An Uncomplicated Life Blog: December 2016

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Holiday Break

Hey guys! I'm breaking from blogland for the rest of the year to enjoy some time with my family. I'll be back on Monday, Jan 2 and have tons of fun posts planned for the new year! Just in time for your fun lunch break reading as you head back to work. Or your coffee break. Or when you should be finishing that report, but it's so boring, you come here instead for a little mental stimulation. No judgement!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy New Year to all! See you in 2017.

Image source

Monday, December 19, 2016

2016 Year End Review

Why conducting a year end blog review is critical to improving your blog


Last year I wrote this post on why conducting a year end blog review is critical to having a successful blog - in whatever sense of the word success means to you. Some people want to make blogging their career and some just want to speak their truth and make friends in the blogging community. Any way you slice it, reviewing your work, celebrating your successes, admitting your weaknesses and creating a plan for the next year will greatly improve your blog!

2016 year end review of a monetized blog


I like to start on a positive so I'm starting off listing my major wins for the year. Then I'll admit some areas that I didn't do as well on, follow it with some strengths and end of my action plan to address my losses and weakness for next year. Here's how 2016 went for me and my blog:

Wins

  • First pin went viral with over 30k repins that brought me 40,000+ page views just to that post! Which post you ask? Fall maternity style. I was shocked - that pin was a picture taken with an iPhone. Don't ever let people tell you you have to have fancy equipment, pay for website hosting blah blah blah to be a successful blogger. I started earning thousands a month with an iPhone 6 plus and a free Blogger hosted blog!
  • Several more pins went viral with thousands of repins and tens of thousands of page views: DIY Acne Clearing Face Wash, Bringing Home a Second Baby, DIY Sunscreen, DIY Acne Clearing Toner. It makes me so excited that my DIY's with essential oils took off and that there's such a large interest for people to ditch conventional, chemical laden products.
  • I reached over 10,000 people ORGANICALLY on Facebook with my Why Breastfeeding Moms Are Annoying post. Yes, I got many nasty comments and emails but you know what? When the haters start popping up out of the woodwork, you know you're becoming successful!
  • I transitioned all my blog's photography and all my Instagram photos to DSLR camera images. Oh yeah, and I learned how to shoot in manual mode on the DSLR.
  • Speaking of Instagram, I grew from about 5,000 followers to over 17k, with most of the growth happening after August! I finally found my aesthetic. But man, I could easily spend 40 hours a week just on Instagram - it's so much work.


Losses

  • I've given up working with a few PR companies. Their demands for what they paid just wasn't worth it. And giving those up meant my income plateaued instead of continuing to rise month over month.
  • I got several bids to do a site design re-vamp but never pulled the plug. At first I was going to switch to Wordpress, then decided against it for this year. Then I wanted to re-do this Blogger site but thought, heck if I'm switching to Wordpress in the future, I should just stick with what I have and redesign it when I make the move. I wish I would have done it! This site is pretty, but the features and design are dated. Ahh well, something to add to my 2017 goals.
  • I started the year accepting sponsored posts from brands at their initial payment offer. Never accept the low ball number they first offer you! Hell, I knew better than this, I've negotiated all my salaries up when I worked a traditional job. I don't know what I was thinking. I'm blaming a newborn. By late summer, I got smarter and negotiated my payday up successfully (using data and examples to prove my worth to the brand). But I missed out on thousands because I botched the first half of the year. Whoomp.  


Strengths

  • Consistency! I post every Monday and Thursday without fail. If I know I'm going to be busy or traveling, I work ahead. I believe my consistency is what's led to a large part of my monetary success with this blog. Brands know they can depend on me to deliver and readers know when to show up for new content, always. 
  • Instagram marketing. I've created so many great brand partnerships via my Instagram account! I'm really happy I chose to focus on that this year; it's paid off wonderfully. 
  • Authenticity. The biggest feedback I get when I work with brands is that I speak with an authentic voice. I don't shoot rainbows out of my butt with everything I talk about, and that's admired by readers and brands alike.


