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Monday, January 20, 2020

The Value Of Saying Thank You and I'm Sorry

It's common courtesy to say thank you, and we all know we should apologize when we're wrong - but are you using these two phrases enough?


I'm going to get real with y'all - this post isn't exactly a friendly PSA. This post comes from a place of frustration. I've recently been reminded just how important saying "thank you" is, and it also reminded me that coming out and saying "I'm sorry" is just as important. We all have people who do kind things for us, be it as small as holding a door open or as large as donating a large sum of money to a cause or donating a large chunk of time to help them with a cause that's near and dear to their heart. Saying sorry is equally as important; you've got to admit when you made a mistake and tell the people affected that you know you made that mistake and are sorry for it. But it seems like in today's day and age, people are really reluctant to say either of these things. In fact, I'm currently upset with someone because she has consistently NOT said either to me. I'm going to write about it in hopes that it encourages you to say one or both to whomever might need to hear it from you.


Keeping the details to a minimum to protect identity, let me share what's driving me so batty about this whole "thank you" business, or rather - the lack thereof. There's a person who is in the position to need not just a whole bunch of *my* stuff, but very specifically, stuff I already own and no longer have a use for. Not heavily used, worn or things in a crummy condition. Things that would still be insanely expensive to buy secondhand. Things that I owned and were in like-new condition. It wasn't just one thing or a one time donation to this person - it was a trickle of things over several months. Multiple installments of a wide variety of things. And not once did I ever get a thank you. Not. Once.

At first I didn't notice it. I think because part of me was just kind of relieved to get some of this stuff out of my home, and I was happy to help out. But then something weird happened; this person straight up demanded that I give her some things I was still using, because their situation was changing faster than anticipated. That's when I noticed the rudeness. The entitlement. And most importantly, the outright lack of a single thank you. We're talking THOUSANDS of dollars of stuff, all given for free. And not one damned thank you!

One day, a mutual friend sent me a text and asked me what was going on with the whole thing, and it was reassuring to know that it wasn't all in my head. The behavior of the one party was out of line and tacky, and other people were noticing as much as I was. That conversation got me thinking beyond the value of a thank you, and onto the larger scale of saying "I'm sorry" too. Both are equally important, and both things should be said every day. Yes, every single day.

That stupid book, "Girl, Stop Apologizing"? Sure, you don't need to apologize for yourself or the space you take up, but you absolutely should apologize for your behavior. When you do wrong, you say "I'm sorry" as you admit to your mistakes and the people you wronged.

My marriage isn't perfect, but one thing we both do really well is apologize to each other. It might be right away, it might be later that same day or even the next morning, but I'd say both my husband and myself are excellent apologizers. And a simple "I'm sorry" goes a long, long way - in a marriage, with a family member, in a friendship and perhaps most importantly of all, to your children.

I know I don't parent perfectly. Sometimes I yell way too loud or way too hard. Sometimes my punishments are too harsh. Sometimes I over-react. And in those moments, or shortly after them, I make sure to apologize to my kids. Whatever I'm doing I will stop, kneel down to my kids' level, look them in the eye and tell them I'm sorry for what I did, that I made a mistake and that I love them. I don't even ask for their forgiveness, but guess what? Me compassionately saying I'm sorry nearly always solicits a "That's ok mommy, I forgive you and I love you too!" back from them. And then we all move on and get back to playing.

You know what else? My kids also know how to say thank you. Server brings them a meal? I help them get their shoes on? They get a gift? Yup, from small to big things in life, my kids know the value of saying thank you. And they're learning the value of a sincere apology.

I'm not sure when, where or why it seems like the social grace of saying thank you and I'm sorry fell off the cliff. I don't understand why it's a hard thing to say. Not only does it humble you, but when you humble yourself first, it makes people like you more, want to help/give you more and think more highly of you. There's a tremendous value in saying thank you and I'm sorry. Make it a point to say both of these things everyday and watch your relationships vastly improve. 

