Spring Cleaning: Bathrooms

Continuing my blog series on spring cleaning, here is the plan I’ve devised for spring cleaning the bathrooms in our house, complete with tips and tricks for getting rid of those funny smells that may accompany them.¬† ūüėČ

Linens and Curtains

Open the windows (if possible, fresh air will mask a surprising number of funny smells in addition to its health benefits).

Launder all the curtains and air dry in the sun (if possible, the sun is an amazing all natural stain remover as well as sterilizer).

Launder the towels and wash cloths and dry thoroughly.¬† I dry towels and washcloths in the dryer because I don’t like the drying my skin with hard, crunchy texture they get from air drying, even though this does abate with time.¬† An alternative is to line dry them and then place them in the dryer for a few minutes to soften them up.

Clean the curtain rods, towel rods, and toilet paper holders with all purpose cleaner.

Vanities and Cabinets

Remove everything from the top of the vanities/cabinets.

Clean the top of the vanities/cabinets with wood or all purpose cleaner.

Perhaps you have a drawer that looks something like mine below.¬† Remove everything from the inside of the vanities/cabinets, one drawer at a time for simplicity’s sake if you like.

Before Cleaning

Clean the vanities/cabinets inside and out with wood or all purpose cleaner.

As you prepare to return things to each cabinet, make piles of things to keep, throw away, store, and/or donate.

ONLY replace the things on and in the table you’ve decided to keep.

  • Do not¬†keep things like bottles of lotion you haven’t used in a few months with a tablespoon of lotion inside. ¬†You’re cleaning, let’s use this time to get rid of those things.
  • Also, consider how many things you need to keep in a prime location like an upper drawer or eye level cabinet.¬† Did you buy a few different shampoos or toothpastes and decide you didn’t like some?¬† Go ahead and toss them (or, if you’re me, force yourself to use them now until they’re gone)?
  • Think about when the last time you used the items you’re going through. ¬†If it was a long time ago, get rid of them.¬† In the case of baby items, consider what to store, donate, or throw away.¬† Again, don’t allow things you’re not actively using to be stored or to clutter prime locations.
  • Lastly, this is a great time to take inventory of what you have and don’t need any more of as well as what is worn out and needs to be replaced.

After Cleaning

Place the things to store in a labeled box.

Place the things to donate in another labeled box.

Take out your trash (lest your children invade it and bring things back in the house like mine sometimes do).


Clean the exterior of your toilet with a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water.¬† I know the smell of the vinegar can be overpowering, but it’s the only cleaner, homemade or commercial, that I’ve found effectively removes the smell of urine from my bathroom.¬† Be sure to clean the entire toilet, every square inch.¬† I’ve also found that there are parts of the toilet near the floor that often get missed in my general cleaning.¬† Since this is a deep clean, be intentional about scrubbing the entire exterior surface.¬† Scrub with an old toothbrush or cleaning brush if needed.

Clean the interior of your toilet with baking soda and 1:1 vinegar:water.¬† Begin by sprinkling the interior of the toilet with baking soda.¬† Spray with the vinegar mixture.¬† Then, scrub with a toilet brush.¬† If you have hard water stains in the bottom of your toilet, scrub them gently with a pumice stone.¬† Be sure the surface of the stain is submerged in water when you do this so that you do not scratch your toilet bowl.¬† You may have to work at these stains over the course of time, so don’t be discouraged if you have to come back to it again.

Flush away the dirty toilet water.


Remove all soaps, shampoos, razors and other body products as well as towels, washcloths, toys, etc. from the bathtub/shower.

Spray the entire surface with all purpose cleaner or stain remover and scrub with a brush.

For hard to remove stains, try a paste of baking soda, lemon essential oil, and a small amount of water.

Rinse then dry with a towel.

Consider cleaning shower head with 1:1 vinegar:water to remove hard water buildup.

Consider re-caulking if needed.


Vacuum the entire room.  Then, mop the entire room.

If your bathroom floor is tiled and (like mine) has an uncanny ability to harbor funny smells, consider re-sealing grout to keep the funny smells at bay (or consider hosting a don’t pee on my floor boot camp).

Clean the base moulding with wood or all purpose cleaner.

Clean the windows with window cleaner.

