Essential Oil Spotlight: Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender essential oil

Lavender is the most adulterated of all essential oils, so its very important to know what you’re getting, because synthetic oil will not have the same results. When you use Young Living’s therapeutic grade lavender oil, it can help you to get a full and restful night’s sleep so you wake up refreshed and ready for the next day, instead of crashing in the afternoon because you’re too tired. Lavender is also incredibly great for skin support, and it can help your skin look refreshed and healthy, so you feel confident that you look your best. Inhaling Young Living’s lavender oil can help you relax during a super busy day so you are able to take what comes at you without feeling overwhelmed or like you can’t handle it.

Lavender essential oil isn’t just a favorite because of its classic scent—it’s also highly versatile. From skin care products to relaxing routines, this oil can infuse many areas of your life.

Usage Suggestions for Lavender

  • Treat yourself to this well-loved aroma by adding a few drops of oil to lotions, shampoos, and skin care products
  • Create a spa-like retreat by combining 1 cup Epsom salt and 4 drops oil and adding to a hot bath.
  • Make a basic homemade body scrub with coconut oil, sugar, and Lavender essential oil.
  • Unwind with a Lavender-infused neck or back massage.
  • Use Lavender as part of your evening routine. Rub oil on the bottom of your feet before bed or spritz your pillow with distilled water and Lavender mixed in a spray bottle.
  • Create a DIY room freshener with Lavender or diffuse it to banish stale odors.

New to Essential Oils?

Lavender Essential Oils

What is greenwashing, and how is it hurting your family?

When I first started out trying to remove toxic chemicals from my home, I was immediately attracted to brands like Method, Seventh Generation, and Mrs. Meyers. Their pretty packaging and eco-savvy marketing convinced me that their products were the solution my eager beaver self was looking for. I thought for sure they were the safest choice for us because it said right on the packaging that it was natural! Wrong.

I was greenwashed.

What is greenwashing?

Greenwashing happens when companies make false claims or overly generous health or environmental benefits that their product or service offers. Greenwashing is not confined exclusively to the cleaning industry, but it is prevalent in large part because household cleaners are the only household products where manufacturers are not required to list all ingredients under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act.

In 2010 the environmental consulting firm TerraChoice Group produced a report called “The Sins of Greenwashing”  In it the group found more than 95% of consumer products claiming ot be green were fond to commit one of the "sins of greenwashing,” like making an environmental claim that may be truthful but unimportant. “CFC-free,” for example, is a common one, since CFCs are banned by law.

Figuring out whether products are actually environmentally friendly can be challenging since companies don't have to post the ingredients on cleaning products. When reading labels, look for something specific, like “biodegradable in three to five days” rather than just “biodegradable” (because almost everything breaks down over time!). Do a search for the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for a product you use or are considering. The MSDS will specify the active ingredients, which can then be researched for health hazards. Two useful sites you can start with are the US Department of Health's Product Database and the Environmental Working Group's database

Fragrances are a perfect example. They are considered “trade secrets”, which is fancy talk for: their ingredients don’t have to be included on the packaging. Many synthetic fragrances include chemicals that have been linked with reproductive health and developmental problems such as birth defects, low sperm count and ADHD. Even at the most basic level, synthetic fragrances are known to trigger asthma and allergy attacks. When you see “fragrance” on an ingredients list, just put that right back on the shelf where you found it.
Because manufacturers can just omit ingredients from packaging, this makes it very hard for us as consumers to interpret false claims (greenwashing) such as non-toxic, biodegradable and eco-friendly.

Your assignment

Take the 3 cabinet challenge-pick any 3 cabinets in your home and flip over the products in there. Take a long, hard look at the ingredients on the back of the things you use most often, and do your research using the resources above. How many greenwashed products did you find? Did you learn anything about the things you are putting on your skin and using around your home? 

Learning to read the ingredients on the things you buy is the first step to making better choices. Once you know better, you do better, and its hard to go back when you find out what all those harsh chemicals can actually do to you.

 
 

Essential Oil Spotlight: Thieves Essential Oil

One of the first essential oils most people are exposed to when they start doing some digging is Thieves essential oil, and for good reason-this stuff is amazing!

Thieves is based on the legend of four 15th century French thieves who, during the plague, were said to have robbed the dead and dying while using a special aromatic combination of herbs and plants to protect them. As the story goes, they were kept safe from the sickness by using these plants and herbs, and were able to loot the bodies of the plague victims without becoming ill. Once they were caught, they were said to have bargained for leniency by offering up their special recipe.