Areas for improvement

  • Update the site's features and design. I plan to get this project off the ground ASAP in 2017, and have already started working with my designer on it. I'm excited for a fresh look for the new year!
  • Enlarge my images. Now that I have high quality DSLR photos, I need to figure out the sizing issue on my blog. Long story short, I cannot for the life of me size them correctly to fit the full dimensions of my blog. I know, it should be so simple, but for whatever reason, it's not. I'll save you the boring struggle story of Paige and the Pixels. 
  • Do more video. If you're in marketing, you've heard that some 70% of what's viewed on social media is projected to be video in the next year or so. I need to figure out some sort of way to get in on that. It's easy if you're a food or beauty blogger but what about mom/lifestyle?! Ugh, brainstorming sesh needed. I hate video! Real fact: I didn't even get a wedding video because I hate watching myself. I find it so awkward to watch myself speak! I NEED to get over this.
  • Find new PR companies to work with and start pitching brands. I didn't pitch a single brand in 2016. Not one. My income was solely from brands reaching out to me. That was a huge missed opportunity! I'm hoping I have more capacity to form business relationships in 2017 as my kids have gotten older and I'll have both the boys in preschool several days a week for a few hours.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Holiday Gift Discount Codes With Babbleboxx

Babbleboxx gives you some great discount and coupon codes to use on these great holiday gifts!


This post is sponsored by Babbleboxx.com on behalf of Single Edition Media.


When Babbleboxx reached out to partner on this post, I wasn't sure about it. We all know how I feel about "gift guide" posts if you read this blog regularly. But then I looked into the company's featured in the holiday box they wanted to send me to have me talk about here, AND they gave me some awesome coupon and discount codes to pass along to you, so I quickly got on board. Read on for some really cool products to gift (or to gift yo self!) and some savings to be had! Score.



Vermont Brownie Company
Know someone who likes sweets? Who doesn't, right? But let's get real for a sec. Have you ever gotten a gift basket that looks really pretty but the items in it taste like they're at least five years old - you know, the ones that have been in storage so long, they've taken on the taste of the cardboard they're in? Hopefully it is just me that's experienced that, because it's a bummer. Long story short long, this brand offers gourmet brownie gifts that are legit! They have farm partners that produce fresh ingredients for the brownies, so they're chalk full of quality, tasty stuff. This gift box offers several flavors: Walnut Chunk, Peanut Butter, Triple Chocolate Chunk Blondie, Espresso Dulce de Leche, Maple Toffee Crunch, and their Signature Brownie. Is your mouth watering yet?! Get 15% off this box of deliciousness here.




I joke about how I'm a crappy vegetarian on my Instagram all the time. Why? Because STEAK. I *could* go "strict" vegetarian if I were allowed two or three filet mignons a year and five or six cheeseburgers. So, you know, I'm not really good at being a vegetarian at all, but whatevs. Omaha Steaks has tons of amazing holiday gift basket options, but this one is my favorite because of the filets. It features  2 (5 oz.) Filet Mignons 2 (5 oz.) Top Sirloins 2 (4 oz.) Boneless Pork Chops 4 (3 oz.) Potatoes au Gratin 4 (4 oz.) Caramel Apple Tartlets 1 - Signature Seasoning Packet. This Tasteful Gift package costs $69.99 and ships free! That's an amazing value, because a steak alone would cost that if you eat out. Get free shipping on your steaks here.



YogaJewelz
Guys. Guys! GUYS. When I started blogging two and a half years ago, it never crossed my wildest blogging dreams that I'd be sent a diamond necklace. What makes it even better is that it's an OM sterling silver pendent on a 16" chain, with a brilliant cut round diamond. That's a lot of fancy talk, but my little yoga heart exploded at this! See, for us yogis, OM embodies spirituality, energy and strength. It's said that if you wear the OM, it will bring you luck, love, peace and harmony. Know a yogi in your life? She'll be thrilled with this gift. Trust me. From one yoga-loving-gal to another. Get yours here!