Clean any step stools with wood or all purpose cleaner.

Dust and clean clocks, picture frames, and other decor with all purpose cleaner.

Carefully clean the light switches with all purpose cleaner or soap/water.

And, if you’re really ambitious, clean the walls with soap/water.

Optionally, diffuse some lovely essential oils in the amazingly clean room; my favorites area a mix of lavender/lemon or the purification blend.

Last, but not least, enjoy your hard work!


Spring Cleaning: Perspective

For the next few posts, I want to share with you how I tackle spring cleaning.¬† I want to preface this discussion with an understanding that my vision for spring cleaning isn’t about having a perfect, clutter-free home even most of the time or getting rid of every single useless but sentimental item in my home, but rather it’s about purging the excess and inefficient in all areas of my home in order to make what we do have more useful and efficient in our everyday lives.¬† Sometimes I tend to keep sentimental items in prominent places in my home where more useful, efficient items should be placed; for me, this usually happens in the kitchen as my family and I love to cook and have a many heirloom pieces in my kitchen.¬† In any case, the clutter disrupts the functionality of my space as well as our daily peace and comfort.¬† So, if there is a huge inward struggle in getting rid of something, I’ll store out of sight and mind somewhere (attic, shed, basement, closet, …) until I am ready to get rid of it.¬† I’ve digressed a little, but throughout this series I’ll try to address how I tackle these inward battles.

In any case, I believe housekeeping is an art and science that can become lost in certain times and cultures as well as in certain phases of life, but I also believe that it is an art and science some of use are trying to learn, explore and, even perhaps, revive.¬† If you find yourself among the latter, Cheryl Mendelson has written an amazing and comprehensive book on the subject entitled Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House.¬† She may have gotten me hook, line and sinker when she put the word science in the title.¬† But, honestly, her work in this book is amazing as it is delightful to read and teaches you how to transform your house into a a comfortable home by offering wise counsel, advice, and insight on food, fabric/laundry, cleanliness, daily life, sleep, safety, and etiquette.¬† She candidly offers lists, schedules, and instruction on these topics and while I often fall short of the ideal, at least I know what to add as I have the time and resources to add them.¬† I mention Mendelson’s work because in this series, I will not be able to come close to the detail she put into writing Home Comforts, so if these posts leave you wanting to know more or if you simply want a hard copy for quicker, easier reference, I would highly recommend her work.

I’ll outline how I deep clean and organize room by room with the hope of inspiring you to develop routine and spring cleaning plans that work well for you and your family.¬† I’ll also try to post before and after pictures as well as how I try to involve my children in the cleaning process.¬† I’ve only just begun spring cleaning this year, so I’ll be going along on this journey with you – from the bedrooms, to the bathrooms, to the living room/s, the dining room and the kitchen – let’s clean!¬† ūüôā

Perfect Lip Balm

Spring and summer, wind and heat, are approaching and we need to arm our bags and purses with lip balm.¬† While, I admit I don’t use as much lip balm as I should; I am still pretty picky about its texture, applicability, and feel.¬† I haven’t been overly impressed with store bought varieties, and given all the homemade recipes I’ve seen on Pinterest and that my friends have been making, I decided to make some.¬† I began with this post by Marie Rayma at Humble Bee & Me, but since I can never seem to follow a recipe as it’s written the first time, I tweaked it a little.¬† I’m sure her original recipe is fantastic as written, but I wanted you to have the one I actually made. ¬†I’ve been very happy with this lip balm and I hope you are, too.

Making lip balm is very easy.¬† You’ll follow the same procedure I’ve outlined in the past two posts for lotion making (facial moisturizer and deep moisturizing (all body) lotion) by heating the oils together, mixing them, allowing them to cool, and pouring into tins.¬† If you’re scenting or coloring, add the essential oils and colorant/s after you melt the waxes, butters, and oils. ¬†Be sure to use oil soluble colorants like mineral oxides or clays. ¬†Water soluble colorants will not work.


