essential oils, self-care

Essential Oils for Relaxation

IMG_4804One of my favorite things about oils is how well they help me relax & de-stress. I tend to get wound up about all kinds of things, so I am constantly grabbing a bottle of oil to combat those feelings. Here’s some of my favorites…


Lavender

Add this oil to your bath, & you will feel so calm. Seriously. Try it.
It’s also great to rub on the back of your neck, or on your wrist then inhale deeply.

Wild OrangeIMG_4803

Lately, I’ve been diffusing this at night to help me relax & sleep well. I also inhale it throughout the day to promote feelings of relaxation & to de-stress/unwind.

Peppermint

So,typically, this oil isn’t really used for relaxing, but since it can help alleviate upset stomach, occasional headaches, and open up airways, it helps me feel relaxed because of those benefits. My all-time favorite two oils to blend together are Wild Orange & Peppermint because they are so calming & invigorating at the same time.

Happy Oiling!


If you want more information about the type of oils I use, contact me, and I will send to you!

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baby hansen, simplicity

Welcome to Your New Home

When Jeremy and I got the news of our little one on the way, we instantly knew that our 400 sq ft apartment was not going to do the trick. So we began to look for something a little more spacious with an extra bedroom for baby. We landed on renting a duplex near Jeremy’s work, and we are loving it.

It’s our goal to live simply here in this larger space, to have an organized, de-cluttered home where we can have people over, cook great food, and raise a baby

Here’s some pictures…

 

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growth, health, minimalism, self-care, simplicity

Simplicity & Technology

I had somewhat of a New Years resolution to implement a cell-phone charging station in our home.  I wanted this for organization purposes – I love it when everything has a home and a place! But what happened was unexpected. I made a rule for myself that this is where my phone would go – if it needed to charge, if I were asleep, or if I didn’t need it that moment. 

What happened was that for the first time in a really long time, I was able to actually release and detach myself from my phone for a bit. At night, I would normally browse through Facebook or Pinterest until I fell asleep, which was usually for about 45 minutes, but sometimes more like an hour and a half! It never helped me fall asleep quickly to wind down like that. Now, if I want to do either of those things, I don’t go to bed yet because once I put my phone down, I’m done with it. I have a nice rain app I put on to tell my brain it’s time to wind down, and I read a book until I fall asleep. 

Guess what? I’m sleeping WAY better, falling asleep faster, and I’m reading a ton. I bet in the last few years I’ve read less than 10 books total,  but since I started doing this, these are alll the awesome books I’ve finished:

1. Thrive by Arianna Huffington

2. Excuse Me, but I Was Next by Peggy Post

3. My Bipolar Family by David Lovelace

4. Home Sweet Anywhere by Lynne Martin

5. The Unlikely Lavender Queen by Jeannie Ralston

6. Wild by Cheryl Strayed

All of the books have been SO interesting  & have been really happy with just this simple change in my daily life. 

Cheers.

-Amber 

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growth, minimalism, simplicity

Living the Simple Life: an Update on Life with Fewer Possesions

Last August when Jeremy and I found an awesome apartment in the SOCO area in Austin, we wanted to live there so badly, and downsize, that we were willing to move into, gulp, 250 sq ft. We went through a huge purge of our possessions, and this is what life has been like ever since…

  1. Light – stuff can make you feel heavy. Fewer possessions = a lightness that is unlike anything else
  2. Less attached to “stuff” – since we’ve moved, I have gotten rid of, on average, 1 bag of items a week. I’ve continued to simplify, downsize. I am letting go of things and not looking back. Several family members have moved or are about to move and have offered us various things. If we didn’t need it, we said no (which we’ve found, we need VERY little beyond what we already have).
  3. More space for what really matters – since our space is tiny, the things we have in it are the ones most important to us. This has made us “get out” of our space more – spending a lot more time outside than we did when we lived in 700+ sq ft. And spending more time outside has greatly enriched our lives.
  4. New definition of “Need” – our perspective has totally shifted. We find ourselves buying less, wanting less, and having more will-power to say no. The impatient, must-have-it-now feeling is more rare, and for that, we are glad!
  5. Gratitude – the things we do have, we’re thankful for. We can’t help feeling that we still have so much – definitely beyond what we need.

What I didn’t expect was that after we sold/gave away 3/4’s of our stuff was that we would have to keep giving away MORE. How does it accumulate so quickly, anyway? We didn’t expect the daily need to eliminate items that were cluttering our life. I will say that living in this tiny space has been frustrating at times – I don’t have an empty shelf to just throw things on. Some days I’m too tired for it – I want to have unlimited cabinets and closet space for everything, but I remember the above list, and I decide that I don’t truly want unlimited space.  I want to live simply. I want to have space for the important things in life. I want to be grateful for what I do have. 