Spire
Real talk: This is hands-down one of the coolest gadgets I've ever seen. What is it? It's a mindfulness "trainer". It tracks in real time and gives in the moment alerts to be more present and things like breathing exercises. Raise your hand if the holidays stress you out. Yeah? Maybe you're hosting all your family and in-laws and have to make a meal that's perfectly timed for over 20 people. Or maybe you're hosting a Christmas party and you're going to have to endure hours of drunken babble from your spouse's colleagues. That stresses me out just writing that... Anyway, this device reminds you to take a few seconds for YOU, to breathe, to live in the moment and to slow down. All things my yoga practice tells me to do daily, but this is something that will actually remind you to do it in real time, for the times that you're real busy. How cool is that?! It's like your own personal stress management system. And it syncs with the Apple Health App and works with your Apple Watch for all us iPhone junkies. Sweet. Get your $10 off discount here! (Applied at checkout)



LumaBella
Funny story - pre puberty Paige had stick straight hair. Then puberty hit and it got curly. Then I had babies and it's back to it's stick straight self. Like make up your mind already, hair! In fact, it's so straight, I can let it air-dry and it won't have one kink or wave in it. I do, however, live in the South, and while I was told Dallas is "dry heat" that turned out to be a bag of lies. It's humid and hotter than h-e-double hockey sticks here. That translates to frizz, even for us straight haired gals. I've also been dumping a boatload of bleach in my hair since moving to Dallas... Because, you know, Dallas. This cool mist straightener is salon quality. It adds the hydration my beached ends desperately need, softens the crispy ends and reduces frizz caused by Southern-level heat. If you have curly hair or live in my kind of climate, you need a cool mist straigtener! If you don't, you should get it to make beautiful flat iron curls. Basically, everyone can win with this! Get 20% off thru 12/30/2016 here.


Lots of awesome holiday gift ideas with discount and coupon codes, right?! Probably some ideas you hadn't considered before, too. And what I love most about this roundup is that there's something for everyone, from your sweets lover to meat eater to mindful yogi to beauty guru.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday

Lumberjack is a great theme for winter babies


We hosted Otto's first birthday on December 3. His real birthday isn't until the 18th, but since that's cutting it a little close to Christmas and holiday travel, we decided to throw the party in early December. Most of our friends have two kids now - toddlers around Henry's age and babies of various ages, so we knew a brunch would make the most sense with nap times. And, errrrr, kids just seem to be in a better mood in the mornings. I had decided back in July that I wanted a lumberjack theme for the party.

Lists all the details and has links to purchase items for a Lumberjack themed birthday party

I picked out this theme because I thought the plaid and greenery of "lumberjacks" would fit well with a December birthday, but little did I know that shabby-chic, rustic Christmas decor would be "in" in a major way! I found SO many cute decorations there were absolutely perfect for the party. And it was all relatively cheap to boot.

Plaid paper plates, cups and napkins were easy to find. But I found these pails (similar here)in the dollar aisle of Target and thought they'd be perfect for holding snacks. I put popcorn, kettle corn and Annie's Cheddar Bunnies out for causal snacking.


I found the mini trees (similar here)in the dollar aisle (anyone else notice the the "dollar" aisle is now the $3-$5 aisle?! Nothing in there is a dollar!) at Target and loved the burlap bottoms. Then I really struck gold with the adorable plush lumberjack ornaments! There were lumberjacks, tents, canteens, canoes, and fires. I decorated our formal dining table (comfortably serves 8 so it's quite large) with these ornaments, creating a "winter wonderland" scene. I found reindeer confetti that Henry learned the hard way was made out of wood and not chocolate. Which is hee-lair, because he doesn't even like chocolate so I'm not sure why he wanted to eat it!

