Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Essential oils // My favorite ones and how I use them

young living essential oils

So the question I get the most when I talk about using essential oils now is what my favorite ones are and how I use them (and if they work...). So here's my long answer!

I bought the premium starter kit when I first started because it has all of the most popular oils and includes a diffuser (which is like a spa at home), and a bunch of other goodies like samples packets and more. You save a ton of money by going this route and get your hands on 11 different oils to start out with, it was like christmas morning when my package arrived in the mail! So I'll start by talking about those ones that are included because thats all I had to begin with and they are the bees-knees!

Thieves: This is a powerhouse oil and definitely one of my very very favorites! It is like emergen-C X 100 for helping ward off sickness. We've used this one over and over during cold and flu season to help keep us from getting sick or getting over sickness quickly. My favorite story (and the one that had me totally sold on it) is my entire family (parents, sisters, spouses, kids) stayed in a small house for a vacation recently and right in the middle of it my nephew got a stomach virus so we were all pretty much doomed to get it. I remembered that I had brought thieves so I started applying it to my feet and anyone in the house who would let me. Here's the kicker: everyone that let me apply the thieves to them didn't get the virus. The stubborn people who didn't want "the oils" on their feet, they got the nasty little virus. That CANNOT be a coincidence. Ever since then, we've been using it diligently if we find out we were around someone sick or start to feel the beginnings of a sickness and it has always nipped it in the bud. Other ways we use it: cleaning! All-natural anti-bacterial!

Peppermint: I get headaches pretty frequently (it runs in the family) and I hate hate hate using pain relievers so when I read about peppermint relieving headaches I was super excited to try it. A drop of oil swiped across the temples and forehead (or back of neck, depending on where your head hurts) and gone. Sometimes I'll have to do it twice for it to go away completely but for the most part just once. It is also fantastic for stomach problems, we usually put a drop in a little bit of water and shoot it down. This is HUGE for me since I used to live off pepto (before I got pregnant) and it was the only thing that would take away my frequent stomach aches. If there was one oil I probably couldn't live without now, it'd be peppermint. Other uses: congestion, indigestion, muscle soreness, gas and fever reducer. 

Purification: This one can neutralize odors that nothing else can! We tried using febreze in the past but its soooo chemically I felt like I was going to start having brain loss if I kept using it, that crap is crazy (and didn't even work good). But anyway, two cats in our small apartment... not ideal for a fresh smelling house... but diffusing this (or making a spray with this+water for a natural febreze) neutralizes the odors in minutes. I also always put one drop in my kitchen towel/rag load of laundry and they come out smelling brand new. It's also great for using on breakouts, bug bites or as a natural insect repellent. It's very multi-functional if you can't tell ;)

Frankincense: This one is like gold to me! It has super restorative properties so I've been using it on my face to help with breakouts, heal old acne scars and keep wrinkles at bay. I actually just started using it on a couple stretch marks that I got while pregnant, and I know you won't believe me until I have photographic evidence but they are almost completely invisible. Pictures to come (when I feel like being vulnerable). This is a super expensive oil so that fact that it comes in this kit is incredible!

Joy: This one smells incredible and has been super helpful for when I have anxiety or when I'm in a funk. I was super skeptical of essential oils helping out with emotional issues because the results aren't as black and white as a headache going away or a rash clearing up but they have worked for me in tangible ways. I have friends that have been able to get off of anxiety/depression medications because these work so well for them. And THAT is truly amazing! Plus, this one smells like the best perfume so its a win/win.

Lemon: This one might be one of the most multi-purpose oils out there. Josh and I add a drop to our water bottle every day for its cleansing properties. I also use it to clean with, to cook and bake with (lemon cookies!)  and if you get sick it is great with honey to help a sore throat! So many other uses too.

Lavender: If you've been reading my blog for awhile you know how obsessed with lavender I am :) I loooove this one. I use it for relaxation and sleep (for myself and Beck!), on burns and skin irritations, diaper rash, dry skin and lips (darn winter!), to clear up a runny nose and I even add a drop to my coffee every now and then. It's also great for stress and anxiety and to use in laundry or homemade cleaning products to make everything smell so fresh.