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The 10 Best Essential Oils For Under $10

High quality oils don't have to be expensive! These are the best Revive essential oils for under $10


The biggest myth I believed about essential oils for wayyyyy too long was that they had to be expensive to be great. The multi-level-marketing companies tell you that to justify the prices they charge you, but it's just that - a myth. When I found Revive essential oils, I found that quality (you can read all their GC/MS reports online, unlike Young Living or doTerra) with a price tag that didn't make me choke, balk or my husband roll his eyes. Yes, you can ingest them. Yes, they're legit. Yes, you'll save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a year. If you've never tried oils, you're sick of the high MLM price tags or you're simply skeptical they work, I've crafted a list of the best essential oils for under $10, and provided ways on how to use them in your life everyday.


      

Tea Tree:
Easily, this is one of the oils I use the most. I use it on my face for breakouts, I use it to purify the air if there's a sickness in our home, I use it on cuts to keep infection at bay and I put it on the nozzle of my saline spray that I use up my nose every morning to help keep sinus infections away. Those are just a few of this oil's use - there are many more! I always have at least three bottles on hand, and actually have them stationed around my home for easy access. I use it that much!

Lavender:
This is the other contender for my most used oil. It's called the jack of all trades, because you can literally use lavender on or for just about anything! I use it on my skin to calm puffiness. I put several drops on my pillowcase at night to help me sleep better. I use it in my DIY bug spray that REALLY works, in my DIY acne face wash and in this allergy relief roller. It's amazing topically or in your diffuser. It blends extremely well with other oils for combined use or diffuser blends and it's gentle enough to use on a newborn. 

Lemon:
Another amazing, multi use oil (and definitely one that's in my top 5 most used - I always get the 30ml bottle and go through it within a month or two!) It's another one in my allergy relief roller. It's in my facial toner. It's notoriously exceptional at cleaning - add a few drops to hot water and vinegar and boom, you've got a great surface cleaner. I use it in my fridge freshener too. I diffuse it with Immunity Boost when I want to kill germs and bugs when all the kids have coughs and green snot pouring down their little faces. It's great for energy if you're dragging and when I was pregnant, I'd keep a bottle in my purse and smell it when bouts of nausea would hit. Something about the fresh, clean scent really helped lessen my prenatal nausea! A definite staple in any oil collection, and priced per ml's, one of the best deals too.

Lemon, Lavender and Immunity Boost are some of the oils I get the 30ml bottle of, because I use them so much

Sweet Orange:
This is one of my all time favorite smells! There's no way you can smell this oil and not be happy. It's an immediate mood booster. I love to use sweet orange and patchouli in my diffusers in the morning to set the tone for the day. It's also known to help whiten teeth, so if you add a drop to your toothpaste before brushing, it's a smile brightener. 

Grapefruit:
One of the best ways to use grapefruit is as a water flavor-er. Did I just make up a word? Probably! I like to add one to two drops to my water container. It freshens it up, and grapefruit is known for promoting weight loss/water balance in the body (ie - a de-bloater). Like most all citrus fruits, it's an excellent cleaner, and I used grapefruit in this DIY garbage disposal cleaner (ever have a stinky sink? Yeah, these are just what you need to clear that out!)

Patchouli:
Now hear me out on this one, because I know this is an "acquired taste" oil. Well, not so much the taste, but the smell. When I started with oils, I hated this smell! I just thought, dirty hippy... Now I absolutely love it. It's a grounding oil, and pairs wonderfully with lavender and sweet orange in your diffuser. It's great for your skin, so paired with frankincense and lavender in your skincare routine is a great way to go. It's also a meditative oil, so if you're looking for calming, grounding and finding intention while you meditate, this is a great one for the price, as most other oils in that category go for $25-$80. Definitely the best grounding oil that's budget friendly.

Peppermint:
This one goes on the top 5 list with lavender, tea tree,  and lemon (the 5th oil is Immunity Boost but that one is $14 so I can't put it on this list!) My favorite diffuser blend of ALL TIME is rosemary, peppermint and lemon. I diffuse that before we have people over and I'm regularly told my home smells like a spa. It's in my DIY bug spray. It works wonders applied at the temples and the nape of the neck for headache relief. If you have a stomach ache, add a drop to either hot tea or cold water and feel the relief. It's a wonderful oil for the summer months, as it's very cooling. Put a drop under your tongue for better smelling breath. Yup, this one is another staple in my home with all it's amazing uses.

