the little things

It’s been a cold week here in Duluth. Like…negatives and single digits cold. And I’ve never had to really heat a full house before (while also thinking about the $$ needed for it). Needless to say, I’ve been wearing many layers and wrapping myself in blankets. This is the only time I’ll admit it would be nice to work in an office all day where it’s probably well heated.

Regardless, it’s been a good week of productivity in some areas, and the rest is just cozying up and letting winter be winter. A few little necessities (and luxuries) have gotten me through this week, which also happens to be the start of our Whole 30. And I hope they’ll continue to do so as it continues to drop in temp!

This bag from Target that my sister got me for Christmas. It absolutely brightens up my day and gets me excited to take work out of the house occasionally.

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Young Living’s Joy Essential Oil! I recently got a new bottle of this amazing oil, and it really does lift the spirits. I don’t know how to describe the scent – spicy, happy, and warm? All things perfect for winter.

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Our wood burning stove. Admittedly, it took me several tries to figure out how to get a fire going. “You gotta kindle it!” Kevin would keep saying. “You’re so silly!” he kept saying. Well, I figured out how to properly “kindle” a fire.

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These dish towels! They were a gift from Kevin for Christmas that he sneakily bought when we were in PA at one of my favorite little shops. I eventually want our kitchen to be french themed, and this was our little start – some french dish towels!

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La Croix sparkling water! It’s the little things, right? It’s Whole 30 compliant (I think?), no sugar, just “naturally essenced” sparkling water. I think just the loveliness of the can would be enough for me.

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Happy weekend (and three day weekend for some of you)!

 

Essential Oils: Lavender

This is the first of what I hope to be an informative series on essential oils! Just as a preface, I use Young Living Essential Oils for their quality. Not all essential oils are created equal – I know, having spent months and months buying more generic brands on amazon. I would not feel as comfortable using lower quality oils for all the purposes I list out below.

I would venture to assume that lavender is probably the most commonly known essential oil out there. I know it was pretty well-known to me, but the lavender I thought I knew was most definitely not the real thing. We see the label everywhere: lavender scented soap, candles, lotion, shampoo, perfume, bath salts, etc. But way more often than not, these are just an imitation of the real deal.

To be honest, I didn’t think I was going to use lavender for as much as I do. I had heard of its many uses, but wasn’t convinced that this popular fragrance would actually impress me beyond the relaxing factor. But it did!

Here are several ways we’ve used lavender in our home:

  1. Better sleep. Yes, cliche, but true. I have had good success with rubbing lavender on the soles of my feet for better sleep. I am not the best sleeper and I tend to wake up several times in the night. Whenever I remember the lavender, I am pleasantly surprised that it works!
  2. Bug Repellent. This is not a lie. Lavender repels bugs. Upon moving into our house recently, I was horrified to see hundreds of little flies by the windows in our bedroom and bathroom. After getting rid of all the ones we could see, I made a spray bottle of vinegar + water, with 10-15 drops each of both lavender and rosemary. I sprayed the curtains as well as the screens (and re-applied every 1-2 days for a week) and we have had very few, if any, flies since that first spray.
  3. Rashes/Cuts. Kevin had a bit of a rash/unknown skin thing on the back of his neck a few months ago, and at that point, he wasn’t sold on the oils yet. I told him to put lavender on it, and he did as he was told (maybe just to appease me). He was so excited to tell me that it went away and he gave credit to the lavender. He is no longer a skeptic.
  4. Scalp/dandruff. Lavender, I hear, is great for scalp health, along with a number of other specific oils. I’ve had some problems with my hair over the past couple years, and I can say there has been a remarked improvement since I’ve been applying the oils over the past several months. I do include lavender in a recipe for a pre-conditioner I use in the shower, but I also occasionally massage a few drops onto my scalp for a more direct application.
  5. Good smell. Well, obviously this one. Lavender is one of my choice oils for adding a nice smell to the laundry, storage (particularly bins of clothing & closets), and soaps. Just a couple of drops to a cotton ball or a cotton cloth will do!
  6. Make-up. Since lavender is quite the antiseptic, antifungal, and anti-everything-bad, I like to add a drop to my make-up, whether it’s homemade or not. Mascara, particularly, is the big one. I always have such a fear of what I’m putting so close to my eyes, but I am much more at ease with a drop of lavender shaken up in the tube.
  7. PMS/Female things. Lavender, along with a few others, are a crucial part to my womanly routine each month. Added to a carrier oil (I use coconut usually), I make sure to apply a couple drops of lavender to my lower abdomen to ease the cramps.
  8. Skin help. For the longest time, I never thought to use lavender in my facial skincare routine. But it works so well for so much else, I decided to give it a try. Now, I unfortunately have seasons of bad skin, and then once it gets better, I still have issues with scarring. I’ve recently been moisturizing with argan oil and a drop of lavender after washing my face each night, and I am literally amazed. It has done wonders. Now, my face is certainly nowhere near perfection, but it’s improved dramatically given the past few months of stress & hormonal craziness.

