drops of Nutmeg, 4 drops of Clove, 4 drops of Bergamot, & 3 drops of Cinnamon Bark

Also, Into The Woods: 2 drops of Nutmeg, 6 drops of Northern Lights Black Spruce, & 2 drops of Orange

Four: New Girl

I don’t know about you, but lately I have needed a laugh. So, I decided to rewatch New Girl on Netflix. Y’all, I belly laugh in every episode…some of it is secondhand embarrassment laughing. Haha!

Five: New Cookbook

As you know, I challenged myself in August to go Vegetarian. I have not cheated once, & for the most part I haven’t missed meat. The only change I really noticed is that my skin seems better, definitely less hormonal acne! I call that a win for sure!

For September, I think my new challenge will be to do a Melissa Wood Health workout every day. However, I also plan to make a ton of recipes from Charlotte’s new cookbook!

As you can see I already have some recipes flagged to try. I’m very excited to try the sheet pan jambalaya & the skillet enchiladas.

Okay, that’s all for this week! I hope you all have a great weekend!

Kiss Hug,

Friday Five: Grasping at Straws

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Hi friends!  I hope your week went well.  What is this, week 267 of quarantine?  Are things reopening where you live?  How do you feel about it?  I had an adventure with a roach earlier this week & since I haven’t found the body, I feel like he (yes, it’s a boy) is crawling all over me.  It gives me the heebie jeebies.

Let’s get into this week’s favorites…

One: Taco ‘Bout It! 

Y’all, I made the coconut cauliflower tacos from the Fraiche Food Full Hearts cookbook from Jillian Harris & Tori Wesszer.  I was pleasantly surprised by how tasty these tacos were.  In fact, everything I’ve made from this cookbook has been delicious. 1A27E05A-27C3-421A-916C-135FE999C5F1

Two: Candy Straws

During this pandemic I have become obsessed with Sour Punch Candy Straws, specifically the bites.  I LOVE the bag of Rad Reds, so much so that I bought a case of 12 from Amazon.  I have a problem.  I will say they can be hard to find, which I why I turned to Amazon.  I’m not proud of myself. 97957387-4128-48BD-AA18-D36B8A91D4AB

Three: Oils Organizer

I got these new drawer organizers for my essential oils & they are awesome! IMG_1957 2

I’m going to get another set for the other drawer & then I will fully organize them.

Four: I’m officially a farmer!

Last night I made my first salad with lettuce from my Tower Garden!  I’m sure y’all are tired of me talking writing about this, but it is so exciting!  It’s like watching Photosynthesis in real time.  Science you guys, science.IMG_1949

I cut arugula, rainbow chard, & “gourmet lettuce” (whatever that is) to make a salad for dinner!  It was delicious & tasted so so fresh!

Next week I should have acorn squash, zucchini, & strawberries!  I also have a ton of mint ready to use – who needs a mojito?

Five: Big Red

Y’all, I know this is a trash drink, but Sonic now has Big Red & it is delicious!  Sonic always has the perfect ration of carbonation & ice.  Just thought you should know.

On a side note, last Sunday I bought some flowers from Trader Joe’s. 61117918909__670EC6AA-BC01-4CC4-87E3-1E56331DB241

Are these not the most beautiful bubble gum pink peonies ever?!?  I am loving them!

Hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Kiss Hug,

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There’s Thieves Among Us…

Hi Friends!  Can you finish the lyric in the title of this blog?  Bonus points if you can!

Okay, so I wanted to do a quick post about Young Living essential oils & illnesses.  Obviously, oils do not replace all medicine, but I do think they help a multitude of things that medicine cannot.

Any hoo, same as 2017, I woke up the day after Christmas in 2018 feeling under the weather.  I attribute this to traveling for the holidays, being around friends & family that I don’t see often, & being exposed to different germs elements.  I also think that things slow down at work around this time of year, & my body just breaks down; maybe it’s exhaustion, maybe it’s catching up to me, who really knows.  And, y’all, I made the biggest mistake ever…I forgot my diffuser at home when I went to Mama J’s house.  Thank God for the Thieves spray that I leave in my toiletry kit.

So, Wednesday, December 26th I woke up with a tickle in my throat & a side of stuffy nose.  I still had to go into the office, & since I didn’t have a fever, I grabbed my oils & headed in.  Raven & Thieves were my go to daytime diffuser blend.  illness blend

Let me tell you about these oils.  Thieves has been around since the 15th century, & grave robbers used to douse themselves in this oil so they wouldn’t catch the diseases of the deceased that they were robbing.  Obviously good for immunity, right?  Thieves is a blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, & rosemary oils.  thievesbekillingit3

Raven is a blend of ravinstara, lemon, wintergreen, peppermint, & eucalyptus.  Raven is a particularly great oil for coughs, chest congestion, nasal congestion, sore throat, allergies, & asthma.

I truly feel, that because I have religiously been using Thieves each night before bed & each morning before leaving the house for the last year, the tickle in my throat never progressed beyond that.  If this had been 2017, I would have been deep in the throws of the worst flu I’ve ever had.

I’m not sure if you’re aware, but Texas (specifically Austin – where I was) is notorious for super-awful allergies.  I didn’t realize this until a few years ago, but if allergies go untreated they can progress into colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, the flu, etc.

Luckily for me, and because of Young Living, I haven’t been truly sick since 2017!  Can you imagine not being sick or getting allergies?

For good measure, at night I’ve been diffusing my favorite allergy blend: lavender, lemon, eucalyptus, & peppermint. allergy blend

If you are experiencing anything like this, or are interested in learning more about oils, please reach out to me.

essential oils

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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