Breathe Essential Oil Blend

Photo Aug 12, 6 07 42 PM

*Please note, I do not sell essential oils, nor am I getting paid to talk about any particular brand. This is just me talking here.

 

Soooooo, shortly after I got married, I was embarrassed to find out that I snore. I think it’s a combination of gaining weight (most people do this when they get married, so I’ve heard) and contracting some sort of nasal condition involving one nostril being blocked almost all the time… but it moves back and forth, not always the same nostril. I know, I know, I need to see a doctor about this. And I have. And they’ve given be zero answers, so until I find a new doctor here in Florida and figure out if I can afford to see a specialist, I deal with it. One way I deal with it is by using doTerra’s Breathe blend. A friend who sells and uses doTerra had given me some little, tiny, adorable sample bottles, including Breathe, so when I randomly saw a blogger talk about putting a drop of Breathe on her snoring husband’s big toe (yes, I kid you not, a drop on his big toe) and it stopped the snoring, I had to try it. Oh, so weirdly, it works. But alas, those cute little sample bottles only last long enough to make us dependent before they run out! So I let it go, used a humidifier all winter, and occasionally used peppermint and eucalyptus to help clear my nasal passages before bed, but it’s not quite the right thing… I’m not stuffed up, not congested. Things inside are swollen. So the oils that clear things up my making your nose run… well, that’s not what this situation called for.

Then we made the move to Florida, and my stuffiness has gotten worse and even breathing throughout the day is more of a challenge.

One morning, my husband told me he hadn’t slept well because my snoring had been so bad all night. Well. That makes me feel so lovely, so feminine. Ha. That same day I went online and purchased the full sized bottle of Breathe, in spite of the fact that we are currently both unemployed, and money is precious. Sleep is also precious. And I haven’t heard any complaints about my snoring, so it’s gotta be working again!

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My Current Favorite Essential Oils

Photo Aug 12, 6 19 42 PM

 

Years ago I suffered a stupid injury; riding The Scrambler twice in a row (a carnival ride that, well, scrambles you…) sent me home feeling kooky, and I awoke the next day unbearable dizzy, nauseous, with this splitting headache and characteristic feeling of my scalp crackling… whip-lash. Whip-lash is one of those injuries that many people never actually recover from.  Over time is ‘heals’ enough that you think it’s all gone, until you do one dumb thing that in your previous life wouldn’t have made a difference, and now it aggravates those damaged muscles and tendons and a flare-up occurs. With me, it’s been 10 years and I still deal with flare ups frequently, depending on how we I’m treating myself.  It can be sore, tights muscles in my neck, or as bad as full blown migraines and the return of the scalp crackling and enough tears flowing to scare my husband.

Today, it all started because I spend too much time sitting on this bed. Did you know that sitting on a bed can bring on a migraine? Damaged neck muscles don’t like the slouchy, head tilting forward type of position it gives me. So, I had stiff aggravated pain up the left side of my neck, and the official sign of an oncoming migraine – sinus pressure and pain behind my left eye.

Thank the Lord, I packed my most used essential oils during the move down here (I really wanted to say “my essential essential oils”, but that just looks like a typo). Rosemary is my life saver when I feel a migraine coming on. I used to know more of the science of WHY rosemary particularly works for me, but I don’t remember. I just know it works. Combined with the Breathe blend from DoTerra* to help clear up my sinus pressure, they were my oils of choice, and what a blessing the relief is. It came slowly enough that I almost didn’t notice how much better I felt until my husband asked how my head was.

My head feels fine… pressure and pain gone!

 

*Don’t worry, I don’t sell essential oils, although I have a super awesome friend who does, in case you’re interested. I don’t even have brand loyalty. Note my bottle of DoTerra next to my (gasp) non-MLM NOW brand oil! My secret is that I’ve done enough reading and research about as many companies as I could to be very comfortable with using NOW or DoTerra (other brands as well) in the ways that I do, and I’m happy and getting good results. I’m not saying all brands are equal, I’m just saying be smart and educate yourself.

