My Daily-Use Essential Oils

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There are lots of people who have been using essential oils on a regular basis much longer than I have, and I’m always intrigued by their “day in the life of an oiler”-type posts. Today I’m sharing my own list — these are the oils I use every day.

Learn more about my use of essential oils by clicking here.

  1. Lavender is part of my beauty routine. I wipe 2-3 drops all over my face and neck with a reusable makeup remover pad from Marleys Monsters both morning and evening, right before moisturizing with this [truly magic] All In One Healing Skin Cream. I think putting it on before bed helps me relax and fall asleep, too. We also use lavender for bug bites.
  2. We use Peppermint for pain relief. A few drops on the temples and/or neck help to ease a tension headache, and it feels great rubbed onto my calves or back for muscle soreness as well.
  3. Grapefruit is my go-to for scent. I think at this point it’s the only oil whose smell I really love! I throw it in the diffuser on a regular basis, add a few drops to my dryer balls, and even put it on cotton rounds to stick in behind the air conditioner vent (a smarty-pants tip from my sister-in-law).
  4. I rub Progessence Plus onto my forearms and neck once or twice a day for help with hormones. I credit this in part for helping to get things straightened out after my miscarriage. I’ve heard that it works wonders for menstrual cramps, too.
  5. Lemon is such a great little multi-purpose oil! I add 5-6 drops to a dishpan full of water to clean produce, diffuse it for that just-cleaned kitchen scent, and mix a little in with my homemade cleaners. But possibly my favorite use for lemon is that it works just as well as Goo-Gone for removing sticky residue!

Fellow essential oil fans, what are your favorites?

Figuring Out My Version of the Minimalist Lifestyle

IMG_7153I think minimalism is part of the “way I’m wired”…for as long as I can remember, I’ve gotten a rush out of the process of eliminating clutter and excess in my life. However, it’s a part of me that continually needs shaping and fine-tuning, and I’m still learning everyday how to better use, prioritize, and organize the “stuff” in my life and what that looks like in relation to spending habits, time management, and priorities.

I’ve heard good things about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and though I haven’t read it yet, I know that the idea of getting rid of things we no longer use has been trending like crazy and “minimalism” is all the rage right now. That makes it fun, because there’s this camaraderie in all evaluating our consumerist/materialistic tendencies together.

I absolutely love having yard sales, taking things to consignment shops, selling things on Facebook, and, most recently, I’ve even bought into the Instagram sale thing. For me, ending up with a handful of cash helps me justify both letting go of things that I loved or that I paid too much for, and spending more money on the higher-quality things that I really want.

My husband has taught me a lot about the value in saving for what I really want or the better brand of something I need instead of settling for the cheap version just because it’s cheap. In the two short years of our marriage, my attitude towards spending and saving money has changed completely. I no longer feel guilty every time I choose the item that I believe is the best, rather than the one with the lowest price tag. And now that I shop this way (for the most part), I have much less to get rid of, since I less often end up dissatisfied with my cheap purchases.

But as I said, it’s a process. Doing a capsule wardrobe has taught me a lot about this concept when it comes to my clothing, and I’m realizing that I’ve subconsciously begun to think about other things (kitchen gadgets, home decor, etc.) with the same mindset.

Also, I’m only 23 years old. I am still figuring out my style and tastes — not only in fashion, but in interior design, food, and my life/goals in general. Sometimes when I start to feel panicky about everything being so unsettled and constantly changing, I have to remind myself of that. A lot of the people I admire, both online and in real life, hadn’t figured out or established the things I admire about them at my age, either. 🙂

Before I ramble on too much further, here are some links I recommend for further reading on minimalism.

What are some sources that have motivated you to live with less? I’d love to hear some good book/podcast/blog recommendations. Let’s get the conversation started!

Essential Rewards Program Freebies

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So if you caught my Homemade Bug Spray post last week, you know by now that I’m on the essential oils bandwagon. I’d wager a guess that if you’re reading this, you don’t live in a hole 🙂 and have been hearing buzz about the incredible healing + cleaning properties of of essential oils, or earth’s medicine, as I like to call them.

You may also have caught wind of the controversy among the different brands of oils that are available today, many of which are sold by MLM (multi-level marketing) companies, and their often-quite-passionate reps. I’m not going get into that in today’s post, but for now I have chosen to buy and sell Young Living’s products, largely because of their Seed-to-Seal promise.

I’m a sucker for rewards, and I’ve been enrolled (for free, by the way) in Young Living’s Essential Rewards program for a little over three months now. In a nutshell, I get points based on a percentage of my $50-minimum monthly order that I can redeem for free product. I recently placed my first “ER” order using the points I’ve been accumulating, and there was a box waiting on my doorstep when I got home from work today containing my freebies.

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I can’t wait to start using this essential oil-based foaming hand soap, since this officially marks the beginning of my switch from Bath & Body Works hand soaps to something cleaner and more natural. Its namesake ingredient, the Thieves essential oil blend, helps support a healthy immune system. It’s called Thieves because, as legend has it, a band of fifteenth-century French thieves discovered this particular combination of essential oils that enabled them to pillage the dead and dying and remain unscathed during the various plagues of the medieval age. When they were captured, they were offered less severe punishment in exchange for their secret to avoiding these otherwise then-deadly diseases. I’m all about sanitary and anti-germs, so this is my kind of product!

Caleb, my farrier husband, has a hard time getting the scents of his livelihood (horses, manure, steel, and burning hoof–which is akin to burning hair) out of his hands so I’m extra excited to see how this works for him. Much gentler and safer than that Fast Orange stuff!

Want to know more about Young Living + essential oil products? Click here for my info page.