 The showstopper for the winter wonderland table was the cake! I searched Pinterest for something outdoorsey, woodsey, or lumberjack-y. I found a pic I really thought would fit the theme and sent it to my cake gal. Unfortunately, she's renovating her house and not taking any orders! She did recommend her friend to me though. I sent them the picture and worked out a quote and a delivery date. Guys, if you're in Dallas and need a specialty cake, I HIGHLY recommend Jaels Cakes! It turned out just like the picture I sent and it was good too - not too sweet. They delivered it to my home and even set it up for me. Top notch service and so much talent! *not being paid to say this, just spreading the word of an amazing local, small business*



We had a full brunch served with pumpkin praline french toast, ham egg and cheese breakfast sliders and cheesy hash browns but I forgot to take pics. Standard. Not that food is all that interesting anyway, right? What IS interesting is seeing if Otto would get into his cake! But first, we sang to him. I love that he stared at me the whole time and smiled. Melted my mommy heart!


Then the cake! First off, I don't believe in "smash cakes." Why would you give a baby an entire cake?! Do you know how expensive specialty cakes are? WTF are smash cakes about, anyway? I could go on about how that's not only financially excessive, but also teaches food excess and poor eating habits from a young age... But we have cute pics of Otto eating his first cake to get to! So, I gave him his first bite.


He wasn't sure about it at first. Then the sugar kicked in and he was like, ahhhhh yeeeeeeeah! And he shoveled it in by the fistfuls.


Even Henry got into the cake. Not the icing, just the cake. There was a little girl at the party who only wanted the icing, and her mom and I basically arranged their marriage. Mostly because I want her to be my co-MIL. Also, what a perfect fit! Ying and yang, if you will.


The party raged on until nap time. Our playroom got demolished, a few more stains were added to the carpet (thanks rain and mud!) and hopefully a good time was had by all who came! BTW, if you came and are wondering why there aren't pics posted of you, I try to keep the blog to only posting pictures of my own kids and family. Some people are cool with it, some aren't, so I just limit the shots to us to protect those who don't want to be pictured, especially since there were so many kids. Happy (almost) Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday, Otto!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Fulfilling A Childhood Dream

Have you met all your goals and dreams you had as a child, or has your life turned out completely different than planned?


As 2016 draws to a close, I find it fun to do a little reflecting. Not just on business and personal goals for the year, although those are important, but this year I'm thinking a little bit deeper: Have I fulfilled some, any or all of my childhood dreams? I use the word dream instead of goal because as a child, you don't know what a realistic goal is, you just wildly dream and follow your interests. It's fun to look back and remember what I wanted to do and where I thought I'd be when I was a girl and compare that to where I am now. Let's see if I fulfilled any childhood dreams, and I'm interested to learn if you have, either!

The photos in this post are photos of photos, because digital wasn't a thing back in the 80's and 90's.

Baby Paige and toddler sister!

Professionally, I wanted to be a singer or a model when I was in grade school. Did I fulfill that childhood dream? Well, the thing is, I can't sing. AT. ALL. So that absolutely didn't happen. Like, I don't even sing along to the radio in the car because I'm so bad, I'll ruin it for myself! I didn't really think about that in grade school, I just really wanted to be Mariah Carey, pre-boob job and diva status.

Modeling, on the other hand, did happen. From my late teens to early 20's I did a number of runway shows. I had a contract for fashion week in 2009. Modeling was, hands down, the crappiest job ever! Your body is just used to show clothes and you're poked and prodded at. People make comments on your figure, your hair color, your nose, everything. You need some thick skin to be a model! And most of it is a lot of waiting around. Call times would be 7 or 8am but I wouldn't actually get styled until 4pm and the show wasn't until 8pm. Sure the pay was decent but man, those are some LONG boring days. If I ever have a daughter, there's no way I'd get her into that industry. No. Way.