I know there are about a million other uses for lavender and I’ve only scratched the surface. What are some of your favorites?

Seven Quick Takes: Finding My Routine

Happy Friday! I’m linking up with Kelly over at This Ain’t the Lyceum!

[ 1 ]

This week Kevin started work, and thus starts the beginning of my time home alone during the days. I’m working from home at the moment (please pray the work continues, because it is a huge blessing for our family!), which has been great…and also weird. Now that it’s just me in the house, and work doesn’t occupy every single second of my day, I feel guilty for having time to do things I wouldn’t normally get to do! Like preparing more meals from scratch, picking up crochet again, praying more, starting beginners yoga…okay, now it sounds like I don’t work at all. But I do, I promise!

[ 2 ]

Speaking of meals from scratch, I made paleo tortillas this week and they were the bomb. Because of Pinterest, I rarely utilize a physical cookbook anymore (even though I still love them), but the one exception is Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain. The recipes are so good! I fed some guests the fudge brownies I made from her book, and I received very high compliments before telling them they were grain-free. The pancake and waffle recipe – also amazing.

[ 3 ]

We’ve been continuing to plow through Gilmore Girls – season five – and finished last night. At this point, it’s just plain addicting, and I will say that it’s not always satisfying. Rory just makes so many poor life decisions! But Lorelai and Luke – love! Also, anyone else have strong reactions to the announcement of a possible additional short season for Netflix?!

[ 4 ]

I’ve picked up crocheting again (more like – trying to figure it out all over again). I’m not the best with crafty things like this, but I’m giving it the old college try. I thought I was making a scarf, but I think I’m gonna cut it short, sew the ends together and make a winter headband. Maybe I’ll post the final results…maybe.

[ 5 ]

This past Saturday we attended the NFP Dinner Dance here in Duluth. A bunch of people congregated all in favor of the free use of terms like mucus, menstruation, and fertile days. We were invited by a family in the area and had a lovely time. Good food, dancing, great conversation, and, oh yes, someone gave us a raffled off red velvet cake that is like 3x the size of my head…and I can’t eat a single bite of it. WOMP.

[ 6 ]

So what did we do? We invited a family over Monday night to eat cake…after dinner, of course. This couple and their two little girls were a delight to host – Kevin knew the husband back from his days in seminary. It’s always fun meeting great married couples that we can talk with and relate to. And their little 3 year old girl was a hoot. Like, seriously. I loved it. And with Kevin’s help throughout the week, we’re slowly getting rid of the cake.

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I’ve been diffusing En-R-Gee for the past few mornings and man does it rock. It’s such a good smell and I kid you not when I say it helps me wake up and be focused when I am trying to structure my day and get things done. I am able to delve much more into my oils lately and it’s so good. 🙂

That’s about it for today! Have a lovely weekend!

Carpe Diem.

It’s not every day you and your husband decide to drop your job (and primary source of income), leave the city you know, and take a leap of faith halfway across the country. Butttt that is where we are! We had been mulling over and discerning the possibility of moving to Minnesota for several months. Pennsylvania was an option, as was New Hampshire, but our hearts both seemed content (and thrilled) with Minnesota. However, it was St. Paul we were aiming for!