 

The Great Northern Transplant

 

You know that thing where you and your spouse have good jobs, you’re settling into life and looking around to buy a house, love your church family and want to get more involved, and are starting to think you just might have life figured out… then you quit your jobs, drop everything and within a month you’ve moved 1,400 miles away to what feels like a different planet, and you’re 30 years old, unemployed and living in a bedroom at your in-laws’ house?

Yeah… I definitely didn’t see that coming.

Brian and I were literally in the process of asking banks about loans and mortgages and scouting out houses in a community that would place us much closer to our church family. Then one night as we were getting ready for bed, he got the phone call. His dad had had a stroke, a pretty bad one. The next day, we were on an airplane to Orlando, Florida. Ten days later, we came home and I started packing or selling or donating everything we had. People thought we were crazy, people understood. He’s an only child, his parents need help. It’s us.

I didn’t want to do this, but I knew we must. My first impression on Florida was not good. In July, it’s so hot and humid and everything is fried to death. We were also driving on I-4 every day, which is horrendous, and I couldn’t find any southern charm or tropical lushness  anywhere. While talking to a friend, she encouraged me to look around a find the good parts.

“Well… the birds are kind of cool.”

I do like the cranes that you see along the roads everywhere.

But there are too many people and everything spread so that it takes forever to get anywhere. Jobs pay way less and car insurance is about to triple. (We see multiple car accidents every time we go anywhere.) Buying a house? That’s not even on the horizon any more. And the time of year that I’m used to having abundant fresh food and good weather, down here you just stay in your house and don’t even think of gardening.

Complain, complain… I could go on for a few more paragraphs, easily, but I won’t. Because none of this has to do with why we did what we did. I easily see why people think we’re crazy and making a huge mistake. Several people told me that we’d end up back where we were someday. And while I don’t know what the future holds, I’m certainly not betting on that.

I’m actually more than fine with this change in life. Knowing it’s the right thing to do helps a lot, but also learning to trust the Lord and trust my husband are huge parts of this. It’s no longer Brian and I living in my world. It’s Brian and I living in a world we never thought of, together, figuring out life as a team. He’s been so reassuring, confident that we’ll find the jobs we need and make a home that we love. Just today he found an open position that would eventually put us in a very comfortable place, and he’s very qualified for it. (Prayers that his application is noticed would be appreciated!) There’s a position for a floral designer at a higher-end shop in Orlando that I intend to apply at. We no longer drive on I-4, and have seen beauty in the less traveled roads. And the first church we attended on Sunday was promising.

So… there’s certainly beauty in central Florida, even if it is an acquired taste. I’m hoping to share some of it as I find it.

I thought flu season was over…

I made it through the whole winter without getting sick. Then the minute spring pops its head around the corner, my throat felt a bit sore… then a cough… achy joints… and loss of will to live came tumbling down on me yesterday. Laying in bed moaning and being sad over loss of vacation time for THIS was the order of the day. Shockingly, it wasn’t until today that I remembered that I am, at heart, a hippie. A hippie with dozens of essential oils and natural concoctions to battle flu and cold.

So today, the groggy indifference having worn off a touch, I have my diffuser running next to the bed with frankincense, peppermint, clove and eucalyptus in strong doses. It smells AMAZING. Along with it, I’ve made a quart of something weird to drink. It’s kind of a combination of fire water and a Singing Canary, if you happen to be familiar with THM terminology. We shall see how these things improve me.

Downsizing and Decluttering

A while ago, I met a guy, fell in love and got married. We moved into our first home, and my desire to keep it beautiful was in overdrive.

