Tag Archives: health

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. :)



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

Timmy’s Plum Shirts

Many of you know that I lost one of my best friends in June. This weekend, I’m attending a walk in his memory and I wanted to share why this is important to me.

Timmy's Plum Shirts - Raising Money to Support Suicide Prevention

Donate if you can, send love if you want to support us. Healing is a journey that will always continue on, and this weekend is a milestone part of that grieving and healing process.

watch here| watch on youtube | subscribe to my channel

Thank you for your love and support. Talk about depression and anxiety. Talk about mental health. Tell others that you can always get help. Tell yourself that you can always get help. Click here to read more about the walk, more about Timmy’s Plum Shirts and more about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

And if you take just one thing away from this post, please let it be this: it’s okay to ask for help.



Filed under Life and Health

Confessions of a Stay at Home Cat Mom

It’s been a while since I just sat down and wrote to update you on what’s going on. It’s about time! Here are the top 5 big things going on in my life right now:

1. I got a job!

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I’ve been working on freelance and odd jobs for the last few months while going through my post-college identity crisis, but I’ve known for a while that I wanted to find a “real” job. Well, I found one. Mostly. ;) I’ve been incredibly inspired by everything wedding-related, stationery and calligraphy. I’m still working on my portfolio on those aspects, but I found a part-time gig that’s perfect for now. Starting on Sunday, I’m going to be working part time at an art supply store. It’s a perfect fit for me right now: part time, with a group of awesome people and surrounded by art and inspiration. Yay! Everything just kind of fell into place all at once.

2. I’m finally feeling inspired again.

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Ever since scrapfest (aka 1000+ make and  takes!), I’ve had literally no mojo. Something finally clicked into place a couple days ago, and I’m finally ready to get back at it. I’ve been sketching blog post ideas, business ideas and feeling much happier in general for the past week. And man, it feels good.

3. Leia is such a rockstar.

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Because I’ve been spending a ton of time at home lately, Leia has been doing a fantastic job of keeping me constantly on my toes. I recently installed a bird feeder out on the porch and filled it with sunflower seed hearts, and now we all the get the pleasure of dozens of birds (and the occasional albino squirrel) visiting every day. We’ve even had a Blue Jay! Needless to say, the patio is Leia’s new favorite tv show.

4. My health has been up and down, but I’m feeling great right now!

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I’ve been through a couple of rough weeks lately. My sleep study revealed that I have delay onset REM sleep; that’s causing me to need at least 10 hours of sleep per night (boo!). I’m in the process of switching around some of my medications in hopes that my REM will return back to normal. To be able to sleep a normal amount of time without waking up exhausted would be so AWESOME. I also threw out my back  few weeks ago, but I immediately started some physical therapy, and it’s made a world of a difference. Plus, now I’m feeling great because I’m getting a work out in every day. All in all, I’m feeling really great right now – yay for a healthy road ahead!

5. I’m so inspired by everything makeup (and shopping in general!)

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Lately, I’ve been compensating for bad days and lack of inspiration by diving into the world of makeup. I’ve been totally into painting my nails, eye makeup and good skincare. Here are a couple of my absolute favorite must-haves right now:

  • Nails: the Julep Maven subscription is not to be missed. Not only are Julep’s polishes free of all the icky ingredients that a lot of cheap nail polishes contain. I subscribe to the bombshell style, and I couldn’t be happier. I picked up a few Christmas gifts with my last box, too! Oh, and this is my current favorite nail polish: Ignite from the new Formula X for Sephora collection. It is SEXY.
  • Eyes: the months leading up to Christmas are hands down the BEST time to pick up fun sampler sets and palettes from your favorite prestige makeup brands. I recently had some store credit to spend, so I picked up the Joy to the Girls holiday palette from Too Faced. Man, it’s fantastic! I love the colors; they’re more purple and pink than what I’m used to wearing and look fantastic on my skin. (If you’re looking for a fantastic go-to neutral palette, I can’t recommend the Naked 2 palette by Urban Decay enough. I use it almost every day!)
  • Skin: I finally took the plunge and purchased a Clarisonic Plus [Sephora 1] [Sephora 2] [SkinStore] to add to my skin routine. I am absolutely, positively in love. Not only has it made my skin clearer (it does the BEST job of getting off all the makeup that you would normally miss with your hands), but is very programable and even can be used on my shoulders and back in the shower.
  • Bonus fun: I have a (not so) secret obsession with watching QVC while working on my computer, cleaning and cooking. Today’s Special Value over there is a set of my beloved Vera Bradley bags, and I’m obsessed with this new Venetian Paisley pattern for the winter season. If you’re a Vera lover, be sure to check out this deal!

Thanks so much for stopping by today. You make me happy, and I would love if you would share what’s making you happy today. See you again soon!



Filed under Life and Health, Links and Shopping