Where have I been?

I have a video for you that updates you on where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to. Watch that first, and then I’ll go into detail on how I ended up there. But what’s really important is that you watch the video and then go over and check out the Pop-Up for a Cause for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, where you can buy amazing LuLaRoe clothes and, for every single item, a certain dollar amount ($3-6) is donated to the cause on the sale on Tuesday, August 30th starting at 8PM central and going for about 48 hours. Or just check out the charity here. Or just check out my business here.

watch here | watch on youtube | subscribe to my channel

Thanks for watching the video. Here are the links as promised:


Now here’s how I got here:

I sit here, more than 13 months since writing my previous post and almost start to laugh at how much life has thrown my way in this past year. Well, really, past two years since I blogged regularly. Some of life has been incredibly, breath-takingly amazing: getting engaged to a man that is the best partner in crime, cheerleader and alarm clock a person could ask for (yes – it’s Jake! We’ve been together for five years now, and we’ll be getting married in October.), seeing my friends and family grow and prosper with new people and loved ones, learning intense lessons on the fly or when I least expected it working with kids and truly knowing that I make a difference in their lives. Some of life has been side-swiping, throw-me-for-a-loop, I-wish-I-could-re-do-all-of-this awful: dealing with death and grief from people in my life passing away far too young, experiencing what it feels like to lose someone to cancer for the first time, coming to the stark realization of my own mortality and those around me that I care so much about.

But it all comes full circle. Life isn’t black or white. It’s not amazing or terrible. It’s not yes or no. It’s a rainbow, a rollercoaster, a yes-no-maybe-okay-letsgo-letstry. There have been twists and turns in the road. I’ve done blind-landing backflips, and sometimes I didn’t land on my feet. I scuffed my knees up a few times, and I have a few more scars to show for it on my knees and on my heart. But at the end of the day, love is the answer. Love brought me to not just like working with kids but LOVING working with kids, especially when I chose to change schools before last school year to be at an elementary school that specialized in Dual-Language Immersion (half the classes speak Spanish most of the day) and is a level 3 setting for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. It all clicked. I had a team that, together, we were able to solve any problem. I learned from them. The kids learned from me. The kids taught me more lessons each week than I have enough space for in a book. I realized that I was channeling my creative energy into problem solving with this kids, about these kids and working with these kids, and I loved it. The days I got to do art projects were the best. Some days, I couldn’t even believe they were paying me to do art with kids – something I feel like was sometimes more rewarding for me than even the kids that were the most excited about it.

Then I discovered LuLaRoe, and my world changed course again. I saw how these colorful, comfortable clothes made women look amazing and feel confident. I saw the beautiful patterns and fell in love. I saw how much people cherished their LuLaRoe and their experience with the people who sold it, and I decided that I wanted to be a person who brought that kind of joy into a person’s life, too. I signed up to be a LuLaRoe Fashion Consultant. As you guys know from years of blogging, I never ever back products unless I truly stand behind them, and I would not sell them if I didn’t love them. Well, I love them. And because of LuLaRoe, I’ve already been able to start doing part of my WHY – stop living paycheck to paycheck. I started in May, and my goal is still the same: to provide a better life for my family (make ends meet for our wedding, buy better groceries, be able to grow our family on our terms) and to eventually start a non-profit where I can, again, work with kids doing what I love to do the most – art. I want to create a place where people who deal with THINGS – depression, anxiety (two things that I have and want everyone to feel comfortable talking about!), PTSD, the trauma of the loss of a loved one to suicide, Autism Spectrum Disorder, EBD and so many more things – can come learn one more way – art – to cope with the chemical imbalance, the grief, the feelings… the need to express themselves.

A month ago, I was making enough money with LuLaRoe that I was able to quit my day job in order to do LuLaRoe full time. I’m going to miss those kids so much, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’ve impacted hundreds of kids’ lives. Going forward, LuLaRoe will give me the momentum I need to impact THOUSANDS of people through giving back to charity, doing volunteer work and opening my own non-profit.