Circa 1994 with tortoise glasses and oversizeed flannel, playing dolls with my sis under the tree

My family life childhood dream was to be married by 28 and have four kids. Did I fulfill that dream? Close! I got married at 29, so I didn't miss the mark too much. After my first pregnancy and baby, I realized that four kids is an insane amount of children, so that's never gonna happen for me. In fact, that's a childhood dream I absolutely don't want to fulfill! No thank you.

As I child, I dreamed about going to college and perhaps getting a graduate degree too. Did I fulfill that childhood dream? Check and check! Honestly, I was more into socializing and athletics in high school, but I still managed to get good grades in enough AP classes to get me into a nationally ranked university. College was where I figured out I really like learning! I did my undergrad in 3.5 years and took graduate level classes to boot. I graduated with a 3.9GPA. After working for a few years in a soul-sucking corporate job I managed to get a free ride to grad school. So not only did I fulfill this childhood dream, I CRUSHED it.

1996 at my b-day party. Believe it or not, I was one of the popular girls in 6th grade. That gem of a sweater was from Express. Do people still shop at Express?!

I absolutely never wanted to own my own business as a child. Did I fulfill that dream? Hahaha, here I am with my own brand and business! See, my stepmom owned her own business and my sister and I would work with her on and off throughout our teen and college years. I saw how hard she worked. I thought, why would anyone want to work that hard? I thought, no thanks, I'll take a 9-5 job with a guaranteed paycheck. I did that for 10 years and there's something to be said for regular pay and regular hours. 

What I didn't understand as a child was that when you really like what you do, it doesn't feel like work. I remember commuting into my office job in my late 20's, dreading the day. With grant writing you either have very little to do or far too much to do. It drove me CRAZY when I only had two hours of work to do but had to sit in my office for the full "8 hour workday"! And then when I was in the busy season, I'd work long days, bring work home but still get the same paycheck. With owning my own business, I always get to control how busy I am. If I have capacity, I seek more paid work. If I don't have any paid posts in the works, I focus in on a skill to improve it so that I land more paid work, or I spend more time marketing my posts. If my to-do list is done, I get to spend the day however I want, not stuck in an office! The flexibility, especially with a young family, has been amazing. So I did the exact opposite of my childhood dream, and I'm much happier for it!

20 year old Paige and 21 yr old sis finally outgrew their ugly phases and tore up the streets in Prague

It's fun to think back on my dreams as a child and see what's worked out and what was left as just that: Dreams. For the most part, I've stuck to what I hoped for as a girl! A few things were never meant to be, like me being a singer. Some things were meant to be that I thought I didn't want, like owning my own business. It's so fun to compare your life to what you'd thought it would be like when you were a child, dreaming without limits.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Why I Won't Read Your Holiday Gift Guide Post

Bloggers love to put together gift guides, full of affiliate links for the items featured. Here's why I won't read them


Oh man, I can feel your evil stares through the screen as I write this! I mean no offense to bloggers who make these posts. I really don't. I use affiliate links too. I wrote this post about the current state of blogging and admitted my own faults with it. But that doesn't change my mind on gift guides. I absolutely, positively hate them. I stopped reading all gift guide posts, even in my small group of blogger friends where we read and comment on each other's posts no matter what. Why? I won't read your holiday gift guide post because they bum me out.

Gift guides have become the norm in blogging. Here's why that's annoying!


Look, there's absolutely no shame in trying to make a buck blogging. None. I buy through other's affiliate links as much as possible! But gift guides are absolutely atrocious.

The blogger talks about the item like they own it. Odds are, they don't. They'll describe a cashmere sweater by saying "I'm absolutely crushing on this super soft sweater! Perfect for your wives/girlfriends for date night, fellas!" But they're a 20-something single blogger. How in the heck do they know what's perfect for your wife or girlfriend? Yeah, they don't. Odds are, they've never even felt the sweater to know how "super soft" it is. Here's what that blogger did: She found it through her affiliate network, it was at the price point she was targeting for her post, it was available in lots of sizes and/or colors for mass appeal, and it was generic enough for her to describe it to you in relatively appealing terms. 