1.4 ounces Almond Oil (optionally, vanilla-infused)

0.9 ounce Coconut Oil

0.7 ounce Beeswax Pellets

0.5 ounce Cocoa Butter

0.5 ounce Raw Honey (optional)

0.1 ounce Vitamin E Oil

20-30 drops Essential Oil (optional)

1/8 tsp. Red Mineral Oxide (optional)

Pinch of Yellow Mineral Oxide (optional)

Preparation and Use

1.  Measure the almond oil, coconut oil, beeswax pellets, and cocoa butter into a sauce pan.  I usually place my saucepan directly on a kitchen scale to make the weighing/measuring easier.


2.  Heat the mixture over LOW heat just until the beeswax melts.


3.¬† Turn off the heat and add the raw honey, vitamin E oil, essential oils and/or colorants, if desired.¬† Feel free to leave it “bare” (without essential oils or colorants) if that’s your preference.¬† I generally like to use vanilla infused almond oil along with either sweet orange or peppermint essential oil to get a sweet orange vanilla or sweet peppermint vanilla lip balm.¬† Use your imagination though.¬† Add any colorants if you’re tinting your lip balm and combine well.

Note: To make vanilla infused almond oil, chop a vanilla bean and place in a 4 ounce glass jar.¬† Pour almond oil within 1/4″ of the top of the jar.¬† Place the jar in a saucepan or a crockpot.¬† Fill the saucepan or crockpot within 1/4″ of the top of the glass jar.¬† Heat on low for 2-3 days, refilling the pan/pot with water as necessary.¬† After 2-3 days, line a colander with cheesecloth, a paper towel, or a coffee filter and place over another jar.¬† Pour your vanilla infused oil through the filter to collect the vanilla beans on top and the infused oil in the jar beneath.

4.  Carefully, pour the warm/hot liquid into a lip balm container. There are lots of options out there: tin jars, white plastic jars, clear plastic jars, or standard lip balm tubes. My personal preference is for the tin jars, but you can use whatever you like.

5.  Allow the lotion to cool completely before placing the lid on the container.

PLB  Coral Lip Balm

6.  Clean your dishes with hot, soapy water.


I’ve written about the science behind these ingredients when I told you about my Deep Moisturizing All Body Lotion, so I won’t go over it again here.


Lip balms can cost as little as $0.50 to $1.00 per tube/tin.¬† The cheapest ‚Äúall natural‚ÄĚ lip balms I’ve seen start at $2.00 per tube.¬† The lip balm presented here costs about $0.24 per tube.¬† The lip balm presented here costs less than the cheapest you‚Äôll be able to find almost anywhere else.¬† It’s so easy, I’m sure it took me less than 10 or 20 minutes to make a batch.¬† For the next few posts in my homemade beauty series, I’m going to feature a wonderful, moisturizing lipstick/rouge and mascara, so I hope you’ll stay tuned for those.

Finishing (and Re-Finishing) Wood

Today, my goal is to de-bunk the myth that finishing (or re-finishing) wood is difficult.  I whipped the project below out in a day.  Obviously, that time will vary with the complexity of your project, but it is entirely possible to finish (or re-finish) a wood project in a short period of time.

For my project today, I selected a hair brush.¬† It’s an odd choice, I know, but here’s how it came to pass.¬† I bought a hair brush a few years ago, but the bristles were too short to make it through my hair, meaning that I would have to brush the topside of my hair…and then the underside…and then twist my head in all sorts of funny angles to get the hair in the middle.¬† So, I ordered this new hairbrush for myself because I got tired of the old one.¬† I love the new hairbrush; it’s perfect for me.¬† I still liked the old brush, too, and it worked well (by halves or thirds for me) and didn’t really want to get rid of it, so I decided to give it to Gwyn since her locks are still thin, but growing longer and in need of some management (see how cute they are when they’re tame):


The problem was that the stain and finish on the old brush were work and chipped, so I wanted it to look pretty again before giving it to her.¬† So, today I’m going to show you how to re-finish a hairbrush; however, the same principles used here can be applied to any old or new wood piece (for the latter, simply skip the step where we remove the old stain and finish).


Sand Paper, Coarse and Fine Grit

Lint-Free Cloths (or an old T-shirt, cut into small squares)

1-4 Pairs of Disposable Gloves

Minwax Stain (color of your choice, I used “Red Mahogany” because it closely matched the old color of stain)

Minwax Wipe-On Polyurethane (“Satin” or “Gloss“)

Well Ventilated Area


1.  Remove all the old stain and finish from your project using coarse grit sand paper.  You can either do this by hand or using an orbital sander.  I started by hand, became impatient and moved to the orbital sander.  Once all the stain and finish are removed, switch to the fine grit sandpaper to achieve a smooth surface.  With a damp, lint-free cloth, wipe off the sawdust and let your project dry completely.

