An Uncomplicated Life Blog: May 2020

Monday, May 25, 2020

Happy Memorial Day

I'm breaking for the Memorial Day holiday. Get offline and go enjoy yourselves! Hoping your state is at least a little bit open so that you can get to a park for a picnic or enjoy a patio somewhere. Thanks to all who have served our country and lost their lives in the process. We are who we are because of their sacrifice!

Monday, May 18, 2020

Currently, May Edition

Here's what's happening around here, currently

Texas is coming out of quarantine life, and I've never been happier to be a Texan! I know there's lot of opinions about "reopening" and how various states are doing it and evaluations about their timeline. I actually feel really good about Texas' because our governor (whom I don't typically like, so I'm surprising even myself by saying this!) is using the infection rate/positive tests vs total tests taken rate to determine when things should open. So, yes - our numbers are increasing, but so is our testing. So clearly our numbers are going to go up, and clearly deaths will increase. But the percentage of tests taken vs the number that turned out positive has decreased from over 6 percent to about four percent, which means overall infections are down. That's a long way of saying, I feel good about how we're opening and super happy to get out and about again! Of course, with a mask. Of course, lathering hand sanitizer on every so often. But seriously, PRAISE BE for getting out of the house and getting away from all my kids and experiencing something that feels somewhat normal again. Here's what else has been going on around here, currently:

All the celebrations! Mother's Day, hubby's birthday and Henry's birthday:
I'm used to it now, but having all three of these days happen in less than a week is CRAZY. Mid-May is a nonstop party of good food, cake, flowers and presents. This year was no different! I got a funny gift and a sentimental gift, plus flowers for Mother's Day, and it was super sweet. We were able to bring everyone to my favorite taco spot and sit outside, and for an hour or so, life was totally normal. It was a great Mother's Day.

Hub's birthday was mid-week, so we celebrated on Friday. He wanted ice cream cake, so I had to figure out who in Dallas makes those. In Minneapolis, I'd hit up a Dairy Queen but those are only wayyyyy out in the country here, and it'd melt before I got it back home! I eventually found one at TBCY and it was way better than one from DQ.

For Henry, we clearly couldn't throw him a party, but we managed to have fun anyway. I baked him his requested cake - a vanilla heart shaped cake with two layers and sprinkles. That was his exact request and lucky for me (and him) I have a heart shaped cake pan! We knew his birthday would be stormy, so we gave him his "big" present a day early. A new red bike. He was a little scared to ride it at first because it's so much bigger than his other bike, but he got the hang of it right away. Then he got to open up the rest of his gifts on his birthday, and I even let him play tag in the house to run off the sugar high from that cake.

Found this company, and it's awesome:
Living Libations was recommended to me in the strangest way! First, one of my followers over on @uncomplicatedlifeblogoils highly recommended it. I love that account and all the people I interact with there! But I didn't have time to look into it before my mind went elsewhere. Several days later, I was watching a IG Live broadcast with two women I really respect and admire. Both of them mentioned the brand! I said, ok, I'm definitely looking into this tomorrow. I ordered toothpaste, and some travel sized skincare items. I love that they offer travel sizes so that you can try the products out without dropping a bajillion dollars! And they have everything, from oral care to deodorant to makeup to sun care and even items for kids. Check them out for sure if you're into natural products or looking to replace some traditional products in your home.

Ditching online homeschool:
Do you know how stressful online learning is when your child can't read and needs to be watched with electronics? Yeah, "remote learning" is an absolute joke for kids under third grade. So, we're not doing it. Henry HATED his classroom Zoom calls, because they were just cluster-you-know-what's of kids screaming and calling out each other's names and it was overwhelming. He'd look at me wide-eyed and say, "Mommy, why is everyone screaming?" Then he'd walk off, uninterested. Fortunately, our school district also sent out packets of workbooks for the youngest kids, and Henry has been doing those (with an interested younger Otto giving him help, too). In fact, many of my friends with young kids like me have also ditched all this online BS. We do some worksheets in the morning, then get outside. Too much screen time for these youngsters. If you're feeling the same way, talk to your teacher and tell them what you will and won't do. They'll work with you!

Here's a small sample of what we have - tons of printables, and kindergarten math and science books too. So much better than micromanaging young kids and technology.

PS - I saw some summer camps on the east coast are looking into "virtual experience" models, and I've never laughed so hard in my life. They know we send our kids to camps to get them AWAY from screens and into the outdoors, right? For hands-on skill learning? Ok, just making sure. Is it just me or are people taking "virtual experiences" way way way too far? I wouldn't be surprised if vacation packages start being sold as "an online experience you can enjoy from your couch!" Ummm, that's not how that works.

Waiting in the wings...
For what will happen with our schools in the fall. And IT IS STRESSFUL. Like I said, online homeschooling a six year old isn't really effective or fun for anyone. This isn't how kids that age learn - or, rather, it isn't the only way they should be learning. They need to be doing, not sitting and watching a screen. Our governor hasn't created any rules or mandates on schools or day cares yet so. We wait. I hate waiting on stressful situations.