Panaway: This is the icy-hot of the essential oil world but so much better. I use it for tension headaches (a drop spread across back of my neck, behind my ears and across my shoulders), for sore muscles from working out, and the best of all, for stomach cramps around that time of the month. I would always have to take at least one ibuprofen for my cramps but haven't taken a single one since september. A few drops to my lower stomach where you feel cramps and it eases the pain and feels tingly and minty.

Citrus fresh: This one is often used for weight loss but I've yet to try it for that so I mostly use it for cleaning, as an air spray (it smells SO refreshing), or in my water for an energy boost. This one is still new to me (its actually new to the kit) so I'm still learning about what to use it for.

Stress away: This is the bees-knees for stress (obviously). I use it (applied to my wrists and behind my ears) when I start to feel tense and overwhelmed. It has a really calming effect. I've been known to sneak this one on Josh when he's a little cranky :)

Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea tree): I started using tea tree oil a loooong time ago because I always heard it helped with skin issues and such but it honestly never worked for me so I gave up. Looking back I can see it probably didn't work because I bought a $3 bottle at walmart or some place equally as shady and it probably didn't even have any actual Melaleuca(thats the real stuff) in it. Now that I use the real deal stuff it actually works like its supposed to. It is so amazing for a plethora of skin conditions, cuts and bug bites (and preventing bug bites!), cleaning and preventing mold growth, relief from athletes foot, getting rid of warts, and even helping an earache.  Maybe this one wins for most multi-purpose?! I had ring worm on my arm about a month ago (so gross I know!) and I wanted to get rid of it asap but without using a fungal cream so I used Mel-A a few times a day and it was gone within a week. Which is good because I was so creeped out by it!

Wow. That was long and I only briefly touched on each one that I started out with! I have so many more specific stories (or testimonials if you will) to tell but I'll save it for later this week or next week so this doesn't turn into the longest post ever. If you're curious and need to know more.. like now! about any of these that I talked about, feel free to email me!!
I'll be also posting more about which ones I feel comfortable using on Beck for sleeping, teething, fussiness, rashes, ect. soon but if you need to know right away (I feel your pain!) email me too, I'll tell you what has worked for us!

If you're wanting to order the same thing I started off with you can do so here: https://www.youngliving.com/signup/?site=US&sponsorid=2043894&enrollerid=2043894

As you are ordering:
1. Be sure to check Wholesale Member to earn 24% off any future orders (you can't get the kit as a "retail customer" plus you save money by being a wholesale member, its like costco... except free!)
2. Then choose the Premium Starter Kit
3. Go ahead and just say No Thanks for Step 3 about Essential Rewards. No need to worry about that right now.
Follow the process all the way through to the end, where you will receive TWO confirmation emails! One confirming that you signed up, and another confirming your order.
Be sure to let me know if you're ordering and I can send you a helpful handbook thingy I have that has toooons of information about the oils, usage ideas, and recipes for cleaners and lotions and lots of other exciting things. 

young living essential oils

Monday, January 12, 2015

Essential Oils // The who, what, where, and more

Essential oil kit

I'm so excited to finally be sharing about my discovery of these little oils up there. It's been a long time coming (and a lot of you asking!) so here we are. I knew there would be too much to share in just one or two or three posts so this will be an ongoing series of everything we use these little babies for. If you have any questions right of the bat or want to know more about anything I've said, please email me (vanillaandlace@gmail) ! I'd love to help you out in any way I can!

I have to admit, I was super hesitant to jump in to the world of essential oils for wellness because it seemed SO TRENDY and I didn't really see what all the fuss was about. But since over the years we've been working on getting rid of chemicals in our home and are always looking for home remedies over the use of medicine, I decided to dig a little deeper and do some real deal research into these things that people had such high claims for.

I learned SO MUCH about the quality of oils and how people have been using them for literally thousands of years (bible times!) to naturally alleviate sickness and health problems. I looked up testimonial after testimonial after testimonial then started kicking myself for not doing this sooner!

I didn't have a bias toward any company and I wanted to make sure to not just go with whatever one was in front of me so I did a bunch more research on the top companies and landed with the one I felt was the best and had the highest standards... which was Young Living. Now I know even more about the company and I'm so glad I chose them.