The most commonly agreed upon botanicals in that recipe are clove, lemon, rosemary, and eucalyptus. Gary Young, the founder of Young Living, formulated the Thieves essential oil blend around these plants, and it is one of the most popular products in the entire company.

Usage Suggestions for Thieves

  • Refresh musty carpets by adding 5 drops of Thieves to a cup of baking soda; combine well and let sit overnight until the oil is absorbed. Sprinkle over carpets and vacuum thoroughly
  • Diffuse 6–8 drops of Thieves to help create an environment of peace and security.
  • Put in a few drops of Thieves essential oil blend in your dishwater or dishwasher to thoroughly clean dishes and eliminate odor
  • Roll on to the bottoms of feet to support a healthy immune system all year long
  • Create a night time chest rub to support respiratory health

New to essential oils?

The 5 Essential Oils You Need For Buying a House

I'm about to say something that's pretty obvious: 

Buying a house is stressful!

I mean, I realized that in theory, but you really aren't prepared for what it really means until you are setting up your earnest money wire transfer and watching thousands of dollars fly out of your bank account.

In Seattle right now especially, the market is such that in order to get a house, you have to pay over asking, waive all of your offer contingencies (financing, appraisal, and inspection), and go see houses nearly immediately after they are listed. There are some people I know who have been searching for over a year without being able to find a house.

 
 

Our House Story

Back in mid-February, we were thinking about where to live next, as our apartment lease was ending at the end of April. My husband did some quick calculations, and we realized that given the 10%+ annual home price increase in Seattle, it just made more financial sense to buy now instead of renting. 

sold.jpg

We found an AMAZING real estate agency called Fly Homes that we literally could not have done this without. Not even 2 weeks elapsed from the night we initially sat down with them until we had an offer accepted, which is completely unheard of in this market, and it was only possible with their help. (They also have offices in San Francisco, Boston, and Chicago if you don't live in Seattle!) The biggest bonus of working with Fly Homes? You get airline miles after you close, a mile for every dollar of your purchase price, as a gift from them! So we didn't have to choose between buying a house and taking our dream trips. Of course, this is just a bonus-the real prize was getting a house so quickly, AND under asking, in our crazy market.

In the week and a half we spent touring homes and signing offers, we looked at 10 homes and put in 2 rejected offers before having our offer accepted on our home. My husband and I completely fell in love with one house that was absolutely perfect, only for it to sell for nearly $100k over the list price and $20k over what we had even offered, which was our strech max. Talk about emotional! I had already been making plans in my head of where our furniture would go and what rooms we would be using for what. 

I probably wouldn't have gotten through those 12 days as well as I did without my emotional support oils constantly on a diffuser necklace around my neck or honestly sometimes just sniffed from the bottle. In no particular order, here are the essential oils I used to help me make it through the house buying process:

1. Stress Away - Kind of a no-brainer, right?? I have a roller bottle fitment on the top of this one so I can directly apply it to my wrists and behind my ears when I'm feeling a bit apprehensive or anxious. About to head out to a day of showings and open houses? Put on your Stress Away so you don't have to feel overwhelmed at the day ahead.

2. Cedarwood - This is my focus oil, and I used it quite a bit when I needed to sit down with my husband and look at numbers, or while on the phone with our lender working out what we could afford. It really helps you pay attention so you don't waste time on distraction or risk making a mistake because you've lost focus.

3. Bergamot - Bergamot is an oil that is kind of new to me, but its quickly become one of my favorites. I hadn't ever heard of it, but turns out its a citrus fruit, and for me, citrus oils are super happy oils. I also used Orange and Citrus Fresh oils when I was feeling a little down about the crazy market here and they really helped me to get my mind right so I was on top of my game when a new listing came up-had to be ready to go see it right away!

4. Panaway - After a marathon Saturday of open houses, I had some back and foot discomfort, so I broke out my Panaway for a relaxing massage. I felt a ton better and could have gone to quite a few more houses!

5. Frankincense - This oil kept me grounded and sane during the process, and was one of my most used oils in my diffuser necklace. Frankincense keeps you grounded, so you are able to keep yourself from biting off a bit more than you can chew (or afford!) during your home search. When we were thinking about what to offer on that dream house I mentioned earlier, using Frankincense helped me keep my head on straight so we didn't offer more than we could comfortably afford, no matter how much we loved the house or how much we were actually pre-approved for.