So, like I said in the video, if the past two years has taught me anything, it’s that life is chalked full of twists, turns and loop-de-loops, but I’m ready for some more adventure, and I hope you’ll join me. Come check out my Online Sale to benefit the AFSP on August 3oth HERE (running until September 1st), or come on over and join my VIP Shopping Group HERE where you can check out my inventory every time I have an online party. I can’t wait to see you over there and catch up. <3

Love forever and always,

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Hey there! Just wanted to stop by super quickly to share a deal that’s only happening today on Amazon. It’s their Prime Membership celebration day, and I LOVE being an Amazon Prime member (I’ve been one for almost 4 years), and think some of the deals are really awesome. They have flash deals that go up throughout the day that you can see here, but there are also some really cool ones that are available for a longer period of time. I’ve listed some of my favorites below!

***Note that because I live in Minnesota, I do not get affiliate commissions on Amazon sales (it’s a legislation thing). I would still never link you to anything I don’t love or recommend, but just know that this post comes from me just sincerely showing you some cool stuff. :)

Fitbit Charge HR – regular price at about $150, but you get a $25 amazon gift card with purchase

I have this one in Plum, and I love it SO MUCH. Seriously, it’s absolutely worth it at full price, and I would buy it again in a heartbeat. (See what I did there? Ha.) I had the Fitbit Force before it was recalled, and as soon as the HR came out, I saved up the money to get one. It has such a positive influence on my drive to move more, be more active and drink more water. I can’t say that it’s helped me lose ALL of the weight I’ve lost over the past year and a half (I’ve lost about 40 pounds of college weight), but it has had a significant impact on my drive to be more healthy, and that’s always a good thing. By the way, I’ve also had several encounters (first-hand and through friends) with AWESOME customer service from Fitbit, and they really stand behind their products. I like buying things from companies like that.

RubberMaid 42-piece Easy-Find Lid Storage Set – List: $24.99 Sale $14.99

This is the only plastic containers we use in my house because the lids are SO EASY to store, and all the similar sizes stack together. I have found that they’re not the greatest for heating up sauces in (the plastic tends to get cloudy around the top of the liquid), but they’re so awesome for storage that my parents give me a set pretty much every year for Christmas. Ha!

$30 off the Kindle (and $60 off the Fire HD)

If I were to buy a reader, it would be this one. It’s super simple, and it has that paper-like quality that I really enjoy in books. I don’t like reading on my iPad because screen time tends to bring on headaches for me, so this is an awesome way to go. My grandma has this version, and he LOVES it. My mom has so much fun showing him new things to do with it every times he comes to visit.

Get a $10 Amazon Gift Card with a 3-Pack Gift Card purchase ($15, $25+ denominations)

I don’t know about you, but I am always wanting extra little tokens of appreciation to give to friends and family members. This is a good deal on a gift card, so you can stock up for all of those fall birthdays coming up soon! For $45, you get a $10 credit to your account. That’s awesome! (And I won’t tell anyone if you gift your gift cards to yourself. ;))

So Happy Prime Day, and I hope you scoop up a few deals for yourself. I myself am a crazy person who got up at 2 AM to pick up a new yoga towel, workout shorts, workout pants, a new stock of Steripods and MLB The Show for Jake (not sure if he will remember that I asked him if he wanted it for that price, but we’ll figure that out later. Haha!).

Thanks for stopping by. Happy shopping! Please do share what you picked up if you shopped #amazonprimeday in the comments below!



Filed under Life and Health, Links and Shopping

Essential Oils: My Favorites & Why I Like Them

Essential Oils are everywhere. Health food stores, popular culture, big companies… everywhere. Especially on the internet. Over the past few months, I’ve become someone much more in tune with my body and health. You might even go as far as to call me a “whole living” person… or maybe just a Hipster. Either way, I now eat Chia Seeds, practice yoga on a regular basis, drink out of mason jars, meditate and try to do as many things the “natural way” as possible (mainly for my own sanity, but that’s okay too). I’ll be sure to share more about my yoga and health practices soon!