Cedarwood:
This is the other affordable grounding oil. But the great new is that beyond grounding, it promotes hair growth. Just have a baby and are in that horrible postpartum hair fall out situation? Add some cedarwood to your shampoo. Want longer lashes? Add some cedarwood to your mascara. Hubby starting to go bald? Add some cedarwood to his hair routine. In fact, I have a whole post on hair care, so if you're looking for other hair-growth-promoting ideas, check it out! It's also a promoter of sleep. I have it on my nightstand and add a few drops to my pillowcase, along with lavender. Outside of hair growth and sleep, if sandalwood isn't in your budget, cedarwood is a great replacement that's budget friendly!

Copaiba:
I got this oil in my Young Living starter kit, and didn't touch it for two years because I had no idea what to do with it, and it didn't smell good so I never added it to my diffuser. I learned via some oily mom groups that dilluting it (with coconut or a vegetable oil) and applying it to the gums of infants helps with teething. I later learned that it's like a "magnifier" for other oils, meaning if you use a drop of it with, say, lavender, it makes the effects of lavender stronger. If you want to super-charge your oils, add a drop or two of this with your desired oil.


Eucalyptus:
Stuffy nose? Congestion in your chest? Simply want to bring in some "fresh air" to your home? This is a great oil for all of that! If you've ever walked around Northern California and smelled how refreshing that air is, you know the smell of eucalyptus. This oil works wonders for winter colds and congestion, and is a cooling oil so it's great in your diffuser in the summer. FYI - because I know someone will email me about this - this oil is NOT safe for cats, especially if your cat climbs on counters where diffusers are and drink the water/breathe the air directly coming out of it.  

Great quality essential oils DO NOT HAVE TO BE EXPENSIVE! There is absolutely no need to spend over $100 to get your oil collection started - or even maintained. All of these oils are staples in my collection and all are under $10, which means you could buy all 10 and not spend $100! Plus, Revive has free shipping. Don't like the oils? That's cool too, you can return them. If you've never tried oils or are skeptical about them, I highly suggest starting with a few of these inexpensive oils and simply play around with them - diffuse them or use them as suggested under each oil. Just switching out your scented candles for diffused oils will make a difference in your home.

Monday, January 13, 2020

I Tried A Juice Cleanse. Here's What Happened

Juice cleansing: what it does, who should do it and why it's NOT a diet or weight loss mechanism 


Last week, I did my very first juice cleanse. I read up a lot on "cleansing" before I did it. I think the most common misconception is that people do it for weight loss, or it's a "diet technique." I had absolutely no intentions of using a juice cleanse to lose weight. Rather, I had a very indulgent holiday season and was looking for a way to help my liver rid my body of excess toxins. Kind of like helping my body hit the reset button, if you will. So I tried a juice cleanse. Here's what happened, from what I thought, what I felt, how I altered it a little, and the end results.


Like I said, my goal was to help my liver detox my body. Over the holidays, I didn't hold back and consumed far too much wine, cheese and refined carbs. We attended a good number of holiday parties this year, and I went for it. At each party. See, while I was breastfeeding twins, my body could easily handle the additional calories because I was burning so much from just making milk for two tiny humans. But I fully weaned the twins in November, and since then my metabolism has slowed wayyyyy down... Which is fine, that's what it should do! But I continued to eat like a trucker. January first rolled around and I was just grossed out with myself! I felt sluggish, I was tired, and I knew I needed something to kick start a healthier lifestyle. My liver needed some help processing all the alcohol and refined foods I had consumed.

Dandelion root, milk thistle and turmeric are all herbs that help your liver do it's job, so when I was looking into what cleanse to do, I knew I wanted to find one that also had those ingredients in it. I found this cleanse from Amazon, and really liked how I could adapt it to me and my goals - I didn't have to commit to a long time period (some cleanses are five days long! No thanks) and I liked how there was a schedule to follow: every two hours, you were making a different juice. That way, you were well hydrated and changing up what flavor you were drinking to keep it interesting. It seemed like a great fit for me, so I went ahead and got the two day cleanse because I wasn't sure if I could handle three full days of juice.