HB_unfinished_2  HB_unfinished

2.  Move to a well ventilated area.  Put on a pair of disposable gloves (I used the same pair throughout this project, but you can put new ones on at each step if you prefer).  Wipe the Minwax stain onto your project in a uniform layer, not too thick and not too thin.  I usually get my cloth barely damp and rub until it looks uniform to me.  The project should not be dripping wet nor will it be completely dry at this point, just evenly damp in wetness and evenly uniform in color.  Let the stain dry for 4 hours in your well ventilated area; reapply a second coat, if desired using the same procedure (and let dry for 4 hours again).  (Note: I usually apply 2 coats of stain, this project included.)


3.¬† Keeping your project in your well ventilated area.¬† Put on a pair of disposable gloves again.¬† This time, wipe the Minwax polyurethane onto your project in a uniform layer using a lint free cloth, again, not too thick and not too thin.¬† Choose the “Gloss” version if you’d like your finished product to be glossy/shiny; and the “Satin” version if you’d like it to be satin/matte.¬† Gloss would have been a better choice for my project here, but Satin is what I had on hand (and I can always add a coat or two of Gloss later).¬† In any case, let the polyurethane dry for 2 hours in your well ventilated area; reapply second and third coats, if desired using the same procedure (and letting dry for 2 hours in between each coat).¬† (Note: I usually apply 3 coats of polyurethane, this project included.)¬† Wait 24 hours before resuming normal use.

Note, if the stain or finish get on anything like your countertop or skin, lemon essential oils works great at helping to get it off.¬† Since they are both oil-based products, you’ll need something oil-like to remove them.¬† And, lemon essential oil is the healthiest and most natural option I know of.

HB_finish HB_finishing

4.¬† That’s it!¬† See how easy that was!¬† I hope that myth was easily de-bunked and now we can all say in unison “Refinishing wood is EASY!”

HB_finished_02 HB_finished

Miss Money Bags Yoga Mat Bag Review


As I continue to have health and wellness on my mind, and strive to find more ways to refresh¬†my heart, mind, and body, I can’t help but think of the balance¬†exercise have given me. ¬†The benefits of exercise are well documented. ¬†Personally, I love the way exercising can wake my mind and body up in the morning and help me be more productive as I start my day. ¬†I love the way it challenges my mind and body to try new things, go farther, deeper, and, perhaps, faster, but always to become better at whatever exercise I choose. ¬†I love the way exercising can refresh¬†my body in the afternoon if I choose it over a nap. ¬†And, I love the way gentle exercising can calm my heart and mind and wind down my body at the end of the day. ¬†Now, don’t get me wrong I do not exercise 3 times a day, but I do have 4 children, so if I don’t get up at 5 or 6 a.m. to get my workout in first thing in the morning, it’s good to have some other options (besides, sometimes my children need the workout in the afternoon or evening, too)!

When it comes to exercise, I believe everyone is different. ¬†Some people like to stick with the same exercise and just keep getting better and better at it. ¬†Some people like to change it up frequently. ¬†I’d encourage you to find what works best for you and stick with that. ¬†I honestly believe that sets us up for the most success in our exercise programs. ¬†Just like I like to do lots of different types of crafts, I like to exercise in lots of different ways, too. ¬†When I exercise with my kids, we often go on walks, hikes, bike rides, or play ball in the yard. ¬†I also run sometimes if I need to exercise with my kids; my older kids ride their bikes and I push the younger ones in a jogging stroller. ¬†When I’m pressed for time and want to exercise alone (or my husband randomly signs me up for a 5K), running is also a good way for me¬†to get my heart rate up, burn calories, and get a workout in in a relatively short period of time. ¬†Though it’s not my favorite form of exercise, it works well when I have other things such as time and kids and upcoming races¬†to consider. ¬†Personally, I also really enjoy¬†dancing, either traditional ballet or some cardio-form of it¬†are fun for me.