Not all bloggers pull that move, but most do. They might have one or two items in the gift guide, but the rest is simply there to tell you what you should buy that they don't own themselves and that you don't need. 

Besides the fact that most bloggers don't have the actual items they're telling you about and trying to get you to buy, another reason I won't read these dumb posts anymore is because I can't understand why someone would read that instead of simply asking the person they're buying for what they want. Seriously. Wanna know what to get your husband this year? ASK HIM. 

I was just texting with my brother in law last night about what he might want for Christmas, since he and my sister are kind enough to be flying to us for the holiday. Freaking ASK your loved one what they want for Christmas, or Mother's/Father's Day, or their birthday, or whatever reason or occasion you may be buying them a gift. Guess what asking them does?! It reduces wasted money because you're getting them what they really want instead of what you THINK they want. Or worse yet, what some blogger thinks your loved one might want.

That's all true about gift guides. But my largest issue with them, and the main reason I won't read my blogging friend's posts, is that they promote this sense of excessive materialism that I just cannot stand. There's gift guides for one year old's and there's gift guides for sister-in-law's and there's gift guides for new boyfriends and there's hostess-gift gift guides. Good grief! Here's what: Not everyone needs a gift! My mom absolutely never needs to buy me anything ever again in her lifetime. Her best gift to me is coming to visit me in Dallas and loving on her grand kids. (And taking over my kitchen and cooking for me, heehee!) She can keep her money for retirement. I don't want physical things from her, I want her time. I bet if people asked their loved ones what they wanted instead of blindly buying crap off the internet, they'd get similar responses.

That same thing goes for my husband. He doesn't have to buy me anything, just plan a few fewer business trips a year and be home more. (We do still gift each other things, but guess what? We ask the other person what they want!) I don't need stuff from my kids, either. Just let me sleep in. Just sleep through the night and sleep until 6:30am kids! You won't be finding that recommendation in any bogus gift guide, but I promise you just about every mom truly wants sleeping kids. They'd take it over any bathrobe or shiny new gold watch.

"But Paige! I don't want to ask my wife because I want to surprise her with something! I'm going to the internet to get ideas." Look, that's great. But if you want to "surprise" your loved one but don't have any ideas going into that surprise, it likely wont end as you'd hoped. Say you get her a fuzzy pair of slippers because a blogger listed them as amazing (even though she's likely never put them on, she just wanted to sell them to you). But your wife already has a pair that she loves. She thanks you for the gift, but they go on a shelf in her closet because she prefers the pair she already has, no matter how worn out they might be. Gift guides can result in more unused crap lying around the house that the person didn't really want to begin with. More excess. More stuff.

I know gift guide posts are time consuming for the blogger. I hope it drives up their affiliate sales enough to make them worth it! But I won't be reading those posts. The materialism and the desperate way bloggers try to describe products they don't own just to sell you on it makes me sad. And that's why I won't read your holiday gift guide post.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

10 Ways To Use Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender is one of the most versatile essential oils! Here's 10 great ways to use it in your everyday life

Lavender essential oil is kinda like the "all purpose cleaner" of essential oils. It has a million uses and I haven't found much it's not good for yet! Most of my friends who are just starting to get into essential oils say that lavender is the first one they buy because it's not overly expensive, the smell is familiar and it's a "comfortable" oil to start with. Given it's popularity, I've rounded up some of the best, less common uses for it! Oh yeah, and I did a little research and found scientific studies that back up my claims on these genius uses for lavender. Just for all you science nerds and skeptics! I've underlined the scientific studies in case you want to jump right to those. You're welcome.

