5 Tips for Breast Health

5 Tips for Breast Health

Between bra shopping and an upcoming annual visit with the OB/GYN, I've been thinking a lot about breast health lately.   This topic creates a good deal of fear and anxiety in many women.  Let's re-frame and focus on things that are within our control.  I've come up with 5 simple tips to keep your breasts healthy.

  

Oh, that bra shopping....I bought 4.  2 pretty bralettes and 2 functional ones.    

 

One of my criteria for bras is....NO underwire.  And that's tip #1. 

  

 

5 Tips to Keep Your Breasts Healthy

 

  1.  Ditch the underwire bra.  There's a good deal of conflicting info linking underwire bras to breast health.  When in doubt, just stop wearing them.   Any restrictive bra presents the lymph system from draining toxins from the body.  Sports bras are great alternatives.  Even better, go braless.  Research shows that going braless helps to keep your breasts perky.  Bonus:  underwire bras are so darn uncomfortable anyway. 

  

2.  Eat more fruit & veggies.  Produce is rich in antioxidants.  Antioxidants help to prevent oxidation and oxidative stress which produce free radicals that damage cells.  Bottom line: fruits & veggies help your cells stay healthy. 

 

3.  Eat less sugar.  There is research that shows links between sugar and the  C word.  Some attribute it to raised insulin levels.   Others think it's because sugar impacts the gut microbiome.  Regardless of how you look at it, too much sugar is unhealthy.  Just limit your sugar.  

 

4. Limit stress.  We all experience stress.  But it's super important to limit chronic and ongoing stress.  Stress hormones can prevent anoikis, a process that kills diseased cells and prevents them from spreading.  This is important stuff.  Do what it takes to reduce the chronic stress in your life. 

 

5.  Apply frankincense daily to the breasts.   Just a simple google will reveal tons of info about how frankincense supports healthy breast tissue.   A girlfriend recently had a thermal mammogram.  The technician encouraged her to massage her breasts daily with frankincense.   More and more medical professionals are encouraging alternatives and that's a good thing.

 

 There you have it.  5 simple ways that you can support your girls.....pun intended.  

If your looking for more info on frankincense, check out this post.  

  

9 Carrier Oils for Essential Oils

9 Carrier Oils for Essential Oils

9 Carrier Oils to Use with Essential Oils 

What exactly is a carrier oil and why do I need it?  Great question! 

Carrier oils, such as fractionated coconut oil, are used for diluting essential oils. They increase absorption, are good for safety reasons, and save you money.    There are many carrier oil options available and it can be super overwhelming.  Let’s take a look at nine of the best carrier oils to use with essential oils.  

Each carrier oil  has a different feel on the skin and each has its own therapeutic properties.  Each oil is a little different, so you can choose the one that suits your needs the best.