A Few Brief Words on Yoga

This past year, I’ve added a new form of exercise to my routine – yoga. ¬†I’ve fallen in love with yoga. ¬†I’ve always been really coordinated, but it wasn’t until I started doing power yoga that I realized I could get my heart rate up as well as¬†challenge my posture and balance and try new things all in the same workout. ¬†An exhaustive list of the health benefits of yoga is outlined by the Yoga Journal¬†here. ¬†Another reason I love yoga is¬†that there are so many varieties of classes and DVDs as well as skill levels offered that anyone,¬†couch potato or athlete, can start anytime. ¬†I also love that I can do yoga at home (and with my kids) since it’s hard for me to get away sometimes. ¬†And, I love that yoga challenges my mind and my body; though I always work hard during my¬†workouts, after yoga, I feel fulfilled and energized and not exhausted when I’m done. ¬†Since I can use all the energy I can get these days, words don’t adequately express how much I¬†love that! ¬†I also love that I can do yoga with minimal gear: a towel, a yoga mat, and a yoga mat bag.

My Yoga Mat and Bag

Not all yoga mats are created equal. ¬†When I started doing yoga a year ago, I was using a¬†very¬†thin and inexpensive yoga mat, which was quite small, but I was determined to use until I knew whether or not I was going to stick with yoga or not. ¬†When I realized that I had fallen in love with yoga and was committed to it for the long haul, I asked for¬†the very durable Manduka Black Mat PRO for my birthday, which¬†is 71″ x 26″ x 0.25″¬†and weighs 7 pounds. ¬†It’s long, thick,¬†and heavy compared to the thin, inexpensive version I began with and those that you see in most stores and gyms. ¬†It’s also very expensive as you’ll see if you click through the link above, so needless to say¬†it’s one of the few things in my house solely for my use that I don’t want my kids playing with (I do let them use the inexpensive mat I began with though). ¬†To keep the temptation to play with my yoga mat at bay, I store my yoga mat¬†in a Miss Money Bags waxed canvas yoga mat bag. ¬†I also use my yoga mat bag for traveling to the gym, so I can have a wonderful mat with my own germs and not someone else’s germs to practice on. ¬†In addition to its utility, I also love this¬†yoga mat bag for the beauty, craftsmanship, and luxury of it.

Miss Money Bags Yoga Mat Bag Review

The¬†Miss Money Bags waxed canvas yoga mat bag¬†is beautiful. ¬†In appearance and in quality, this bag is strikingly beautiful. ¬†The body and strap of this bag are¬†made of waxed canvas, which is water resistant and durable. ¬†The body comes in various earthy colors and measures¬†30″ long, ¬†5″ around.


The outside of the strap matches the body of the bag and the underside of the strap is one of various beautiful¬†ethnic tribal fabrics and measures 35″.


The ends of the bag are made of thick, soft brown leather imprinted with the Kith & Kin logo of their family’s¬†shop.


The¬†Miss Money Bags waxed canvas yoga mat bag¬†is functional. ¬†It is spacious, but bulky. ¬†The bag is roomy enough to fit my yoga mat, a yoga mat towel, a hand towel, my wallet, phone, and/or a water bottle! ¬†Note, the dimensions of my yoga mat¬†are¬†71″ x 26″ x 0.25″ and the Miss Money Bags waxed canvas yoga mat bag fits it perfectly. ¬†If you have a yoga¬†mat that’s longer than 71″, contact the shop owner,¬†Sarah Clark, at the Miss Money Bags Store on Etsy using the link on the left side of the page and request a special order yoga mat bag large enough to accommodate a¬†longer length. ¬†A heavy duty zipper runs the length of the bag and allows me to get my yoga mat, accessories, and personal necessities into and out of the bag easily. ¬†I personally think it’s much easier to use than the previous bag I had where I loaded the yoga mat and everything else from the top. ¬†All the seams of the bag are taped/reinforced to stand up to repeated use.

YB_empty open


The Miss Money Bags waxed canvas yoga mat bag is a luxury to me Рjust like yoga itself.  In the hustle and bustle of this world, I love how yoga slows me down and helps me see my life, my body, and my surroundings more clearly.    I also love how this bag, a work of art and craftsmanship, helps me appreciate the beauty, love, and care I see in the things around me.