Day one started, and I learned from the first juice packet to stir as you add it to the water! My first juice was rather clumpy. But it tasted fine, which was a relief. I had barely finished the 16oz when it was already time to mix up my second juice. This one had greens in it, and while I mixed it correctly to not have any clumps, it definitely wasn't my favorite flavor! After my third juice of the day, I noticed I was getting a nasty headache. This could be because I didn't have my morning coffee, but I looked at the sodium in the juice and realized perhaps I was diluting my electrolytes too much (there's hardly any sodium in the cleanse). I decided to have a cup of chicken stock to add some sodium back in. This was a great decision, because it changed up the flavor dynamic and my headache lessened. I had another cup of stock after my fourth juice, too.

The way this cleanse is set up, you have a juice at 7am, and continue every two hours until your last juice at 7pm. I actually never ended up having my 7pm juice because I didn't want to have to pee all night, so I ended my day with the 5pm juice. Then I hit the sheets early so that I wouldn't be tempted to snack! I was surprised that when I did wake up in the night (I'm a light sleeper and wake often) I wasn't hungry. My stomach wasn't growling and I didn't crave any food. That was a total shock!


I knew I could easily do one day of cleansing, but I figured the struggle would come on day two. Except... there wasn't a struggle. I found it entirely easy to keep on the two hour schedule. Just like on the first day, I added in two cups of chicken stock. It was definitely nice to add that in. Having a "savory flavor break" was much needed.

I decided not to work out while cleansing, because I didn't want to do anything that would make me hungry. What I did end up doing was a Hatha yoga class that was purely an hour of deep stretching. That felt amazing, and I'd highly recommend adding that to your cleansing regimen! I felt like the breathing and deep tissue stretch assisted my body in detoxing. And yup, I brought a juice with me to the class and sipped as I stretched.

So how was only consuming juice and chicken stock for two days? I'm surprised to say, but it was so much easier than I thought it'd be! I wasn't hungry as long as I kept on the two hour schedule the cleanse outlines. I still cooked dinner for my kids, but had my husband sit with them while they ate so that I wouldn't be tempted to eat off their plates. I didn't wake up hungry in the night, and my stomach never got upset. The actual physical aspect of only consuming juice for two days was a breeze! I thought for sure I'd want to eat, or crave a glass of wine (I did the cleanse over the weekend, when I typically have wine) but I didn't miss any of it. The only craving I had was for a morning cup of coffee.

What were the outcome(s) of the cleanse? One of the biggest things I noticed immediately was how my sleep was greatly improved. I suffer from chronic insomnia, and I had two nights of some of the best sleep I've gotten in years while doing this cleanse. I'm also currently suffering from hormonal acne from weaning the twins, and my skin started to clear up. When I woke up the morning after the first day, I was surprised how much clearer it looked, and by the second day, my skin looked great! I lost a pound and a half, which I'm sure was just water weight and is already back (I don't own a scale - I only weigh myself occasionally at my gym). I did notice that once I started eating again, it took very little to get me full. It's like this juice cleanse re-set my portion control, which is exactly what I needed to get me back on track now that I'm not burning so many calories breastfeeding.

Who should do a juice cleanse? I think if you're looking for a system reset like I was, it's a great thing to do! Maybe you just had a vacation and need to help your liver detox your body, or perhaps you want to get into eating healthier and/or smaller portions of food. Maybe you recently learned of a dairy or gluten intolerance and want to help your body rid itself of those substances. A juice cleanse is a great starting point for all of those scenarios.

Get the juice cleanse here (and be sure to check the box to apply the coupon, too!)

Who shouldn't do a juice cleanse? If you're only looking for weight loss, this isn't for you. Since it's a one, two or three day affair, if you want true weight loss, you've got to alter your entire diet and add in exercise. Will you lose weight with a cleanse? Probably, but it's not sustainable. Juice cleansing strictly for weight loss is a bad idea, in my opinion. There are far more effective and long lasting ways to lose weight. 

Would I do it again? ABSOLUTELY. In fact, I woke up on day three and wish I still had another day of cleansing left (weird, huh?) so I've already bought the three day for my next cleanse! I plan on doing this once a quarter, just to have a system reset. I slept so good and my skin looked great, so I think doing a cleanse four times a year is a great addition to living a healthier life, which was a goal of mine for 2020. If you're looking for a system reset, I'd highly recommend doing this cleanse - and yes, you CAN manage the full three days (but you'll also see benefits from the one or two day, too!)