Great lesser known ways to use lavender essential oil on you and around your home


1) Apply it neat or diluted to help fade scars. "Neat" means the essential oil goes directly on the skin; diluted means you mix it with a carrier oil like coconut or grape seed oil. Lavender has amazing calming properties (see number two!) not just for your mood but for your skin too (see number 3!) It's great for reducing redness, puffiness or swelling associated with scar tissue. In fact, French scientist Rene Gattefosse was the first to discover lavender's ability to promote tissue regeneration and speed wound healing after he burned his own arm in 1910!

2) Make your own face wash. I have this DIY acne clearing face wash post that has worked wonders for me. In fact, I used some conventional face wash in the shower because I forgot to apply my blend before getting in, and not only was my face dry all day, but it broke out to boot. Hmmphhff! The lavender in the wash helps heal any former acne scars you have, too, as noted in number 1.

3) Make your own bath salts. I wrote this post on why soaking in bath salts is important, and gave you a super easy DIY to include lavender in your bath salt soak. If you haven't read that one, it's full of some great information and worth your time! There's some actual science based on the nutrition (or lack thereof) we eat and how that affects your health. Most importantly, the post gives you ideas on what you can do about it.

4) Use topically for menstrual cramps. I haven't personally tried this one (because I don't get cramps - please don't hate me!) but in doing my research for this post, all my sources said that topically applying lavender essential oil helps to relieve cramps! It makes sense to me, given the calming properties of the oil. If you have doubts, read number 5 below:

5) Use topically instead of popping pills for headaches. Have a nasty stress headache? Place a drop on each temple and behind the ears and watch it reduce your tension headaches just as well as any over the counter pain reliever. Don't believe me? A placebo controlled, double blind crossover study  out of Christian-Albrecht University in Kiel, Germany found that essential oils were just as effective  in blocking pain from tension-type headaches as acetaminophen (aka Tylenol). Personally, I like the blend of lavender and peppermint when I'm having a headache. Works like a charm.



6) Apply it as a burn salve. Who burned her finger basting the turkey this Thanksgiving? This girl. I knew it was great for scars, and figured the calming properties of the plant would be helpful for a minor burn. I was right! I applied it neat to my burn site and two days later have no more irritation or red mark from the burn. Beauty bloggers/lovers, ever burned your finger or neck with a hot iron? Keep a bottle of lavender near your wands and curling irons!

7) Inhale or diffuse for a mental boost. Get this: University of Miami  researchers found that inhalation of lavender increased the beta waves in the brain. What does that imply? That lavender can heighten relaxation and improve cognitive performance. In addition, an Osaka Kyoiku University study from 2001 found that lavender reduced mental stress and increased mental alertness

8) Use it as a temper tantrum calmer. Whenever Henry is acting out, I pull out my lavender. As soon as I wave the bottle directly under his nose, he calms down. I'm not kidding! He sees me pull down the oils (that I store on the top of the fridge) and he now knows to inhale deeply as I pass it under his nose. Works like a charm, every single time. And number seven proves why.

9) Blend it with other essential oils for a nontoxic bug repellent spray. I've been to the North Woods of rural Wisconsin, lived in Minneapolis, lived in coastal Georgia and I can tell you this: No where and nobody has a nastier mosquito than Texas. They're not as large as in MN/WI but you can't hear them and you can't feel them bite you. All of a sudden, you're just COVERED in bites! Plus, they carry diseases like Zika and West Nile down here. Bottom line: I don't mess around with bug sprays! I need it to work. I need it to work so that my family stays healthy. This blend of essential oils, witch hazel and water worked great - just as good as a DEET-filled store bought brand. We keep bottles all over the house from March through November!

10) Sprinkle it on your pillow to battle insomnia. I apply 2-3 drops directly to my pillow case so that I inhale it all night long.

Lesser known ways to use lavender essential oil that are backed by scientific research and studies

Want further advice about essential oils and other products to support them? Check out my Products I Love page!

Can we all agree that lavender essential oil has some pretty amazing uses and benefits? And that it isn't just a bunch of new-agey hoo-ha? I hope you learned some new things and plan on incorporating this wonderful oil into your daily life.