  1. Fractionated Coconut Oil.  This oil is a great go-to due to its long shelf life and non-oily feel on the skin. It has a low molecular weight and penetrates deeply.  FCO is very easy to spread and is light, so it won’t leave you feeling greasy.  Fractionated coconut oil has been processed so it stays liquid.  If you need larger amounts, this pump container comes in very handy. 
  2. Almond Oil.  Another light oil is sweet almond oil, a fave among massage therapists.  It’s nutty, delicious smell makes it one of my personal favorites. It’s easily absorbed and emollient.  Sweet almond oil is rich in vitamin E and great for the skin.  
  3. Avocado Oil.  This carrier oil has a medium weight to it, feeling almost waxy on the skin.  But it is super-beneficial as it contains nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins A, D, & E.  This oil promotes collagen and is wonderful for mature skin as well as dry skin issues. Research has shown that it can help to lower blood pressure, ease arthritis symptoms, and heal psoriasis issues.  So cool! 
  4. Jojoba Oil.  Very light and nearly odorless, jojoba oil absorbs well and is a great conditioner for the skin.  Its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties can help to treat acne.  Because it moisturizes so heavily,  many use it for it’s anti-aging benefits.  Jojoba oil has a long shelf life and is easily absorbed.  
  5. Oilve Oil. Olive oil has a slightly thick weight to it, making it feel more oily on the skin. Because it’s rich in fatty acids, it is nourisning for the skin.  Olive oil is also full of  antioxidants which means it’s great for healing and repair.   Bonus, you probably have this in your kitchen already.  It’s not my favorite carrier oil because it is heavy.  But I’ve used it in a pinch.  
  6. Wheatgerm Oil.  Although this oil goes on the skin feeling thick and sticky, It’s loaded with Vitamin E and is a natural anti-inflammatory.  It has anti-aging properties due to its vitamin content, supports collagen production, and can help prevent scarring. 
  7. Argan Oil.  This oil is light in weight and goes on the skin with nearly no oily feel.  It’s filled with fatty acids and is great for all skin types.  It’s beneficial for mature skin as it promotes skin elasticity.  It’s also good for stretch marks, nail cuticles, and split ends.  I like to use argan oil as a facial moisturizer (add a drop of frankincense and and a drop of geranium if you struggle with oily skin).  
  8. Rosehip Oil.  Light and only slightly oily on the skin with an earthy aroma, rosehip oil is rich in beneficial fatty acids and has anti-aging properties.  It is a good choice for dry skin and helps prevent scarring and eases psoriasis symptoms.  Rosehip oil can go rancid quickly, so proper storage and timely use is recommended.  Add a drop of Immortelle essential oil blend to rosehip oil and use for sun-damaged skin.  
  9. Magnesium Oil.  Technically, this isn’t an oil.  It’s magnesium chloride flakes mixed with water.  Since it has an oily texture, it’s called magnesium oil.  In our house, we do use this as a carrier oil.  Magnesium oil has it’s own amazing health benefits.  It’s a great choice if you are dealing with stress, inflammation, or sleep issues because magnesium helps all of those.

  

To quickly sum up: 

  • Fractionated coconut oil is our family’s most commonly used carrier oil.  I use it to make roller bottles and as a body moisturizer. It has a long shelf life.  
  • Argan and jojoba are my favorite oils to use as a facial moisturizer.  
  • When using a thicker oil,  combine it with another carrier oil to lighten it up.  For instance,  if you are making a blend to use for scarring, try adding a bit of wheat germ to almond oil.  You’ll get the benefits of both.
  • Consider keeping magnesium oil on hand.  It’s a powerhouse in it’s own right.

So there you have it. Nine great carrier oils to match your particular tastes and health needs.  There are many other options but I’ve chosen to hit on the carriers that you we most commonly use. Have other carrier oil options not mentioned here that work for you?  Share them in the comments below.

DIY Glue Slime Recipe

DIY Glue Slime Recipe

DIY Glue Slime Recipe

First off, let me say that slime is my nemesis.  Slime, itself, is fun, right?  But it always has the potential to get our of control and super messy.  My 11 year old watched a few YouTube tutorials, made some modifications, and came up with this DIY glue slime recipe.  At first, I was a little hesitant.  Um, the potential for messiness!  After she created it, I was easily won over.  This stuff is super cool.   And easy enough that my girly did it on her own. Bonus:  it does not stick to walls or floors.  

(affiliate links below)

DIY Glitter Slime

What you need:

  • 1 bottle of Elmer’s Glue, clear
  • 1 cup of water, divided in half
  • 1 teaspoon Borax
  • glitter (the more, the merrier)
  • optional: food coloring
  • optional: essential oils (I recommend citrus)
What you need to do:
  1.  In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of water and the Borax.  Mix until Borax is dissolved (or nearly).
  2. In separate bowl, mix the bottle of glue with the remaining 1/2 cup of water.
  3. Add in 3-4 drops of essential oil (no oregano!) and mix.
  4. Add in glitter (my girly used 2 tubes) and mix.
  5. Combine the 2 bowls and stir as much as possible.
  6. When you can no longer stir, knead. This is when it really starts to come together.
  7. Boom!  You have slime.
DIY Glitter Slime w/ Glue
A few little tips and ideas:
  • Keep slime off of fleece.  Trust me on this.
  • The clear glue seems to give it a lovely, almost translucent glow.  My daughter says that you can also use regular, white Elmer’s.
  • Try glitter glue and just omit the glitter.
  • My 11 year old made this on her own.  That said, show caution with Borax and essential oils.  Younger kiddos might need supervision.  Supervision is a GOOD thing.
  • You could easily use this DIY Glue Slime Recipe to make sensory slime:  orange slime with wild orange essential oil, yellow slime with lemon essential oil, blue slime with peppermint essential oil, purple slime with lavender essential oil. You get the picture.  Fun!

There you go.  Time to get slimed!

DIY Lip Gloss

DIY Lip Gloss

vanilla peppermint lip gloss

DIY Lip Gloss  (great for tweens)

My 10 year old daughter has recently developed an interest in make-up.  I love my make-up. Anyone else addicted to Urban Decay?!? I pretty much knew it would be a matter of time for my girl but 10 seems sooooo young, right?

Today, she had the idea of creating her own lip gloss and I thought that was a brilliant idea.  We whipped up this quick little DIY lip gloss.  It satisfied her make-up craving and was a super fun, quick little project.  It’s so simple that I almost didn’t even want to make a blog post out of it but, hey, I know that some of you like step-by-step directions.

safe and non-toxic

I’m pretty particular about personal care items.  We try to keep our home environment free of chemicals and the same goes for our personal care items.  This little recipe has three ingredients:  vanilla bean, un-petreleum jelly, and peppermint oil.

  • Vanilla bean.  I had some vanilla extract brewing in the cupboard.  Here’s a great little recipe for vanilla extract over at Tasty Yummies.  If you don’t already  make your own vanilla extract, you should!  It’s quick and easy.  I’m a huge fan of quick and easy.  You can pick up vanilla beans over at Amazon.  I buy mine in bulk and give the vanilla extract as gifts.  That’s another blog post, right?  Anyway, for the purpose of the lip gloss, just split the bean and scrape out some of the insides.  The little brown flecks look pretty, don’t they?
  • Un-petroleum jelly. Yes, this REALLY is a thing.  Do you know what petroleum jelly is?  It’s derived from petroleum.  That’s just not good.  Do you want to put motor oil on your body?  Yeah, me neither.  It’s also questionable in that some of the ingredients in petroleum jelly have been linked to cancer.  Plus, it creates a moisture barrier so it truly doesn’t hydrate the body.  But there is a great alternative.  Un-petroleum jelly is a safer blend of castor oil, coconut oil, beeswax, castorwax, soybean oil, and vitamin E.  It actually adds moisture to the skin.
  • Peppermint essential oil.  Not only does this smell amazing, it adds a great little tingle to the lip gloss and it plumps up the lips.  I have a preference for certain essential oils.  Shoot me an email and I’ll tell you the brand.  These essential oils have been tested for purity and GMO-free.  They are also FDA-approved for consumption. Safe enough for this little DIY recipe, too!

Whipping up this little concoction is super easy.  Fill a tiny container with your un-petroluem jelly. Add your vanilla bean scrapings and one drop of peppermint essential oils.  Mix well.  How easy is that?  My daughter was thrilled with her glossy new lips.  She even requested that I take a pic of her making duck-lips.  I did but refused to add it to this blog post.  I draw the line at duck lips.

If you like this idea, please share the love and Pin the image. This way, more 10 year old girls can make their own lip gloss and make pouty, duck-face lips.  

If you are looking for another fun DIY craft, check out my post on How to Make Perfume with Essential Oils.  And, like always, for those who are interested in purchasing the best quality essential oils, click here.

(I have some Amazon affiliate links in this post.  If you purchase via these links, I get a small commission.  I only link items that I love, trust, and would use for my own family.)