Believe it or not, as a single woman living in her parent’s home, I owned more stuff than would fit in a two bedroom apartment. Still do, actually, but it’s getting better. When we got engaged, it looked like we’d be moving to a different state and probably to a one bedroom or studio apartment. I looked around me at my collection of 2,000 books, shelves of art supplies, dresser, closet, and six totes full of seasonal/various size clothing and heaps of boxes of my ‘”hope-chest” that had been stashed in the garage attic since I was 16. I knew it wasn’t okay. If I was moving next door into a big ol’ farmhouse and could stay home and be a housewife… mayyyyyyybe it would have been okay. And you know what? The irony is that I hate clutter. I love open spaces and clean surfaces. I was constantly cleaning and weeding out stuff I didn’t want, re-organizing so all of my stuff was more efficient, and always frustrated.

                                                                    Moving in

I set to work right away. I had to downsize, and knew that being sentimental about stuff was not going to work for me. I donated bags and bags of clothes that didn’t fit, boxes of books went to the library sale, years of gardening magazines went (sadly) to be recycled. I had a lawn sale, and the twenty remaining boxes of stuff (I kid you not) were donated to a local share shop.

A HUGE thing that really helped was the actual act of packing and moving. I’d lived in the same house my whole life, and my material life piled up around me, as it does after nearly 30 years in one spot. I pictured unpacking in my new home… would I be happy to see this item? Would it be worth the space it would take up in a small apartment, when I already knew that clutter frustrates me? Do I NEED it? The idea that we should ask ourselves if an item is either useful or beautiful stuck in my head years ago, but I had to change that around for my own situation. Some things I had were very useful… but would have no place to go, and would be more useful for someone else. Some items were beautiful… but a huge collection of beautiful things is called clutter.

BOOKS, for goodness sake, were the hardest thing to figure out what to do with! I love my books, and there are some I’ll hang onto forever, but possessing thousands things that sit on a shelf collecting dust 360 days out of the year, and keeping me from having a place to put what I actually NEED to have, well… that doesn’t make sense when there’s a public library right down the road. I could walk there in 5 minutes. I didn’t want to just throw them in the trash, and recycling them is a huge laborious task. Selling them online was tempting, but in my experience, they sit around for months and years waiting to sell, which is just… clutter.Finally, one local library welcomed about 200 of them. I have two book cases in my apartment now, but the rest… they are still boxed up at my parents’ house. I even asked social media for suggestions on what to do with so many books, but I got very few suggestions… most people felt it was more helpful to tell me that books are friends, and I shouldn’t get rid of them. Thaaaaanks for that.

                                                     Nice and tidy… never lasts.

Moving in, I brought with me just the stuff I wanted. I knew the remnants of things left at my parents’ would be a challenge. A lot of the things that got left behind I really did want… we just didn’t have the space. Lately, every time we visit my parents, more and more of that stuff ends up in a box or bag thrust into my hands to take with me, haha! I can’t really blame them. Now it’s time to make more decisions. Clutter is piling up in my spare rooms/office. At first it was my favorite room in the apartment. It’s just so pretty and the lighting in there is perfect. But yeah, it’s now the “What do I so with this thing?” room. Also the “We don’t have a shed or garage so let’s store motor oil and air conditioners in here.’ room.

But just so you know, it’s not all dismal despair… I’m not just another first world problem child. (Or am I?) I have found that with the help of videos by ClutterBug on Youtube (I found the 30 day decluttering series to be life changing. And yes I did binge watch them all in two days.) and listening to A Slob Comes Clean podcasts, there is still hope for me. A few more emotional attachments to overcome, yes. But I’ll get there. I’ll never be a minimalist, and I don’t think you have to be in order to be happy. But clutter is like a material manifestation of brain fog to me, and that’s something to battle against!

I’m a would-be home maker.

Since getting married, I’ve LOVED having my own home. I love cleaning it and organizing. And being half hippie, I like doing that without chemicals cleaners. I signed on with Norwex two years ago, and proved to everyone that I don’t make a good salesman. My consultant status has been hanging by a thread for the past year because I can’t get myself to chase people down and beg them to have a party. But I do love using my Norwex products at home! Behold! A small, terrible video of how I very lazily clean toothpaste-spattered mirrors with nothing but a Norwex window cloth. Streak free. It still thrills me after two years!