Today, I wanted to share a little about my story and why I like essential oils for my life. If they’re still not your deal, that’s okay, I still like you. But for those of you that, like me a few months ago, were interested but not sure where to start, maybe I can give you some more information to start with. :)

Essential Oils: My Favorites & Why I Like Them

I was first introduced to Essential Oils when I started experiencing really bad migraines five years ago. Doctors, pharmacists (in Spain, where I was when the migraines were really bad) and friends have recommended Lavender and Peppermint EOs to help relax and relieve the tension. I’ve always enjoyed the smell of both of those things, so I picked up some inexpensive oils from NOW Foods on Amazon to see if they would help. (Here’s more info on NOW if you think you might want to start there, too.) Did they absolutely cure everything and all things? No. But did they make me more comfortable in my hours of pain? Absolutely.

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Over time, probably just like you, I’ve been exposed to friends and family getting more into EOs and even selling them. Jennifer McGuire wrote a post that I really connected with, and at that point I was interested but looking for a way to try before I bought into the significantly more expensive world of diffusers, the best oils and choosing a company to buy from. Fast forward to almost a year later, and I got to know a temporary coworker whose mom had been selling oils from Young Living for quite a while, and she had just signed up and got her kit. She was excited and brought everything to work so that I could smell everything, ask questions and look through the literature. She even gave me a sample of Peace & Calming to try out, and I was pretty much sold on giving these guys a try for real.

My favorite recipe in my diffuser for night - Aligning & Lavender (3 drops each with 100 mL water).

My favorite recipe in my diffuser for night – Aligning & Lavender (3 drops each with 100 mL water).

I bought a diffuser for about $30 – this pretty basic one to start out with – and started doing research on different Essential Oil companies. I also started pinning a ton of things onto a new Essential Oil board on Pinterest. It’s good to have ideas for a new thing all in one place like that.

Follow Britta Swiderski’s board Essential Oils on Pinterest.

After several days of research, I decided to start out with Rocky Mountain Oils for my “starter set.” Here are a few blog posts that help me decide on this company. (ONE, TWOTHREE, FOURNote: Rocky Mountain Oils and Native American Nutritionals are owned by the same people, but don’t let that confuse you too much. There is no best company out there, but there probably is one that best fits your wantsHere are the top three reasons I chose this company to start with.

  1. You just order. There’s no pressure to sign up and earn someone else commission, the shipping is very reasonable, and things seem to be in stock pretty consistently. (These are some of the problems I had with the “big guys” in the EO industry.)
  2. The oils are procured from plants grown in their natural homelands and are rigorously tested both on site and at the main location. If you read just a little from the company’s owner on the purity of oils and testing, you too will probably get the sense that this guy really knows what he’s talking about. For any oil, you can easily attain important information like country of origin, official species name and even testing results. I like buying things from people who know what they’re talking about.
  3. Price. OMGosh price. The quality is on par with the best (note: there is no official labeling standard for essential oils – companies can put a lot of things on the label that misrepresent the quality of the oil, so I definitely suggest doing some research of your own!), and the prices are amongst the best. This gave me more room to try several oils and see where that took me versus having to start out with just a few or with very, very tiny bottles.

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Here are the oils I went with for my first order. I looked at the Basic One Kit from RMO as well as kits and lists from other companies. These seem like what I would benefit the most from at the start. This list may look totally different for you, and that’s okay! I knew what I desired: stress relief, anxiety relief, something like Peace & Calming and a good base of the “must-haves” in EOs.

