Park City, UT Vacation – Summer 2018

Hey friends!  So, this post has been a long time coming, but not near as long as some other vacation posts.  Ahem…ahem…my 2017 East Coast Road Trip post.  SMH.

This last summer, I was invited to visit my friends – the Ackermans – at their home in Deer Valley.  A chance to get out of Houston in August?  SIGN. ME. UP.  Maureen, Jeff, Jadyn, & Hudson spend their summers in Deer Valley, & then visit a few other times a year.  Lucky them, right!  Our plan was for me to fly up to SLC, spend a week vacationing, & then drive back to Houston with Maureen while Jeff was in Europe for work.

Day One

I arrived around lunchtime in Salt Lake City, UT, Maureen picked me up & we headed up the mountain to her home in Deer Valley.  We dropped off my stuff, grabbed Jeff, & headed back down to Park City (proper) to pick up Jadyn from Drama Camp.  Park City was setting up for the annual Kimball Arts Festival, so we walked around & grabbed a snack & a beer.

Day Two

Maureen, Jadyn, & I headed to Mona, UT to the Young Living Lavender Farm!  This was the one thing I asked Maureen to do.  At this point I was about 3 months in to my YL journey, so I was super excited to go here.  The drive was stunning through Midway, UT.

Funnily enough, when we made it to the Young Living Lavender Farm in Mona, UT Maureen said she’d seen this place several times and always wanted to stop.  We are so simpatico that we both wanted to go to the same place & didn’t know it!

We got to take a tour of the distillery to see how the oils are made; Young Living is known for their Seed to Seal practice.  I didn’t take any pictures of this part, I was too busy learning.  However, after the distillery tour were we able to go on a self guided tour of the grounds.  They hold a few events here throughout the year, so it was more than what I thought a lavender farm would be…

Sunflowers will be a theme throughout this trip.

I wish I had taken a picture of the YL gift shop.  For you oily lovers out there, it is all the praise hands & fist bump emojis.  This farm convinced Maureen to sign up for her Premium Starter Kit!  Now she’s almost as obsessed as me!

We got back to Deer Valley mid afternoon.  Full disclosure, we were pretty shaken up when we got home.  En route back to Deer Valley we witnessed a really scary car accident.  We did call 911, but we quickly learned that lots of people had called it in.  Just thinking about it now still gives me the heebie jeebies.

We rested for a bit & then headed to Deer Valley Ampitheater to see Big Bad Voodoo Daddy!  If you like big band music or jazz, they are a must!  This was such a blast!

Day Three

The next day was the last day of the Kimball Arts Festival, so we headed back into town.  You know we had to do & see all the things.  We all bought a couple pieces.

Another day, another sunflower…

Later that afternoon, we met up with one of Maureen’s long time friend, also named Casey, & her family.  It’s a good name.  They took us out on the Jordanelle Reservoir for some tubing.  I happily waved the flag when someone fell off the tube.

Day Four

We took a day to relax.  Jeff taught me how to make Matzo Ball Soup!  He makes the. best. soup.  I tried to make this when I got home & it was terrible.  Sad face.

This was our view while cooking. view

If only I could have this view all the time!

Day Five

While Jadyn was at Drama Camp, Maureen & I want on a chill 3.8 mile hike up the mountain.  No biggie.  Y’all, I can’t emphasize enough how beautiful this place is.

Our view from the top was spectacular.  The photos are a bit hazy because of the wildfires around SLC & the smoke blowing in from the California wildfires.

We rewarded ourselves by taking the chairlift back down the mountain, and with a beer, herb & Parmesan fries, & street corn guacamole at Royal Street Cafe.  Don’t mind if I do. hike 19

Day Six

The next day was another low key day.  We spent our time toodling around town while Jadyn was at Camp.  We stopped by the Farmer’s Market & a few other shops.

Can you guess my favorite flower?

Hudson enjoyed a day sunbathing. hudson

That evening we hung out with Maureen’s amazing neighbors, Rida & Sterling!

Day Seven

The next morning Maureen & I dropped Jadyn off at camp & headed to Ulinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest for a beautiful hike.  We were on a mission – To. See. A. Moose.  Y’all know that I am OBSESSED with moose.  Saying I love them is an understatement.

What do I spy in the distance…moose

I’m getting closer…moose 7

The park ranger informed us that this was Martha, the grandma moose of the Moose Family that lives in the park.  Y’all, Martha was a boss.  She swam across the lake & walked along the path with all the people, Northern Exposure style.

This was the best day EVER!

And, it only got better!  That night we headed back to Deer Valley Ampitheater to see Phil Phillips & Gavin DeGraw.  I was totally unfamiliar with Phil, but he did a great cover of Wicked Game.  Gavin DeGraw was awesome!  Jeff is a huge fan of Gavin’s, so he got there early to reserve us the best spot on the hillside!  After the concert, I took Jadyn up to the stage & she got a picture with Gavin DeGraw.  She’s 12, so I thought it was time she learned how to “meet the band.”  I basically shoved her through space, where light shown through, to get closer to the front.  He sang all his classics, my personal favorites are Follow Through and In Love With a Girl.

Day Eight

We spent the majority of Friday morning packing up the house.  Around lunch time we headed to Jadyn’s play, what she had been working towards all week!  There were several scenes from several plays, with kiddos of all ages.  Jadyn’s showcase, Peter Pan, was obviously the best – she is such a great singer.  One group of kids made Hamlet hilarious.  How Hamlet is funny I don’t know, but we were dying. Jadyn got an award for her hard work for the week!  Way to go Jadyn!

Day Nine

We packed up the car and Maureen, Jadyn, Hudson, & I drove back to Texas.  Meanwhile, Jeff jetted off to The Netherlands.

It did get a little scary between Salt Lake City and Moab; there was a lot of smoke and warnings about the wildfires.  For long stretches, we were the only car going South…it made us nervous.  But, we made it to Moab. wilson arch

We stopped for lunch & did a little shopping.  Hudson especially liked the shopping.

After driving through beautiful Moab, rain, & really ugly parts of Colorado & New Mexico, we made it to Albuquerque, NM where we spent the night in a converted hospital.  Not to worry, if our room was haunted we slept through it.

The next day, we had a quick breakfast, loaded up the car, & headed off to Texas.  It was a long drive of not much to look at.

We determined that if we kept following the railroad tracks, we’d never get lost.  Once in Texas, it pretty much rained on us the whole way home.  We were so wishing that rain would make it’s way West to help out the wildfires.  We pulled into my driveway at midnight.  You forget how big Texas is, until you have to drive across it.  Needless to say, I went into work around 10a, instead of my usual 7a.

I can’t wait to get back to Park City!  My next goal is to go during a different season – I hear that the Fall foliage is stunning.  Maureen – maybe we go for your birthday this year???  Thanks so much for a fantastic trip!

Have any of you been to Park City?

Until next time…  traveling

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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