If you’re a yogi,¬†looking for a place to store your gear or upgrade it, you won’t be disappointed. ¬†If you’re not a yogi, you can still check out the¬†Miss Money Bags Store on Etsy where she sells lots of other high quality bags and accessories, including her innovative¬†cash envelope wallets,¬†bifold wallets, kid’s wallets, key straps, essential oil pouches, waxed canvas Dopp kits (aka toiletries bags), and, of course, the waxed canvas yoga mat bags¬†I’ve reviewed here. ¬†You can also check out¬†Kith & Kin¬†where Miss Money Bags¬†sells waxed canvas weekend bags, totes, and tool bags. ¬†Lastly, you can follow¬†Miss Money Bags on Facebook¬†to be alerted of current and upcoming sales, and specials as well as new product offerings.

Essential Oil Basics: Getting Started


Being healthy is an all encompassing task. ¬†It involves all parts of our being: body, mind and spirit. ¬†It involves many small and big decisions day in and day out, some of which contradict our nature and wishes, made in the knowledge and understanding that our bodies and lives will be better because of them. ¬†That being said, sometimes we just don’t know where to start.

1.  Eat Healthy Foods.

One of the first and easiest ways to start is by making healthy food choices. ¬†There are an abundance of great books, literature and blogs on the topic of eating well and I even allude to some on this blog from time to time. ¬†Because of this abundance of resources, I won’t spend a lot of time on this topic now except to say that food can be our medicine in so many ways. ¬†Fresh produce along with fresh and dried herbs have energy that they transmit to our bodies, making us healthier when we eat them in a balance diet of lean protein and healthy carbohydrates and fats.

2.  Use positive thoughts and words and pray.

A second way to be healthy is to use positive thoughts, words, and prayers. ¬†The interaction between the mind and matter is supported by science (simply go here and enter the search term “mind body connection” to pull up a whole host of scientific articles exploring the topic). ¬†Human thought and intent also has energy that transmits to our bodies, making us healthier when we use them. ¬†While this can also be a difficult task, there’s also a wealth of resources in addition to communities of people who dedicate their lives to helping people make these positive changes. ¬†So, again, I’ll move my focus on to the third way I’ve found to be healthy, a way in which I believe there are less resources and support available.

3.  Use therapeutic grade essential oils.

A third way to be healthy is to use therapeutic grade essential oils. ¬†Despite our best attempts to eat well and think positively, for most of us, life catches up and we find ourselves stressed and busy, eating poorly and struggling to find something “nice” to say or even to think a coherent thought at all. ¬†In situations such as these, some turn to modern medicine, but since I’m more happy and comfortable with a natural approach, I believe this is where therapeutic grade essential oils can be very helpful in overcoming¬†struggles and getting back on track with a healthy diet and thought life. ¬†Essential oils have been a life-changing part of my life for the past several years and I’m excited to share with you what I’ve learned!


So, for my first three posts on health and wellness, I’m going to talk about essential oils. ¬†I recently told a friend about essential oils and was looking for a good, basic yet informative site to direct her to. ¬†Since my search came up void, I decided to write this series. ¬†In this post, I’ll tell you about the basics, what essential oils are, where I buy oils and why as well as some thoughts to consider when selecting an essential oil distributor. ¬†In the next post, I’ll move on to some different techniques for use and application. ¬†And, finally, since I’m a chemist and a lover of details, I’ll go into the science behind what essential oils are, where they come from, and how they work.


Essential oils come from plants. ¬†They are “essential” because they sustain the life of a mature plant, by directing¬†vital processes in plants such as metabolism, nutrient absorption, regulation of plant functions, protection, healing, repair, and reproduction. ¬†And, they are “oils” because they are made up, primarily of hydrocarbons (atoms of hydrogen and carbon), which are also known as “oils.” ¬†(A special note: because they are light weight, which we’ll talk about in my third¬†post on the chemistry of essential oils, they are not greasy like the heavier weight vegetable oils many of us are more¬†familiar with.)

By virtue of their “vital” purpose in plants, therapeutic grade¬†essential oils have the potential to assist us in many similar ways they assist plants.