That's what's going on around here currently! How's your state re-opening? If it is, are you venturing out or staying home? I haven't gone shopping or hit up a mall yet, but I never really did that anyway so I doubt I'll be doing that anyhow. But eating out at a restaurant with a patio has been a treat. Now if I can just get the confirmation that schools are opening this fall, life will be dandy.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Saving Money On Prescriptions

If you recently lost your health insurance, never had it, or have a high deductible plan that makes getting your prescriptions too expensive, check out this resource for saving big bucks on nearly every FDA approved medication

This post is sponsored by Optum Perks but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

I remember when I first started working out of college in a corporate marketing department, we had new employee orientation. In that orientation, we learned about how to enroll for our benefits. I was shocked at how much health insurance cost - I had always been on my parents plan and never paid a cent of any premium! Since I was young and healthy, I signed up for the most affordable plan, which was a high deductible one with no prescription drug coverage. Of course, the first time I got sick and needed antibiotics, I wished I had enrolled in a better plan! Prescription drugs can cost a fortune, especially if you're stuck on a plan without a copay option. Or if you've been laid off and have no more coverage. Or worked at an employer where you couldn't get any coverage at all! Optum Perks is one of the coolest websites I've seen that offers real help to folks who can't afford a prescription, who don't have health insurance or who's insurance doesn't cover the particular drug they need.

Here's how it works: search, find and save. No, seriously. You go to their website and type in your prescription. You don't have to create an account, you don't need to enter any personal information. Just search your drug! Then you can alter the dosage to fit your prescription. Optum Perks will list out your cost at a number of participating pharmacies in your area. In fact, their coupons are good at 64,000 pharmacies nationwide, so odds are strong your preferred pharmacy is listed! Pick your pharmacy, then click get the coupon. You can print it, have it sent to your email or have it texted to you. Present the coupon when picking up your prescription and boom. You've just saved as much as 80% on your medication! There's no memberships or fees - they just send you the coupon to use.

Searching my prescription

Finding it and entering the specifics of my dose

And my savings card they texted me! The process is so easy

If you follow me on Instagram, you've likely seen my stories where I talk about the random eczema outbreak I get above my eye several times a year. To treat it, I have a prescription steroid from my dermatologist. I only use it when I have a flare up, but I keep it on hand all the time so that I'm ready for those flare ups! Which, by the way, my derm thinks are partially stress induced, and right now living in a quarantined world from COVID 19 is extra stressful, so I want to make sure I have plenty on hand!

Mandatory supplies to head into the pharmacy to get my cream!
Face mask, who dis?!

There wasn't a soul there, so I felt completely comfortable getting my prescription

I looked up the cost for this drug, and it was $10.19. When I entered the information in Optum Perks, my cost went down to just $4.17 with the prescription coupon! That's nearly the same price I pay with my insurance. So if you've got a high deductible plan, don't have health insurance at all, or if your insurance doesn't cover your drug, this is an EXCELLENT resource for you. The best part is, you can use the prescription coupons in your pharmacy (like I did), at the drive through window if your pharmacy has one, or via a mail order service. However you get your prescriptions, you can use Optum Perks for the discount.

Life right now is a weird time. Take some of the stress off your shoulders by using Optum Perks for your next prescription! I loved how easy it was - just search, find and save. In less than 2 minutes I had the text to my phone and was on my way to the pharmacy to get it. The pharmacist scanned my phone and boom - I got the discounted price. Saving money on prescriptions is easy with Optum Perks.

Monday, May 4, 2020

My Top 10 Most Used Essential Oils

What they are and how I use them in daily life

I've been "oily" for six years now. I've amassed quite a collection of oils. In fact, they're all over my home! The biggest stash is stored in a box from Aroma Outfitters in a cool, dark and childproof'd cabinet. But there's a few by my bed and a good number in my bathroom vanity drawer too. I travel with them. I reach for various oils throughout the day. Once you learn about them and get to know them, you find you can't be without them! Some I reach for more than others. This post is all about my top 10 favorite, most used essential oils. The ones I order before I'm even out of them because I don't want to be without them.

Like it? Pin it!

Since I found Revive, most of these oils are super affordable. That's because there's no multi-level-marketing club to join, which essentially means you're not paying your "upline's" bonuses or their trips to Hawaii that you'll never get to go on. You simply buy the oil that you want, when you want it, and it ships free. The quality is the same as Young Living or doTERRA, but since you avoid the MLM drama, you don't have to pay their prices! If you're looking for high quality, affordable oils, check them out. You can use CODE PAIGE10 for 10% off your order, too.

If you're a budget shopper, check out this post I made about my top 10 oil list for essential oils that cost $10 or less!