In the end, we got a fantastic deal on a great home for us-our inspection was remarkably clear and for first time home buyers, that's something really important. We will learn and grow in this house, and maybe later on, we can take on something that needs a little more love, but this house is perfect for us right now.

I just need to get more diffusers. ;)


How to get started with essential oils:

The Hidden Dangers Of Your Favorite Baby Products

I don't have any kids, so I've never really paid much attention to what's in baby and children's products. I do a ton of research for myself and my husband and our dogs, but I've never really had a reason to pay much attention to kid stuff...until now. I'm about to be an auntie for the first time, so suddenly I'm pouring over baby products and what chemicals are in them, what harm they might do to my precious nephew's sensitive skin, and what I can do to help make sure he's not exposed.

 
How to remove toxic chemicals from your baby's life
 

The first three years of a baby's life are the most critical for their development processes. During this extra vulnerable time, its incredibly important to limit baby's exposure to chemicals linked to adverse health effects, so every baby has the opportunity to develop into a healthy adult.

Many of the products that are applied to baby's skin can contain toxic chemicals, which is extra troubling, as they are so much more sensitive to the detrimental effects these chemicals can have. Things you use on your baby like shampoos, soaps, ointments, sunscreen, wipes, and lotions can contain these toxins.

Kiddos can absorb chemicals through their skin much more easily than adults and they are much more vulnerable to the effects of these chemicals because their organs and reproductive systems aren't quite fully developed yet. Its so important to avoid chemicals and toxins if possible during this early developmental stage.

In 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report about a chemical, commonly found in both baby wipes and diapers, called dioxin. It warned that dioxin is a "persistent environmental pollutant," which means that it doesn't break down very easily. It can cause all sort of health problems, namely developmental delays, as well as cancer. Other cancer-causing additives to look out for in diapers are volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and sodium polyacrylate.

Other chemicals of concern to watch for on labels – 1, 4-Dioxane, formaldehyde, formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, fragrance, phthalates, parabens, octinoxate, benzophenones, ethanolamines and nitrosamines.

Top 4 Tips For Babies

1. Avoid sunscreens with octinoxate, oxybenzone, benzone and homosalate. While it’s important to make sure that babies are protected against UVA/UVB rays,it’s equally important to make sure that these sunscreens do not contain toxic chemicals.

2. Avoid mineral oil in baby oil. Try coconut oil or olive oil instead!

3. Eliminate baby products with added fragrance.

4. Read labels closely and find safer alternatives
 

Where to Find Safe Baby Products

Amazing toxin-free baby products! Lets not slather kiddos in chemicals!

I would recommend using the EWG's Skin Deep Database to check out the products you are using on your littles....you might be in for a surprise. You can look up safe products on there as well, but keep in mind the database isn't complete. There are great product choices that aren't included, simply because its a work in progress.

Young Living makes some amazing, plant-based products just for kiddos, including diaper cream, lotion, shampoo, and soap, in addition to special pre-diluted oil blends like Sleepyize, TummyGize, and GenYus, to name a few. I made a fun little basket for my nephew filled with these chemical-free baby products so he doesn't have to start his sweet little life by being slathered with toxins.


Not a Young Living member?

Its super easy-peasy to get started living a non-toxic lifestyle with a 24% member discount on plant-based products! Head over to my Essential Oils page to learn more and request free samples!

 

 

10 Surprising Ways to Actually Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

I know you’ve done it before...its now about 2 weeks into January, and your commitment to your New Year’s resolution is starting to wane.

We always start out with such high hopes at the beginning of a new year, ready to change for the better, for real this time. We are committed to getting the weight off, or to reading more books this year, or finally finishing painting the house. But then life happens. We push our resolutions to the backs of our minds. We lose focus. No matter how great our intentions were at the beginning of the year, the unexpected (and sometimes expected) gets in the way.

I totally understand-I used to be a habitual resolution maker. And I was also a habitual resolution breaker. I was part of the January gym crowd that would drop off after a few weeks, letting the regulars have their gym back. I’ve since stopped making resolutions all together, in favor of setting goals for myself throughout the year. But still, I know that so many of you make your resolutions with the best intent, and I want to give you some ideas to help you keep them. Because you can totally rock those resolutions and blow everyone (and yourself) out of the water by the end of the year. You’ve got this!