Traveling with Essential Oils

Traveling with Essential Oils

traveling with essential oils

If you are an essential oil lover, then you travel with your essential oils.  That’s just a fact of life. Those of use who are oil-addicted take our oils everywhere.  The question isn’t, “Do I take my oils with me?”  The question is, “How do I take my oils with me?” and “How many oils should I bring?”  So, I’m going to share a bit of information to help you travel with your oils.  I’ve have a LOT of experience in this area.

Can I take essential oils on an airplane?

Yup.  You sure can.  If you check your bags, then this is a non-issue.  Just make sure the lids are closed tightly and they are in a well-padded case.

But you love your oils and want to carry them on, right?  Well, you can do that, too.  I’ve been flown many times and have NEVER had a problem with my essential oils.  I follow the TSA guidelines and I’ve been good.  Be forewarned, you might get a few questions from interested people.  Keep your business cards on hand.

The TSA allows us to carry liquids on board a plane.  Remember the 3-1-1 rule.  Containers must hold 3 ounces or less and must be stored in 1 closed ziploc bag that is 1 quart or smaller (be sure and and check out www.TSA.gov for more info).  And, remember, ALL of your liquids have to be in this ziplock bag including shampoo, lotions, etc.  When I’m flying, I put all of my essential oils in the clear quart bag.  I generally carry 15 ml bottles and you can pack A LOT of 15 mL into a clear bag.  I just did a little experiment and 20 bottles filled my quart bag.  Enough to get you through the weekend, right?

Do airport x-ray scanners impact essential oils?

Great question!  This is something that I wondered myself.  I’m not a fan of x-ray machines but, if you are flying, they are a necessary evil.  From my own research, I’ve determined that x-ray machines do not impact the quality or chemical constituency of essential oils.

X-ray machines and scanners impact frequencies.  Many people believe that essential oils have frequencies and that x-ray machines impact these frequencies and, thus, can harm the therapeutic properties of the oils.  Dr. Robert Pappas, essential oil chemist and founder of Essential Oil University, has stated that essential oils do not have vibrational energy frequencies.   I’ll be honest here and admit…I’m not a physicist and haven’t done enough research to determine where I stand on this issue.   I specifically asked Dr. Pappas if x-ray scanners impacted the quality of essential oils and he replied that they did not.

When I contacted product support of a major essential oil company and asked this question, I was told this:  “We have not officially tested our essential oils after traveling through security machines as you mentioned.  However, many of our executive team members travel often.  I work closely with Dr. Hill who has explained that he has not found any decrease in potency or efficacy of his essential oils after traveling in airports each week.  Sometimes you can also ask to have them manually checked if you would like to avoid the x-ray machine.”

Me…I place my oils in a quart size plastic bag at home before heading to the airport.  I don’t stress the x-ray machines.  I’ll also pack my oil traveling case du jour in my carry-on.  While I’m waiting to board (if I have that luxury), I’ll just organize my oils and place them back into their carrying case.  I could leave them in the clear quart bag but my oils are precious and I prefer to have them safe and sound in their little padded home.  Plus, people see my oils and often ask questions.  It’s a great opportunity to share with others.  We are all about sharing the essential oil love right?

What essential oils cases are best for traveling?

Now we get down to the fun stuff…essential oil accessories!  Much of this depends on your personal style and preference.  Do you want to carry a lot of oils?  Or just a few?  Will you be tossing your oils in your purse?  Or are you looking for stand-along container?  Do you want a feminine case?  Or something more masculine.  Here are few recommendations:

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 8.47.59 PM

This is a great little padded case.  I have this one in black and orange (shown above) and have used it many times.  The description says that it holds 30 bottles.  Truly, it holds 25 bottles (15 ml).  Regardless, it’s a great little case.  $25 on Amazon, as of today.

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 8.52.24 PM

 

Supre cute little case.  I carry a similar case in my purse.  It has space for 10 oil bottles but you can add a few more in the middle.  Right now, this case is about $25 on Amazon.

