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.

07-01-15 Essential Oils and Why I Like Them by Britta Swiderski-2

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.

07-01-15 Essential Oils and Why I Like Them by Britta Swiderski-4

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.

07-01-15 Essential Oils and Why I Like Them by Britta Swiderski-6

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.

07-01-15 Essential Oils and Why I Like Them by Britta Swiderski-3

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.

07-01-15 Essential Oils and Why I Like Them by Britta Swiderski-7

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!

07-01-15 Essential Oils and Why I Like Them by Britta Swiderski-5

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. :)



Filed under DIY Home, Life and Health, Links and Shopping

A Cozy for My Mason Jar

I’m feeling bloggy, crafty and happy. Taking a little break from blogging was refreshing, but now I’m ready to get back down to business. There are so many things that I’ve been doing over the past few months that I want to share! Here’s the first one of them: knitting.

Knit Quart Mason Jar Cozy by Britta Swiderski

First of all, I love the idea of drinking out of mason jars… especially in the summer. They’re glass, they work for cold and warm beverages and they constantly remind me how much water I’ve been drinking throughout the day with their clever-but-not-antagonizing ounce markings. (I see your game, mason jar, trying to keep me all hydrated and stuff.)

06-29-15 Knit Quart Mason Jar Cozy-2

But I wanted to make a cozy for my beloved jar for two main reasons: it’s humid here in the summers in Minnesota, and my glass jar collects condensation like nobody’s business, and I work at a school and got really sick of everyone always asking me what I was drinking (usually flavored water). I also plan to use it more often for iced tea, and, let’s be honest, tea isn’t the prettiest thing to have just sitting out on a table (especially from a kid’s point of view).

06-29-15 Knit Quart Mason Jar Cozy-3

I began the search for a pattern. I came across this one by Briney Deep Designs and liked the concept, but when I followed the gauge and yarn suggestions, and it wasn’t really turning out for me. Then I came across this cozy by Sario Hill that is  crocheted and decided switched up the needle size and yarn to go more for that feel.

06-29-15 Knit Quart Mason Jar Cozy-4

Below is the pattern I came up with if you’re interested! It’s my first go at writing a pattern, so please do share if you follow it and let me know about any alterations you found to your liking.

– about 1/2 skein of Medium Weight yarn (I used Vanna’s Choice Lion Brand in Radiant Lime, Sapphire and Dark Grey Heather)
– US Size 7 circular needles with 32″ cable

19 stitches and 28 rows = 4 inches in stockinette (I’m a tight knitter, so you may have to go down in needle size)

Cast-on 44 stitches. Following the magic loop method, divide stitches evenly over two sides of the loop (22 stitches each size).
Join to work in the round, bring careful not to twist.

Work in [K1, P1] rib for 2 inches.

Work in stockinette (all knit) for 5 inches. (I switched colors after 5 rows – about 3/4″ of stockinette and then again after another 4 inches to complete the cozy with a colorblocked look.)

Decrease for bottom as follows:
Work [K9, K2tog] a total of 4 times. Continue decreasing in this manner until 8 stitches in total remain. (Tip: divide number of stitches on one needle by two, then subtract two to determine how many to knit before K2tog.)

Cut end of yarn and weave through 8 remaining stitches.
Finish piece by weaving in ends.

One very cool aspect of this project was the chance to play with my new knitting needles! If you’ve been following my #MakeIntentionally project on instagram, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been pretty into knitting lately. I decided to take the leap and invest in an awesome set of interchangeable cable needles.

My new knitting needle set! Click the picture to go to the set on Amazon, or, even better, find them at your local knitting store!

Reasons why I chose these needles:

  • They’re a good “in-between” material. Having worked with needles made of bamboo, metal, plastic and one tiny set of Knit Picks laminate wood circulars (I picked the one set of laminate wood needles I have purely because they came in the size I needed and looked pretty – the Caspian colors are so dreammmy!). I knew that, as I tight knitter, bamboo is a little too “grippy” and metal is wayyy to “slippery” for my taste. Also, I end up knitting in a lot of quiet places, so the “click” that metal needles provide is a little too much for me. The laminated wood provides a nice balance of grip, smoothness and a softer sound than metal needles.
  • My cat, Leia, enjoys chewing on the ends of bamboo needles. The bamboo circulars that I used for my Western Hills blanket look like they’ve been through war – they have teeth marks all over them and have been sanded down and oiled at least four times so that the yarn wouldn’t catch on the tips. Bamboo needles would mean capping the tips every time I left them sitting alone, and that’s not practical.
  • I love that this set is color-coded. This mades the OCD size of me very happy. And although I doubt I would be able to tell, people seem to prefer Knitter’s Pride cables over Knit Picks cables.
  • I did the math. I would much rather decide the deluxe set (I bought mine for about $58) wasn’t for me and return it than end up loving the basic set ($25) and going back to buy other needle sizes individually for 8 to 10 dollars each. Plus, I’m always adjusting needle sizes for my tight knitting style – I wanted the luxury of having all the sizes right in front of me!

 Supplies used on this project: Click below to see where you can buy the products used on this project.  I only link to products and shops that I know and love. These links may be affiliate links, which help support my site by earning a small, monetary percentage of your order at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!

What’s your favorite thing to use mason jars for? I’m excited to share lots more fun things with you soon!



Filed under DIY Home, Links and Shopping