  1. Lavender – I’d already tried this from NOW foods, but I wanted to try this in high quality. It’s probably my favorite of all oils, and that’s for good reason – you can use it for anything.
  2. Peppermint – Same as above, plus this is good for migraines, sore muscles and digestive help. I’m all about that.
  3. Lemon – easily mixes with many other oils for a good combination, and it’s another must-have.
  4. Tea Tree – disinfecting and consistently recommended for skin. I made a rollerball (neat) just to have on hand for acne breakouts, and so far it’s earned its keep.
  5. Aligning – this smells a bit like YL’s Peace & Calming, and therefore I find myself using it often to help fall asleep and to roll on (diluted with FCO) my wrists and enjoy the aroma when I’m feeling anxious.
  6. Flu-Time (in the small 5 ml size) – I wanted to get this just to have on hand, but it came in hand waaayyyy faster than I thought – I got hit with a nasty head cold last week, and this was really good for diffusing at night + putting in a roller ball (diluted with FCO) to roll onto my feet when I needed that extra boost before work or at the end of the day.
  7. Immune Strength – I’ve diffused this as I’ve been feeling better from my cold but not 100%. It’s also a good boost when the allergen count is high. It’s a super comforting smell – nice and cozy.
  8. Trauma-Gone – anything meant to be calming is awesome in my book. This one is good for diffusing during mediation or yoga.

My total for my first order: $132.75, giving me a little bit of money to put towards accessories.

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Something I noticed while doing research is that roller balls are incredibly popular. It’s probably because they’re just about the most convenient thing ever. Want to apply oils to any area specifically? Roller ball. Want to keep the oils nice and cool and apply them that way for extra soothing power? Roller ball. Want to mix two oils together that you use regularly? Roller ball. You get the picture. ;) Here’s what I use for my roller balls:

  • Fractioned Coconut Oil (otherwise known as FCO) – a good carrier oil for diluting oils. Don’t let the idea of diluting oils scare you. You’re just adding more of a base so that the oils can reach more areas more effectively. Here’s a good dilution chart, especially since diluting oils makes your bottle of oil go a lot further!
  • Empty Roller Balls (pack of 24 for just about $11!) – clear glass ones are the cheapest, but it’s important to wrap them in something to block out light (I use washi tape) to maintain the integrity of the EOs. That’s why almost all EOs come in amber or blue glass bottles.
  • Liquid Pearls (Ellen Hutson & Simon Says Stamp) – perfect for labeling the tops indicating the use of the oil.
  • Rubbing Alcohol – you can pick this up at any drug store, and it’s perfect for disinfecting all the parts and pieces before filling them with oil. I simply spray a little bit on all the parts, making sure it covers all areas and let it air dry.

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Here are my current roller balls. A – Acne (Tea Tree, neat), R – Relax (Trauma-Gone, diluted), H – Headache (Lavender and Peppermint, diluted), F – Flu-Time (Flu-Time, diluted) and C – Calm (Aligning, diluted). I love that these can change and grow with me as my needs differ. Plus, washi tape makes everything pretty.

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What I’m doing now: researching (loving this book, The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy, for a reference!) and planning for which oils I’d like to try next. I definitely want several more from Rocky Mountain Oils (this chart is especially handy for comparing blends from company to company), but I would love to explore and check out a few other brands as well. I would also love to hear what your personal favorites are in the comments below!

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Now that I’ve been applying and diffusing oils regularly, I have a pretty good idea of where I’d like to go from here. I don’t know if oils are the answer to all of my needs, but I love the idea of being able to cut down on some medications (and some discomfort!) over time with the use of oils. Anything that helps deal with stress and anxiety is awesome in my book. Here’s what I’m planning for next:

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I love sharing things that I like, and I plan on sharing a lot more over the next few weeks. After a pretty bad spell of migraines, I’m happy to say that I’m on the road to recovery (I’m only getting one about every two weeks now!) and ready to get back to work. In fact, I’ve been working diligently on the next release of my beloved planner inserts and hope to have those out by the beginning of August! Stay tuned for updates on that. :)



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