This list of my top 10 most used essential oils covers a wide range of uses, to extremely practical like cleaning and laundry to immune support to simply my favorite blends to diffuse. There's a little something for everyone in here! If you're looking for more ways to use your oils, be sure and follow @uncomplicatedlifeblogoils on Instagram. I post tons of ways to use oils, oil info, diffuser blends and all kinds of other good stuff on that account almost daily. Whether you're new to oils or an old pro, check out all these uses for my all time favorite oils:

Lemon is one of those oils that has a million uses. I make this cleaner, great for windows, glass and patio furniture that isn't wood. It's in my most favorite diffuser blend (rosemary, lemon and peppermint) that smells just like a spa. It's an energy boosting oil, so diffuse it if you're feeling sluggish. I carried a bottle of it around when I was pregnant and smelled it whenever nausea would hit me.

I call lavender the queen of all oils. It literally has a million uses, from calming skin irritations and reducing scars, to promoting sleep to helping my kids calm down from a tantrum. I have a DIY acne clearing face wash with lavender in it (check out the before and after pics of how it helped my acne scars!)

Kind of a weird one for a "top 10" list, right? But this is one of my favorites to use with other oils. It's a staple in my diffuer! Patchouli and sweet orange is amazing; it's my mood boosting blend when I'm having a "blah" day. Patchouli and lavender is calming and grounding. If you're lucky enough to have a bottle of rose essential oil, patchouli and rose is fantastic diffused in your home. The earthy scent of the patchouli and the floral of the rose go together like peas and carrots.

Sweet Orange
There's no way you can smell this oil and not be happy. It's just like cutting into a fresh orange! Since it's in the citrus family, you can use it with your cleaners. I use it with other oils (see above) in my diffuser. In fact, this might be one of my most diffused oils! In the fall, I'm a fan of sweet orange and clove and often have that running all holiday season. I wish this oil came in a big 30ml bottle because I use it that often!

Clary Sage
Ladies, how are those hormones? Clary sage is an estrogen booster, and if you're looking to balance your hormones, it's great to use for the first 14 days (or until the day you ovulate) of your cycle when your estrogen naturally drops. It's also been noted to be a natural anti-depressant and anti-anxiety oil. I apply it to my inner forearms with a carrier oil before bed regularly for it's calming benefits.

Tea Tree
Anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial, this is the anti oil king! Good for acne breakouts (apply directly to the blemish). I put a drop on my toe when I had a particularly aggressive pedicure that caused some red inflammation (the gal was a little too heavy handed digging out my cuticle) and it prevented an infection. I've used it to clean my yoga mat (a few drops added to witch hazel; spay your mat down and let it sit in the sun).

If tea tree is the king of being "anti-bad-things", frankincense is the king of oils for the skin! It's great to add to your skincare routine for anti-aging benefits. I add a drop to my moisturizer daily. It's one of the oils that's safe during pregnancy and (very dilluted) for babies. One drop of lavender and frankincense added to coconut oil is great for a diaper rash. Speaking of, this oil is great for various skin rashes and irritations. I have a DIY makeup removing wipe that has frankincense in it which helps with wrinkle prevention, too.

My favorite blend of all time, this oil is a dupe of Young Living's Peace & Calming. I diffuse it all the time! It's also good in a roller bottle as perfume. It helps with anxiety and stress - in fact, it's my go to oil for stress relief. It's also great diffused at night to help create a calm environment great for sleep.

What I love about this oil is that it's a blend of various sandalwood varieties, as well as a few other earthy, grounding oils. Sandalwood is a super expensive oil, but this blend gives you access to all that oils benefits for $22. I love diffusing this for it's calming, relaxing and earthy scent. When you want things to be mellow and chill, put this one in your diffuser and get re-centered and connected.

Immunity Boost (Protect)
As a former Young Living oil lover, Immunity Boost is an EXACT dupe of Thieves. As the name suggests, it's great for boosting your immune system, and I have it going as soon as school starts and the kids start bringing home all the bugs from their classmates. Diffuse it (especially with lemon), put it in a roller bottle and apply it to the bottoms of your feet before bed (I keep the roller bedside) and if you take oils internally, add a drop to your favorite tea. I swear it shortens the length of any cold I get and if I start my regimen the second I feel something coming on, sometimes it curbs the cold entirely before I actually get sick. I put Protect in parenthesis because it's the doTERRA On Guard dupe. I never used that oil brand so I was unaware of how great it is, but it's very similar to Thieves. I ordered it to compare the two, and I have to say... I'm a bigger fan of Protect than Immunity Boost! It uses wild orange instead of lemon and a different variety of cinnamon, and it's quite lovely. I'll likely switch out all my Immunity Boost bottles to use Protect instead!

These are all the oils that I use consistently in and around my person and home. Whether I'm making a DIY like a cleaner, trying to boost my health and immune system or simply want a pleasant smell diffusing, these are my top 10 most used, go to essential oils. The ones I order more of before I even run out, because I never ever want to be out of them!