 I hope that if you’re feeling the urge to get rid of stuff, do a little “spring-cleaning”, etc… that you will go for it! The process can be fun if you let it (especially if you have someone helping you!), and it’s totally worth it! 

 Cheers to simplicity.

 

  

  

  

  

  

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clean gut, self-care

The Clean Gut Diet – My Experience

Well, if you follow me at all, you’ve seen far too many pictures of smoothies over the last month or so. Many people are asking me how the cleanse turned out for me, if it was worth it, etc, so I thought I would share.

Overall, I’m really happy I did it, have felt some significant changes, and feel empowered over certain food habits that seemed unbreakable. If I had to rate it on a scale of difficulty from 1-10, I would probably give it a 9. I’ve done elimination diets in the past, and this was much harder for multiple reasons.

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Let’s start out with all the awesome stuff…

I did Clean Gut because I was looking for a solution to some chronic problems. Having been diagnosed with IBS when I was in high school, and only experiencing that worsen, coupled with frequent headaches, constantly having an upset stomach/nausea, I knew that things were not right in my gut and that I needed an intensive overhaul to correct them.

Having completed the cleanse & the extra week to identify triggers, I have figured out that gluten is a big trigger for me. I very quickly get a bad headache – which I didn’t have at all on the cleanse – and I feel bloated & very moody. When I don’t eat it, I feel great. So I’m glad to finally know which things I need to eliminate! (I know you’re probably reading this and thinking that gluten-sensitivity is a fad, and I have even thought that in the past, but there is validity to how difficult it is for our digestive systems, especially for those who already have problems).

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My stomach is rarely upset. Even though I’m eating “normal” foods and not just what I had on the diet, my stomach seems stronger, able to handle them more easily. The only time I’ve really felt sick is when I’ve eaten about 3x as much as I should have. (Or I have gluten, of course.) Previous to the cleanse, I was taking digestive enzymes with each meal because every time I ate a full meal, I didn’t feel good.

I lost almost 10 pounds in 3 weeks. I have found that whenever I cut out carbs & desserts, I drop weight very quickly. I had been struggling with my weight ever since we moved and I got a job where they fed me 2-3x a day, so this was a very welcomed change.

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Sugary fruits like bananas are too sweet for me now. I used to have 4-5 bananas a week, and now, I can’t even eat half of one! When I did Whole 30, I heavily relied on sugary fruits and vegetables like bananas & sweet potatoes. Now I can survive without them. Stevia still tastes great to me, and I’m looking forward to continuing to eat a low-sugar diet.

The things I want and crave are totally different now, and I feel I have a new understanding of what my digestive system really needs to thrive. Since the diet, Jeremy and I have added Kefir to our daily diets, and continue to take additional probiotics and eat a lot of vegetables (which wasn’t happening before).

Why it was SO, SO HARD….

For the first 9-10 days out of 21, I felt extremely sick. If you’ve ever experienced an intense detox, you know what I’m talking about. I was just about ready to quit because the extreme fatigue made it difficult for me to function, especially at work. I was moody & short with people, more easily annoyed, and just all-around miserable. I would recommend that anyone who does this diet be able to take some days off, if needed. Your body needs tons of rest.

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Most diets ask you to cut some things out. The difficult part about this one, though, was that I not only couldn’t eat what my co-workers were eating, but I didn’t even get to eat a meal in the evenings, just drink a smoothie. Smoothies are great, but they aren’t meals. I found that especially challenging for the first 1-2 weeks. I much preferred Whole 30 where I could come home and make a huge, nourishing meal! (I do believe, though, that Whole 30 didn’t heal my gut at all the way this cleanse did).

Food choices – the choices were pretty limited, especially for what to put in a smoothie. I got pretty bored of having the same smoothie 40+ times in 3 weeks.

I spent a TON of time cooking. Every evening after work, I would cook lunch for the next day. So it went, get home after 7pm, cook, go to bed, repeat. I woke up earlier to make smoothies in the morning. It was a huge time investment and definitely something I couldn’t have continued long-term.

