Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Essential Oil 101: The Basics

Are you sick and tired of not knowing exactly what's going in (or on) your body? It's a shame when companies are more interested in making a profit than protecting consumer!!! That's why I love essential oils-- they allow anyone to make high quality products so they know EXACTLY what they are putting on their bodies.

You can make non-toxic beauty, cleaning, and wellness products for every member of your family, including the furry ones! But it's important to know what you're doing when you use them because irresponsible use can cause serious problems.

Here's some bullet points for you.

  1. Don't drink an entire bottle of essential oil in one sitting. That's just dumb.
  2. Don't go around pour all the essential oils all over every part of your body like it's nothing. There are areas they should NEVER go (and it may not be what you think).
  3. Children are not adults. Don't treat them like adults and give them the same dosage
  4. Animals are not humans. Don't treat them like people. Give them different dosages too.
  5. Don't think that you can just pour essential oils straight out of the bottle. Many require dilution!!  Hint: Read the Labels

It is important that we use essential oils safely and responsibly and that begins understanding the difference between high quality essential oils and regular essential oils.

How to use essential oils safely for yourself, pregnancy, children and pets

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Nitty Gritty About Menstrual Cups

Alright, this one is for THE LADIES! If you have a penis, then you probably just want to go ahead and close this window. Today we are going to be talking about "Lady Stuff". And remember that I am a nurse. This means that I have absolutely no shame when it comes to bodily functions.

Have you heard about menstrual cups?! They are kind of life changing. #nontoxic #womenshealth

After I wrote a blog post about Pesticides in Feminine Hygiene Products, I recommended using organic cotton products. I had several readers tell me about how glorious menstrual cups were. For nearly a year, I researched them and made every excuses as to why I shouldn't try them… until I couldn't anymore. After all, how can I say "Hey guys-- give me recommendations for awesome stuff you LOVE" but then never try it? That's lame.

So I did some research and ordered my first menstrual cup. When it came in the mail, I prepped it by boiling it and prayed to God for courage as I waited for my monthly visitor.

Using The Menstrual Cup
When you want to use the cup, the instructions say that you should hold it in your hand and then squeeze it so it forms a C-shape. then you simply slip it into your vagina.

Let's be honest for a second. The instructions are supposed to tell you exactly what to do. I have no idea how far it should "simply slip" anything. The picture in the brochure was of a lady's hand up in her va-jay-jay and the instructions say "You will know the correct position in the vagina by practicing and getting to know your own anatomy". #fail instructions.

How to have a healthy period with menstrual cups #nontoxic #chemicalfree #womenshealthSo after I had prepped myself and gotten the courage to shove this little silicone thing up my lady parts, I had to go back to my computer and search for "Menstrual Cup Placement in Vagina".  Google, of course, has answers. The computer told me that it does NOT go all the way up-- just far enough to be inside the body and as you move it will settle and find the proper location to sit.

So I went back into the bathroom, stood in my tub (you don't know how messy the situation will get) and hiked my leg up on the counter and shoved that bad boy in. I was pleasantly surprised that I couldn't feel it at all! It is super comfy! But the little tail hung out a little bit which was KILLING ME. So I snipped the tip of the tail and then life became fabulous (Just don't snip off too much! The tail is handy for helping to remove it)

As I am completely paranoid, I checked myself every hour, but I'm happy to report that I was 100% leak free.

Trust me when I say that taking the menstrual cup out of your body is an activity that you want to make sure the bathroom door is shut for. I like to do a squat/leg lift/ ninja move. Once I'm in position, I just wiggle the cup and it loses it's suction. I am sure this looks absolutely ridiculous and it is something I never want anyone to witness, but it wasn't bad at all. Besides the appearance of the situation, it was actually pretty easy. I never spilled the cup, I never made a mess (which his kind of a mirale-- I'm klutzy), and it was actually simple and so comfortable.

Once it's out, dump the period goo into your toilet, wash it off and re-insert. Simple.

Best part: Decreased cramps, less smell, and I'm saving money by using a reusable product. So yes, it's totally worth it.

Ordering Menstrual Cups
Most companies have two sizes and have similar recommendations. Size one is for teens and young adults who have never had children. Size 2 is for women over 30 and women who have given birth, and it does hold more fluid in the cup.

I am a 31 year old, smaller framed woman (5'2" 125 lbs) who has never had children. I do my kegel exercises, ladies, so I ordered a size 1 (but that was mainly because I was scared). Luckily, it works just fine for me! Yay! My periods are a light to moderate flow and I NEVER got close to filling the cup even after 12 hours.

I ordered clear (they have color options) and I've never noticed any staining. It comes with  fancy little bag to store it in when it's not being used. Spare no expense, Lunette!