One of the most important things to understand is that not all essential oils are created equal. ¬†With the boom in natural health over the course of the past decade or so, many companies have jumped on the essential oil bandwagon, but taken shortcuts along the way that have compromised the integrity of their oils. ¬†If your desire is to use essential oils for health and wellness, to assist you in supporting an ailment, I would encourage you to do your research on the company you’re buying from. ¬†Please make sure you’re buying a pure, organic, therapeutic grade essential oil, which will have the most healing properties available to you with no fillers or contaminants. ¬†Just as there are many essential oils distributors selling low quality products, there are several¬†distributors selling high quality oils, too. ¬†So, do your own research and find one that works for you.

I like Young Living because they are one of the leaders in the essential oil industry.  They set a high standard with their organic seed to seal process, they own all their farms, and have over 20 years of experience.  They test every batch of oils using a highly calibrated gas chromatograph, comparing each batch to a high standard of a known standard; any batches that fall short are thrown away.  Young Living oils are pure, therapeutic, and potent.  Young Living is a multi-level marketing (MLM) company, while I understand that that is a turn-off to some, I like it in the essential oil market because of the supportive community/team you become part of when you join an active Young Living group.  While I enjoy Young Living essential oils, I have friends and family who love doTERRA, which is also an MLM company.  I also have friends and family who love Rocky Mountain Oils, which is closely allied with Native American Nutritionals, neither of which MLM companies.

For me, using essential oils is about natural health. ¬†While modern medicine certainly has¬†it’s place, many believe it has become overused. ¬†Not to mention that a lot of over the counter and prescription medications simply don’t work for me, which has led me down a path of looking for natural alternatives. ¬†When I first started using essential oils, I didn’t know what to expect, but using high quality essential oils, I’ve experienced amazing results for many ailments. ¬†I have personally used my oils for colds/flu, headaches, mood support, household cleaning, oral care, relaxation, routine skin care, rashes, cleaning, stomach aches, canker sores, sunburn, bug bites, muscle pain, and more using aromatherapy, topical application, and ingestion¬†(the topic of my next post). ¬†As you know from my blog, I am passionate about natural health and wellness as well as¬†a good deal. ¬†For those reasons, many of my friends and family members have asked me my thoughts on getting started with essential oils.


If you’re ready to get started I highly recommend the Premium Starter Kit for a few reasons. ¬†Getting started with the kit qualifies you for a 24% wholesale discount¬†on¬†all your future purchases. ¬†There are no¬†yearly membership fees, no commitments or strings attached, it really is as simple as it sounds. ¬†Starting with the Premium Kit gives you will have a whole arsenal of oils (11 to be exact) to test, experiment, and play with. ¬†Buying single oils or smaller kits means it will take a lot longer to build a collection as well as to determine¬†which oils work best for¬†you.



The Premium Starter Kit includes:

  • 5 mL bottles of the following essential oils:
    • Frankincense (supports youthful skin and spiritual connection)
    • Lemon (supports detoxification and cleaning)
    • Lavender (supports skin irritations and relaxation)
    • Melaleuca Alternifolia (supports immune function¬†and skin)
    • Peppermint (reduces muscle soreness and digestive issues)
    • Joy (supports happiness and love)
    • Purification (helps in cleaning)
    • PanAway (reduces pain and inflammation)
    • Thieves (supports immune function, helps colds/flu)
    • Stress Away¬†(reduces stress and tension)
    • Bonus: Citrus Fresh (supports immune function, purification, and calming)
  • Home Diffuser¬†
  • Aroma Glide Roller Fitment (which allows you to turn any oil into a roll on)
  • 10 sample packets for travel or sharing
  • 2 samples of NingXia Red (an antioxidant supplement)
  • Lots of helpful literature¬†on oil usage and the Young Living company


When you are ready to sign up you have two options. ¬†The first is a retail account, which I don’t recommend because you pay 24% more than you need to. ¬†The second option is a wholesale account. ¬†I believe this option, along with the Premium Starter Kit, is the best value. ¬†In addition to getting 24% off all your purchases, you will also be eligible to sign up for their Essential Rewards program to earn free oils and, if you ever decide to be an independent¬†distributor, you will have that option available to you as well with a wholesale account. There is no obligation, commitment, hidden fees, or strings attached to the wholesale account. ¬†If you believe this is the next step for your family’s health, click¬†here.