Allow me to reintroduce myself.

Hello again. Nice to see you. It has indeed been nearly three years since I’ve blogged about anything. Catching you up on everything that’s happened in three years is not really a great idea for one post, so I’ll just briefly (hahahaha, we can only hope) introduce who I am right now.

My last initial changed from an M to an N a year ago.

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I live with my sweetie in a two bedroom, second floor apartment, with lots of windows for glorious sunlight (Hubby seems exasperated with the number of house plants, but he still bought me another one for Valentine’s day!). We have no laundry room, so Sunday nights are laundry night at my parent’s house. And for company, we have a sweet little grey kitty named Kitty, who loves attention on her own terms and is more crazy than not.

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I’m no longer a greenhouse girl/ florist, since paying rent etc. kind of forces one to look for full time work. For now I’m a front-end worker in a deli at a natural foods store, meaning I make sandwiches and smoothies for college students and rich people, package in-house made foods for the sales floor and receive/stock items from a dozen or so local bakeries… plus a bunch of other stuff. I like that it’s busy work, decent pay and benefits, even though it’s not exactly my dream job. The best part though, is that it’s the same store where hubby works! We get to see each other every day, even if we don’t always have the same shift.

I’m hoping to come back to blogging every so often mostly as a creative outlet. This whole sleep-eat-work-repeat thing can get to me, and manifest in frustration which… isn’t a pretty sight. So… here I am. Thank you for reading.

 

Drink Weird Things.

About two weeks ago I got myself some kefir grains, after being intimidated by the idea of ‘rotten milk drink’ for the past couple of years. I’d never tried kefir before, never had any fancy flavored store-bought kefir, just dove right in to the craziness of ‘home brew’ as my dad calls it. And let me tell you, so far I’m much happier with it than the sad results of trying to make kombucha a year and a half ago. It never ever got fizzy no matter how many tricks I tried, and un-fizzy kombucha just seemed wrong to me. I ended up dumping it and watching my scoby die a long drawn-out death. Kefir on the other hand, I can handle. Every night after dinner I simply strain it into a jar and set it out for an over-night second ferment which I pop in the fridge in the morning, and pour fresh raw milk over the grains for the next batch… so I basically have two jars going at the same time to keep myself and my family supplied. Right now I just use kefir in green/fruit smoothies which are DELICIOUS, and I honestly like it better than I ever liked yogurt in smothies. Someday I’ll be brave and try kefir straight, but for now I’m happy with what I’m doing.

 

THEN, we had a couple of really hot days, and while I was at work my kefir over-fermented and separated into basically a floating island of what looks like ricotta cheese, and perfectly pure whey.

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Another hot day, the separation begins. I have yet to find an area in our house with even temperatures.

 

I have the book ‘Cultured Food For Life‘ and I knew there were recipes for home-made sodas started with whey, and there are some great-looking recipes, but I didn’t have the right ingredients for any of them just now. (It’s still a great book, and she’s also got pretty much all of the information on her website, go look!) Then I remembered seeing ‘Lacto-Fermented lemonade’ on The Healthy Home Economist’s facebook – and when I first saw it, it sounded bizarre and actually slightly gross, as I associate lacto with milk, and milk and lemon anything means curdled lumpy mess. But here I was with a bunch of lemons and limes and a jar of whey, so what was I to do? So I did.

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And the results? YUM. So much yum. There’s nutmeg in there, I never would have thought to add nutmeg with lemon/lime, but it’s seriously delicious. Tangy. Zippy. I added just a couple of drops of stevia to replace the sugar that was eaten up in the fermentation process. I almost can’t wait for another scorching hot day just to see how refreshing this fermented lemonade will be then.