I ordered the Lunette Cup but I've also heard good things about The Diva Cup and the Moon Cup, too. Make sure you read the reviews and make the decision that's best for you! :)

So that's it, ladies! You now know more about my periods than… well… uhhh, nevermind. The entire world knows about my periods now. Woohoo!!

Have you ever used a menstrual cup? Which do you recommend and why?

If you'd like to join my Natural Living Support Group on Facebook please fill out this form!

I have not been paid or compensated for this review.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Summer Time Body Butter and Spray

If you know anything about living in the South Eastern United States, then you know two things: Summers are full of sun and bugs. Just look at the front of my car and you'll see all the love bugs plastered to the front of it!

So today I'm going to show you two recipes for the summer to help keep your skin healthy and happy! These recipes are completely customizable and I'll show you how!

Let's Talk About Ingredients!
Sunscreen
For me, the essential ingredients for SPF are zinc oxide and carrot seed oil. Zinc oxide is a great base for sunscreen and you can vary the amount of coverage by weight.

For instance 1 oz of lotion + 0.1 oz of zinc oxide will equal an SPF of 10. If you use 1 oz lotion + 0.2 oz of zinc oxide you will have an SPF of 20. However, if you go much higher than 25-30 SPF you may notice that you may have streaking of the powder. That's why carrot seed oil is so fantastic-- it'll give you a natural boost in SPF!

Carrot seed oil has one of the highest SPFs of all natural sunscreens, plus it's an antioxidant so it helps to inhibit free radicals and keeps you look amazing! Depending on the carrot seed oil, the natural SPF value is between 30-40.

Natural oils like coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax are all natural sunscreens, but they are quite low-- usually under 10 SPF. But when you use multiple types of natural SPFs they layer on each other and work together to give you natural protection.

Normally, it is recommended to re-apply every 2 hours and this is not waterproof.

Scents:
I love to use therapeutic essential oils for scents! My favorite is purification which smells like an awesome perfume and helps remove odors too! I even use it on my dog to deter bugs!

Other awesome summer time choices are Peppermint, Lavender (watch out though-- it may attract bees!), Lemongrass, and Cedarwood.

And just because I like you-- I'm giving you TWO options on how to make it! A body butter OR a spray! Options, options, options!!


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Homemade Stress Roll-on using Essential Oils

So you're stressed out, eh? Yeah. Me too. Especially lately. {sigh} My firefighter boyfriend fell from a two story window in full gear and broke three bones last week. Thankfully, he will heal and be fine, but he does need surgery tomorrow. I won't lie. I'm freaking out a little bit (or a lot).

I just made a fresh batch of my Daily Normal Stress Perfume to take with me to the hospital tomorrow and I thought this would be a great time to share my recipe! This works for me to help support my emotional health and Lord knows I need it!

Years ago when I started looking for ways to manage my feelings of stress naturally, my friend suggested lavender and I knew I had to try it! It was AMAZING, but I noticed that I was loving other oils too and that blending the oils were really helping to support my mood and emotions.

Daily Stress roll on for work or play #DIYrecipes #essentialoils

I ended up making my own roll-on perfume which has a blend of essential oils that help support me and bring a sense of serenity to my day.
"I Have Moments" Roll-on for daily, normal stress
Essential oil #DIY for #stress from work or other every day activities
This formula is adapted from Homemade Mommy's stress roll-on to be a little different for my needs, but be sure to check her's out, too! It's pretty wonderful.
  • 30 drops Lavender
  • 20 drops of Valor
  • 10 drops of Orange
  • 10 drops of Release
  • 8 drops of Idaho Blue Spruce
  • 5 drops of Copaiba 
  • 5 drops of Frankincense
  • 3 drops of Vitamin E 
  • 7 ml of a carrier oil such as jojoba or sweet almond oil (just over 1 tsp)
I put all the drops into a roll on bottle, add the carrier oil and give it a gentle roll between my palms to mix it. Then it's ready to go!

It really is a very simple recipe to make and it smells amazing too! What more can you want than to have a perfume that makes you feel better?

Storing and Using the Calming Blend
It's always best to store essential oils in a tinted bottle to protect it from light. Always try to keep essential oils out of direct sunlight and away from heat. I always recommend glass when using essential oils because they can degrade plastic over time (especially citrus).

For this recipe, my favorite application is with a roll-on style perfume bottle because with this blend the carrier oil is not diluted and it could clog a traditional perfume bottle's spray nozzle.

If you interested in spray perfumes, please see my DIY perfume recipe.

I apply this to my wrists, behind my ears, and on my chest. It's perfect for carrying in your purse.

I also have a diffuser necklace that I wear daily which helps support my mood. It's simples-- it's a locket which opens and there is a terra cotta center. You simple add 2-3 drops of whatever essential oil you want onto the terra cotta, close it and you're ready to go. You have your own personal diffuser hanging from your neck! It works great for using essential oils for mood.