The Time Management Plan | Market Day

IMG_7005Anyone remember my [quite idealistic] time management plan from one of my very first posts here at The Realization of Good? Here’s an update on how that’s working out for me so far: I’m LOVING it! 🙂 Sure, I don’t get all the things done every day (and I didn’t expect to, at first). But I am certainly making baby steps in the right direction and am getting closer and closer to my goal of being at the point where I actually am getting all those tasks completed each week.

Today was my market day! There’s a great farmer’s market grocery store near the retail job I work on Tuesdays, so I head there once I close the store. I don’t know why I didn’t form the habit of getting groceries on the same day each week long ago. It makes meal planning and kitchen organization so much easier!

My shopping list is about 75% produce these days. And that works out great, because hanging out in those lush, color-filled fruit and vegetable aisles is not an unpleasant experience whatsoever. I’m not one of those people who lives for summer (I love snow, and winter is full of so much cozy), but I do love all the wonderful earth-food that’s in season right now. More of those delicious + nutritious smoothies, coming right up! 🙂

The Real Reason Why I Believe in Making the Bed

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According to Psychology Today, in a Hunch.com survey of over 60,000 people, “71 percent of bed makers consider themselves happy; while 62 percent of non-bed-makers admit to being unhappy.”

There is a whole chorus of voices on the internet these days proclaiming the good in making your bed first thing, every morning. (Don’t know what I’m talking about? click here, here, and here for just a few examples.)

They say that people who make their beds every morning lead happier, more productive lives. The reasons are endless: making the bed daily is an exercise in good habit-forming, it keeps the bed cleaner and healthier, it can lead to better quality sleep, and it gives us a feeling of accomplishment.

I certainly can relate to and agree with U.S. Navy Admiral William H. McCraven’s statement that “if you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”

But the real reason I make bed-making a priority upon rising each morning is that a made bed creates a welcoming atmosphere, a haven of rest for my husband and me to come home to in the evening. Even after a crammed, hurried, stressful day, when the rest of our house is reminiscent of the aftermath of a hurricane, we have a visually appealing and restful place to retreat to at day’s end.

I can exhibit a good deal of OCD when it comes to keeping my home tidy, but there are days when exhaustion cries louder than perfectionism. When I’ve taken those 2-3 minutes in the morning, while fresh and energized, to prepare the bedroom for our return, I can close the door to the rest of the mess and relax in the simple, clean order of our little haven.

Do you make your bed every day? If so, it is merely out of habit, or do you have similar intention-filled motives for this menial task?

My Time Management Plan

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Is there anyone out there who doesn’t ever wish for more hours in their day? If I’m not racing the clock trying to get everything checked off my to-do list, I’m feeling guilty about my lack of motivation — and I don’t consider either feeling ideal.

My best friend is one of the most disciplined people on the planet; I think if I woke up one day with half of her self-motivation, I’d feel like Superwoman. She’s that girl who wakes up hours before I do, even on vacation, to go for a run or work out. Also, she works a full-time office job and stays on top of housework as much or more than I do (I’m currently working away three days a week). But what awes me the most is her knack for routine. Every time I get inside her clean, clean car I think, “why don’t have a ‘clean-the-car-out day?'” So this week I finally came up with a plan. (Thanks for the inspiration, Michelle.)

I started with a list of things that I do wish I did every week — the basics: vacuuming, laundry; then some extras: cleaning the car, washing windows. I added a few “fun” things, too — online shopping, sending mail to a friend. Then I whipped up a quick spreadsheet using the days of the week and my “working” hours, and started filling in the slots.

Most of the time allowances are pretty generous (it doesn’t take an entire hour to dust my whole house), and there were still empty slots after I’d worked through my entire list. I’m still trying to figure out how I can’t seem to get everything done in a week’s time if I had all those empty spaces before I made up some things to fill them in. Maybe I go away or sleep in or browse Facebook more than I thought? At any rate, I’m about to turn over a new leaf. This little beauty has “life-changing” written all over it.

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I work two part-time jobs, one on Mondays and Wednesdays, and the other on Tuesdays, so I have three days away, then four days at home. Once I wrap up my Monday/Wednesday job later this summer, I’ll do some reworking, but for now, I’m eager to give this a try. I’m a couple days in and so far it’s pretty great, but ask me how it’s going in a couple weeks.

Want to create your own chart? Click here to download my template!

The nitty-gritty, for the curious ones:

  • Weekend recovery on Mondays is for unpacking if we were out of town, or straightening the guest room if we had overnight guests, or moving furniture around if we were painting the living room (which hasn’t happened yet, but, you know…)
  • My husband, Caleb, is self-employed as a farrier, so that’s where the invoicing and scheduling comes in. I love being a part of his business world!
  • I do NOT love to shop, so I’m a huge fan of ordering everything that’s not food online. I figure that online shopping slot will come in handy for actually hitting the check out process on all the random shopping baskets I add items to throughout the week.
  • I got bit by the capsule wardrobe bug last fall (more on that in a future post), so I tend to think about/work on that as I do laundry. If you’ve been around me much lately, you’ve probably heard me rave about it, and I’m pretty excited about detailing some of that here.
  • I’m so excited about my “make something” Thursday afternoons! Some of my initial plans for that slot are laundry detergent, all-purpose cleaner, and wall art for our office. This’ll also be my time for canning and freezing local produce this summer.
  • Interior design…the label makes me sound so much more proficient than I am. I do love to decorate, though, and am learning all the time! I often end up moving things around as I dust, so those two projects will go together well.
  • Any other church bulletin makers out there? I enjoy this task and Saturday afternoon is when I need to be finishing that up.

I’d love to hear from you…do you designate certain days of the week for specific chores or projects? What have you found works well for you (or doesn’t)? What am I missing on my chart?