Things happened, job interviews were had, connections were made, someone (me) spent way too long lusting after cheaper real estate on zillow, we joyfully welcomed a pregnancy that altered some plans, but then that pregnancy went. And in those moments of loss and grief, we received peace and clarity. After Mass on July 3rd, we sat down outside the chapel and said it aloud: we should move to Duluth. I cling back to that moment, though, and trust that it was authentic and of God, because now as we get so close and I’ve given my work my notice, doubt inevitably clouds my vision! (Damn you, evil one!)

Yet even with the occasional doubt and fear, I know this is good. Even with the pain of leaving good friends and a home I love, I know God is calling us to greater things. Now…I’m not sure WHAT those things are, but I trust that they are GOOD. I am in no way tied to my “career path”, though it does lend a bit of security. So the prospect of potentially starting somewhere new and having more flexibility to “figure things out” was, and is, very attractive.

What will we do? Gosh, only the Lord knows. There is only so much we can do to prepare until we get there. Right now my head is filled with logistical nightmares of when to pack up my kitchen aid and how to sell all our furniture on Craigslist. I am re-evaluating a lot of things. I’ve always had my next move planned, and it’s always been on a certain trajectory. And while there was a time that I enjoyed what I do – that time has come and gone. While it will be tempting to apply to the classic HR jobs I’m used to, I really want to start fresh in something that gives me life.

I’d really love to do my own thing and work from home, if possible. I have a few ideas in my head and the wheels are spinning. Whatever I do is going to take some investment and patience. The frontrunners of the moment are:

  • Becoming a Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (a one year program, fairly affordable) and partnering with organizations that teach and/or promote Natural Family Planning. I’d love to work with people struggling with infertility, looking at nutrition first before undergoing tests & treatments that can be quite pricey.
  • Starting my own at-home travel agency that specializes in Catholic Pilgrimages (and maybe adventurous honeymoons!). I can somewhat utilize that hospitality degree and my love for planning & travel! I’d work with a host agency such as TPI or Outside Agents. They provide all the training and tools you need to start earning commission right from home.
  • Selling Young Living Essential Oils. Some people make this their sole income and it works. I somehow doubt I’d be one of those people, but nothing wrong with trying and maybe snagging a little supplemental cash. The best part is it wouldn’t be forced. I absolutely love these oils. I believe in their healing properties, and if nothing else, I get to spread the word of more holistic health options.

I’ll continue to pray on this and look into more details over the next month or so, but I would love if, when we arrive in Duluth mid-September, I can start working towards one (or more) of these goals. Doing something I love would bring me greater joy, but it would all be in service of cultivating a beautiful domestic life with Kevin and to support him in his mission and work. So may God bless our efforts and may the opportunities be great!

Entering the World of Essential Oils

I’ve recently gotten into essential oils, and I have to tell you…I think they’re great. I bought tea tree oil for the first time in April for a skin issue, and it worked WONDERS. I soon after purchased Eucalyptus and Peppermint. I use them for a variety of things, such as wiping down corners in the apartment to keep insects from coming in (as far as I can tell, it works great). AND I had a terrible headache recently and was feeling a head cold coming on with difficulty breathing. I rubbed a bit of coconut oil and peppermint on my forehead and I woke up feeling awesome. No joke. 

I am officially a fan. And as much as I’d love to get a wholesale account from a reputable company and buy all the essential oils ever, girl don’t got the funds for that. So I’ve purchased two DoTerra products on amazon for a bit cheaper than their retail price.

ClaryCalm

ClaryCalm for PMS, menstrual cramps, general hormonal balance. Boy do I need this.

PastTense

PastTense for headache relief. Staring at a computer all day (plus my iphone probably) has given me a perpetual headache right up front. So I’m working on easing that.

If they work well, I may get another. And if that works well, I’ll try some more. And if life seems to improve, maybe…just maybe…I’ll invest in a wholesale account. I shall let you know how it goes!