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 8.57.35 PM

Here’s a similar case that I found over on Etsy at Sew Darn Simple.  She has tons of cute stuff.  If you search Etsy, you’ll find a TON of cases.

PicMonkey Collage

 

Check out the great little case above.  Heather, an oil loving friend, sells this pattern over on Craftsy. It’s only $10 and this case holds LOTS of oils.

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 5.38.13 PM

Lots of mamas carry and store their oils in these nifty little wooden boxes.  It’s not padded but can totally work for travel and it holds 25 bottles.  It’s $19.95.  You can pick on up here.

You have a TON of options.  In fact,  you probably know of a few that I don’t know about.  If so, share a link for others to see.   It’s always fun to see what other people come up with.  Happy travels!

(I have some Amazon affiliate links in this post.  If you purchase via these links, I get a small commission.  I only link items that I love, trust, and would use for my own family.)

 

How to Make Homemade Lotion Bars

How to Make Homemade Lotion Bars

lotion bars diy

A while ago, I was browsing Pinterest and saw some pins on how to make lotion bars.  This idea immediately appealed to me because it seemed so practical and easy.  I NEEDED these things. Plus, in the winter months, my daughter’s hands tend to get dry and itchy.  I wanted to create something that would be easy to use and provide relief for her.  And guess what? They work like a charm.

Let me say that lotion bars are to be used like lotion.  Use them on dry skin.  They are not soap. In fact, they are emollient and contain oils.  If you use them in the shower,  you just might slip and fall. NOT good.

These homemade lotion bars have 4 main ingredients:  coconut oil, shea butter, beeswax, and essential oils.  The oil, butter, and beeswax have therapeutic properties and are excellent for the skin.  The essential oil add-ins are  your preference but I’ll let you know what I used.  After checking out many recipes,  and playing around with my own, I decided that simple is best.  The 1:1:1 ratio of coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax pastilles is easy and works very well.

Homemade Lotion Bars

1.  Melt all ingredients in a double boiler (or makeshift version).

2.  Remove from heat and add essential oils.

3.  Pour into molds and allow to harden.

4.  Use liberally and regularly.

Tips & Tricks:

  • The first time I did this, I mixed my ingredients in a Pyrex mixing cup.  It gets messy.  I highly recommend using a Mason jar that can be re-used for this purpose.  It’s MUCH easier.
  • With the molds, I wanted to use what I had on hand and not purchase any extra specialty stuff.  We tend to be minimalists.  I used a set of Ikea silicone baking cups and these nifty little silicone egg poachers.  I just sat them upright in cupcake tins and they make a lovely little shape.
  • This recipe made 3 generously sized lotion bars.  Because this is a 1:1:1 ratio recipe, it’s super easy to adjust.
  • I wanted to make a lotion bar that my daughter could use for the dry, itchy, cracking skin on her hands in the winter.  Honestly, it breaks my mama heart.  I added in 7 drops each of doTerra lavender, geranium, frankincense, and melaleuca.  Oh my goodness, the results are AMAZING.  Overnight, it made a huge difference and, when used regularly, her hands look and feel nearly normal.

 

As soon as lotion bars dried, I immediately grabbed one and tried it out.  SOMEONE in our house is constantly barefoot, inside and out.  And SOMEONE doesn’t get pedicures as often as they should. And SOMEONE is pretty embarrassed to admit that these are her actual feet.  But this particular SOMEONE took a before pic, applied the lotion bar, and snapped a pic about 30 seconds after.  Seriously, 30 seconds.  The difference is amazing, huh?  Of course, this is NOT a replacement for a proper pedicure.  SOMEONE knows that.

 

 

For those who want to grab some essential oils, click here.   You can get wholesale pricing and I’ll send you a reference book and some other nifty freebies.  In addition, we have an interactive website where you can learn more about the oils and I’ll add  you to our private Facebook page where you can connect and learn from other oil lovers.  It’s all great stuff.

This post (and many on my site) contain affiliate links for Amazon.  If I use a product and love it, I recommend it to my friends.  I’m sure you do, too, right?