 
Love these ways to actually keep your New Year's resolutions. I know I have a hard time sticking with mine. Pin now for next year!
 

Make a specific goal

I’m all about setting huge, scary goals for myself, but when you’re thinking in terms of a resolution to accomplish by the end of the year, its a bit self-defeating to think about a goal with no real end. When you’ve got all the time in the world, setting a big, dreamy goal is awesome, but when you’re in a time crunch, even a year doesn’t seem like enough time to lose 100 pounds, or save $100k. Make a smaller, more reasonable resolution, like losing 30 pounds this year, or saving $10,000. You can always increase the goal once you meet it, and there is a pretty sizeable boost in momentum and self confidence when you achieve what you set out to do. Just roll that right along to the next goal.

Be patient

Patience is a virtue! I know its really exciting to expect to see huge changes when you first start working towards your goal, but change is rarely linear. For example, when I first started my weight loss journey, I didn’t lose any weight for TWO MONTHS, even though I was quite careful with my eating. It would have been super easy for me to give up because I wasn’t seeing huge changes, but I eventually found out that my body likes to hold on to water weight when first starting a workout routine, which I had begun as soon as I started trying to lose weight. One day, I got on the scale and had lost 5 pounds since the week before, then the next week I lost an additional 3. After that, my progress was pretty steady. Had I given up and not pushed through, I would have never learned about my body, nor lost 40 pounds!

Set a schedule

If its in my planner, its happening. If its not there….forget about it. When you write something down, especially in a planner, your brain registers it as more important. Besides, when you schedule it in advance, you schedule other things around it. If, for example, your goal is to declutter, schedule a specific day to clean out your garage or storage shed. Its just not going to happen otherwise.

Be accountable to others

This is one I have always had a hard time with, because I never wanted to risk failing in front of other people, but that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? When you know that someone will be checking in on your progress, you’ll tend to make better decisions. 

Be accountable to yourself

This goes hand-in-hand with the last point-when you are committed enough to your resolution to do it for yourself and not for anyone else, you’ll win. So many times I’ve tried losing weight for outside reasons, and not for myself, and it never stuck. You truly do just have to be ready for it. Once you are able to stop making excuses and do the work, you’ll find success.

Reward yourself and take breaks

This sounds like an easy concept, but it can be hard in practice. You’ll find yourself not wanting to take a break because you worry you’ll stall any forward momentum you’ve built, but let me tell you-a short break from working on your resolution can be refreshing! I am currently on a weight loss break because two years of hard work is mentally exhausting. I am in this for the long haul, not the quick weight loss shock, so this is a mental necessity. I’m actually looking forward to beginning the process again, which is a nice change of pace from dreading it like I was towards the end of the hardcore phase there.

Use your words

Everybody knows that if you don’t have something nice to say, you shouldn’t say anything at all. This includes, most importantly, to yourself! A huge problem with people not sticking to their resolutions is negative self-talk. Stop being so hard on yourself and give yourself a break! You are only human, and you deserve the best. Keep reminding yourself how amazing you already are-you’re just making yourself even more incredible and honoring yourself by sticking to this resolution. The power of positive thinking will absolutely change your life.

Honor your individuality

A huge reason people have trouble sticking to their resolutions is that they try and accomplish them in a way that doesn’t work for them. For example, let’s say you’re definitely not a morning person, but you read that the best time to work out is in the morning because it boosts your metabolism the rest of the day. You decide to get up 30 minutes earlier in the morning to accommodate that, and that lasts all of 3 days before you find yourself hitting the snooze button on your alarm and sleeping right past your workout. Forget the “best” time to work out. The best time is the time you will actually do it! Respect your incredible individuality and get to the gym after work when it feels best to you, not when someone else says you should.

Use the tools around you

There’s no sense in reinventing the wheel when trying to keep your resolutions. Your smartphone’s app store is filled with helpful apps to help you do everything from lose weight, to quit smoking, to declutter. Have a good search, ask your friends for recommendations, and make use of technology to make sticking to your goals even easier!

Use essential oils for emotional support

With oil blends like Motivation, Brain Power, Build Your Dream, and a ton of other amazing blends, Young Living Essential Oils make the perfect complement to just about any resolution you might have made. You will be uplifted and inspired when you pair these oils with your determination. Its a resolution match made in heaven!