I connected with a friend who was a distributor and decided to get the premium starter kit from young living, which comes with all the oils in the above photo plus a diffuser and a slew of other goodies. It was definitely the best bang for my buck and the absolute best way to go if you're wanting to dive into the essential oil world (which trust me on this one, you want to!). **Edited to add: If you're wanting to make an account ASAP and order that kit, be sure to sign-up as a Wholesale account to get any future orders at a 24% discount! It's like a costco membership but free! More will be in the next post about the kit and wholesale :)

And now you're thinking "Okay, great story... but what do you use them for and have they actually worked?" 

My answer would be What do I NOT use them for?! I really don't want to sound like a salesperson or something but this purchase has been one of the best things I've ever done for our family.
Where we would previously use Ibuprofen for a headache, we now use peppermint oil (a drop on the temples and back of the neck). We use them to help Beck sleep through the night and for teething and fussiness and when he doesn't feel well. We use them on sore muscles and any skin problems. I use them in our laundry and to clean with. I've even used them in baking and cooking! And so much more. My next post is going to highlight each oil that came in the kit I got so I'll go more in depth with how we use each one soon!

I know I might sound like a crazy hippy or something (I'm not, promise) but it has been so important to me to find more natural ways of treating sicknesses that come up  or cleaning our home without chemicals, especially since Beck was born, and this has been HUGE in that journey to basically get rid of our medicine cabinet and find natural ways that work just as good without the harmful side effects. If I can get rid of a headache or stomach ache with a PLANT OIL instead of popping a pill, sign me up... forever!

I did want to be sure to include in this little intro that not all essential oils are equal. That was one of the biggest things I discovered when doing my initial research on them. Most of the brands you'll find in stores (yes, even Whole foods sadly!) claim "Pure" but that is pretty much the equivalent to Oreos being "natural". Purity means only that the oil does not contain a base oil or some other essential oil. The question of whether or not the essential oil is adulterated with chemicals or solvents is not even considered. Even ones that say Organic can be sketchy because many oils that are produced from organically-grown plant sources are still contaminated with chemicals during processing, or extracted in a way that produces poor quality oils. Not to mention, most of those oils are meant to be aromatherapy, not applied to the skin and definitely not ingested. I was bummed to discover that about most of the "cheap" companies but quality was much more important to me than saving a few dollars here and there, which is the same reason most of us don't buy lotion or foundation at the dollar store (who knows what is in that stuff!). I would highly recommend doing your own research on this if you have those oils, or you can email me and I can tell/bore you with more of my research on the topic... especially if you are using them on kiddos!

This is already so long so I'll stop here! Looking forward to sharing more about each individual oil at the end of the week! If you have ANY questions or things you want me to address in regards to essential oils, or want more info of the tedious research that I already did, please email me. I'd be happy to talk your ear off :)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Around The House

Week one
Young living essential oils//Vanilla and lace
Week one
Week one
Week one
Week one

Is it just me or does it seem like it takes so long to settle back into the normal routine after the holidays? I've been working on planning out our schedules to be a little more organized (january stereotype all the way) and it felt good to be productive again this week, although lets not talk about how many emails I need to reply to.

Last year blogging became really fun for me again (after feeling somewhat uninspired for awhile) so I'm really excited to start of the year with that same excitement! I want to bring back some crafty DIY posts, lots more daily life posts, food posts and even some mama-style posts. I'll also be starting a series about essential oils soon since SO many people have asked about how I use them now and I want to share my journey with them, because they rule.

As for the pics above, two thumbs up for "montessori sensory play"! Beck was so into the little poms and dropping them into the tube that I taped on the bookshelf. He only tried to eat a couple ;)

Friday, January 2, 2015

First birthday party

first birthday
first birthday
It was a little over a month ago but I think I'll lose some mom cred if I don't share at least a couple photos from his first birthday party. It was just a simple shindig with friends, snacks, animals in party hats and of course, his first taste of cake.

It was kinda hard for me to keep it simple because there are just so many cute kid parties out there (entire blogs dedicated to it!) but I couldn't let myself spend that kind of money on a first birthday, so we ended up just using decor we had (or borrowed) and the only thing we bought was food. Now, if I had an extra $1000 to use on a party you better believe I would've done it up but he'll never know the difference right?! :)

It was fun and straight-forward and us! And he had a blast!
first birthday

Also, happy new year! Ironically, it was on January 2nd last year that I first introduced Beck on the blog. So I guess fashionably late is my thing ;)