Get a diffuser necklace here: Etsy Store

This diffuser necklace is amazing! I wear it every day #essentialoils #diffuser #necklace Find one here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/GypsiesOil?ref=pr_faveshops

Sometimes I know that I look like a crazy person because I'm just sniffing the container or huffing my diffuser necklace (in public), but that's okay! You should have seen me in the ER waiting room after I got the phone call about my boyfriend's accident!! OMG! It was bad!! The necklaces was practically inside of my nose! But it really did help soooo much. This blend is my go-to for all emotional moments! It's somehow calming, yet energizing at the same time.

What Kind of Essential Oils Do I Use?
You can get more information about which essential oils I use and why by reading this article.

So that's my essential oil calming blend! I hope you like it and if you try it I would LOVE to know how it works for you. Do you have any natural tricks that you use? If so, please leave a comment! I'm always looking for new ideas!

And remember… Are You Choosing To Be Happy?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Nature Box Fights Hunger: A Subscription Box Review

Hello, my name is Sherri and I am an Subscription Food Box Addict. It's been three days since I received my last subscription box…

Nature Box Fights Hunger
Ah, Nature Box--  my BFF of subscription boxes! Once a month Nature Box will send you full size healthy snack items of your choosing. You can pick options from vegan, soy free, gluten free, non-GMO, nut free, dairy free or any combination of choices-- almost every diet is represented which is AWESOME!

You all know I won't lie to you and it's a big deal when I say that this is my favorite of all the subscription boxes because I have A LOT of subscription boxes. Nature box gives you amazing tasting, full sized treats for every diet which is really hard to find!
What really sets them apart from other subscription boxes is that you get to pick exactly what is being shipped to you! Most other boxes will package random selections.

This month my selections all are from the non-GMO and gluten free category. I picked Dried Figs, Antioxidant Boost (it has chocolate), Sour Cream and Onion Almonds, Chili Lime Pistachios, and Dried Apples. They sent me a FREE sixth bag of granola because they are kickass like that and do random customer appreciation gifts every now and then. Love it!

I admit that when I originally signed up, that I was just going to try it once because I had a coupon. But after that first box.. well, yeah, now I'm seriously addicted to a few of these flavors! My top three choices are the figs, the antioxidant boost and the chili lime pistachios, but the dried fruits are amazing, too, especially the pineapple!! Mmmm... I've been getting Nature Box since December and those picks are ALWAYS on my list! So delicious!! 

Nature Box is fantastic because they offer full size products. If you really love something, you can buy more on their website. They make awesome snacks especially when you're on the go or if you're feeling so lazy that you really just want to grab something out of the pantry and put it in your mouth. 

Help Stop Hunger For You and For Me 
and the Entire Human Race..

When you get a Nature Box you will help to stop your own hunger,  but they also help feed someone else in need! Nature Box actively participates with WhyHunger to make sure needy Americans get nutritious foods.

If you sign up, you will be helping to decrease hunger through Nature Box's donations to community-based organizations, emergency food providers and summer meal programs for low-income children.

And to that I say-- give me more pistachios! 

If you sign up here: NatureBox, the first 25 people who use the code Special25 will get $5 off your first box! However, I'd keep trying it because I think it might be a promo that's used often {wink wink}

If you'd like to join my Natural Living Support Group on Facebook please fill out this form!

Happy Snacking! 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Homemade Lavender Salt Scrubs

It's almost Mother's Day and I needed an easy gift for my Momma! I decided to set aside a little collection of DIY beauty gifts for her because she loves that stuff and I'm broke. {wink}

Making salt scrubs is so simple and people go crazy over them so they are fantastic gifts. With the encouragements of a couple of my blogging friends, I made my very FIRST video ever to show you how simple it is!! OMG! I was so nervous-- can you tell?!

So now you can watch me make a fool of myself!! It's all for my readers!!! If you keep watching there are two videos after mine. You can meet my friends Kristi from Veggie Converter who uses a stand mixer for her salt scrubs and Kirsten from Cheerfully Imperfect who explains how she uses some of her favorite essential oils.


Yes, I know. I sound like a five year old.

What do you think? Have any tips for me to improve with my video skills?! 

Salt scrubs are such an easy DIY gift for holidays
What You Need
If you have coconut oil in a solid form, melt it over a double boiler.

When it's melted-- then add it to the salt. Stir it up and then add your essential oils. I really like lavender for this, but lemongrass, peppermint, or stress away would work really well! 

And that's it! Easy breezy DIY beauty idea for a gift!

You can also join my facebook group by filling out this form

Here are some other things to put in your Mother's Day goodie bag
 
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