As an¬†MLM, if you click the link¬†above, you’ll see¬†that I’m providing you with my Young Living ID in the sponsor and enroller ID boxes. ¬†I’d love to sponsor you and, thereby be able to help and support you on your essential oil journey and to help you find answers to your questions about essential oils and their uses. ¬†In fact, it would be my honor. ¬†Please know that this is not about numbers, sign-ups or making money for me. ¬†I simply want to make sure that everyone seeking answers about essential oils finds them either from great books, articles, and resources or from an active, supportive community like our private Facebook group. ¬†I’ve received a lot of information and support from my essential oil community. ¬†I believe that’s one of the reasons I’ve seen so many benefits from essential oils. ¬†I want that for you, too!

So, whether you choose Young Living or another high quality essential oil distributor. ¬†Whether you’re looking to make more natural changes in your health or that of your family. ¬†Or, whether you’re trying to reduce your exposure to toxins and harsh chemicals. ¬†Or, if you simply have more questions about essential oils that you want answered, I hope that you’ll stick around for the rest of this series to learn more about essential oils. ¬†I will not be making any more product pitches after today; my inspiration for this post came from my friends and family wondering where I recommend starting¬†and why. ¬†The remaining posts will provide information that will be useful to any user of therapeutic grade essential oils. ¬†Up next, I’ll write about different techniques for essential oil use and application.



FDA Disclaimer: The products and statements made about specific products in this presentation have not been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration, and are not intended to diagnose, treat cure, or prevent disease. All information provided during this presentation, or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging, is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. Any testimonials presented are based on individual results.

Back to Blogging

I’m baaack! ¬†(Insert big smile.) ¬†Thank you for being gracious to me while I took a little siesta from blogging. ¬†I’m sorry I left so abruptly, but I realized I needed to let a few things go for a period of time for the¬†sake of my health (and sanity) while I got into a good sustainable routine. ¬†Let’s pick up where we left off. ¬†As you may remember, in the summer of 2013, we welcomed sweet Gwyn into our family. ¬†She’s been a joy and a treasure and since she’s our first daughter we’ve had many “ahh-hah” moments as we realize first hand the many differences between boys and girls.

The first thing that we noticed is that she smiled from day 1. ¬†Now, I know that babies are not “supposed” to be able to smile, that it’s likely gas or some more rational explanation like that. ¬†But, I’m convinced she truly smiled, in context, from day 1 (a side note and bad joke: it may be she was an early developer in this context because she was overbaked at 2 weeks past my EDD). ¬†After “dada” and “mama” her third word was “hi” and she used it in context eeeeeverywhere we went for 3-4 months solid. ¬†One of the next things we noticed is that she is quick to apologize, not wanting the person’s she’s hurt to be in pain or the relationship to be broken for long. ¬†All that to say, the¬†“ahh-hah” moment we’ve had with her¬†is that she has truly been much more relational than our boys were at her age. ¬† There will be more I’m sure, but it’s been fun to experience.

After adequately adoring and cherishing our new arrival, I jumped straight into my first job since Elliot was born!  In the fall of 2013, I began directing a Classical Conversations (CC) community here in Amarillo.  Classical Conversations is a homeschool support group with the mission to know God and make Him known by equipping parents and encouraging students as they study core subjects using the classical method of education with a Biblical worldview.  While our homeschooling journey has been wonderful, productive and replete with life lessons for everyone in the family, we were looking for some community, accountability, and structure.  And, CC as we call it, has provided just what we were looking for all around, with the added bonus of a little positive peer pressure in a wonderful Christian environment to move our academic studies to a much higher level.

The combination of welcoming and adoring Gwyn with starting a local CC group was what led to my siesta from blogging. ¬†I *finally* feel like we’re in a good, healthy routine and I’m dying to share with you a few things that I’ve learned about stress, health and wellness along the way (and shortly thereafter, some super fun crafts and recipes I’ve tried). But, before I get too far ahead of myself, we’ll stick to the former and the next few blog posts will be dedicated directly to just that, health and wellness.

And, since you may have forgotten what we look like, here’s the family picture we included in our Christmas cards.