We couldn’t go out to eat really at all during it. That’s pretty hard for someone as social as me – I kept having to decline & re-schedule plans. Of course, afterwards, we made it up for it with visits to Stanley’s and Trattoria Lisina. 🙂

It is pretty cool to know that we can heal our bodies of chronic ailments if we give them what they need. I would recommend Clean Gut to anyone dealing with a chronic problem & heartily recommend the book, which I really enjoyed as it goes into a lot of scientific explanations and was written and developed by a doctor.

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Here’s to taking care of ourselves!

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holidays, simplicity

Simplicity & Christmas

If you know me at all, you know that I LOVE Christmas. I’ve been a Christmas freak for as long as I can remember. I used to start celebrating, listening to the tunes, in October just to extend the season a bit.

Something has shifted in me, though, over the last year. I don’t love Christmas any less, but I think my love-relationship with it has gotten a bit healthier.

Last Christmas Jeremy and I decided not to buy each other gifts. Instead we created a memory together by going out to a nice dinner and to the Dallas Symphony. It.was.awesome. That lit a spark inside of me. I realized that Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. (Grinch quotes are required in any Christmas blog post, in my book.)

A second important thing that happened last Christmas was that I did most of my shopping on Amazon to avoid the craziness and stress of the malls. At least 5 of my gifts didn’t come in time for Christmas due to crazy weather in the northern states in December last year. We had to go out and buy replacement gifts days before Christmas and stressful doesn’t really begin to capture what that was like…

This year I wanted it to be different. I wanted to cut down on the stress of the holidays because I believe it’s a beautiful time of the year (my absolute favorite time of the year, actually), and somehow for me it had become nothing to do with peace & joy.

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So, we talked about it & decided not to do gifts this year unless homemade. We opted out of gift exchanges, cut down on a few holiday commitments, and are making an effort to be present this holiday season.

And guess what? I’m enjoying it more than I’ve enjoyed the Christmas season in a long time. I’m not worrying what to pick out for so-and-so, running around shopping, spending too much money. When I took the weight off of gifts, I was able to step back and see how much more there is to Christmas. It feels STRESS-FREE!

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I’m focusing on being more intentional with my friends and family, looking for those around me with needs I can meet, listening to tons of Christmas music, thinking of my precious Savior’s entrance into this world, and thanking God for this time of year.

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What have you found helpful to cut down on the stress of the holidays?

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essential oils, growth

Second Cruise, Baby! // Essential Oils for Sea Sickness and Nausea

In 2010,  I went on a cruise with Jeremy’s family, where I had such a hard time with anxiety, sea sickness, and claustrophobia, that I vowed to never, ever go on a cruise again. I wanted to share my experience the second time for anyone out there who deals with sea sickness or anxiety (ask me how come I decided to go on a cruise again – that’s a whole ‘nother blog post involving faith, and bikram yoga, among others.) 

The cruise the second time was so much fun – I really enjoyed myself! But I know I wouldn’t have been able to do it without help from these oils.



On my first cruise, I experienced nausea & vomiting, even though I had patches on. Additionally, I really disliked some not-so-fun side-effects from the patches – like blurred vision. I still threw up 3x on my first cruise with this medicine plus others. I knew that the second time around I was going to have to find something else. 

The following recommendations are based on my personal experience and ideal for someone who is looking for a safe, side-effect free, natural remedy for sea-sickness and anxiety.

Here are the Essential Oils I Used While Cruising:


Ginger – the chemical constituents in this oil can help disrupt the message our cell receptors send to our body, telling it to “throw up.” {See this cool study here on how Ginger has been used for post-operative nausea.} I put it in a roller ball with fractionated coconut oil (has to be diluted, so this makes for easy application), carried it with me, and applied each time I felt symptoms (sometimes every 15 minutes, others every few hours). By the 3rd day, I rarely needed to apply (my body just kind of adjusted to my surroundings).

Peppermint Beads – these fancy little guys are just like a mint – a tiny bead that contains peppermint oil. I used these in tandem with the Ginger oil. They can help soothe and calm and relieve nausea, plus they are so easy to pop in my mouth – I love the convenience.


Grounding Blend – small spaces, new noises, rocking, tons of people, new environment, disaster drills – just a few things that caused my anxiety on the cruise. I used balance oil – it’s so calming to me – the smell almost instantly calms my whole body and especially my mind. I kept this one with me in a roller ball as well for easy application.


Additional oils I used as needed:

Lavender Oil–  to help me calm down; it can help with ‘fight or flight’ feelings.
Coriander Oil– for when I felt dizzy.
Digestive Blend Oil – for my upset stomach from some of the “cruise food” (not the real food diet my body is used to…)
Peppermint Oil – helps me with headaches
Headache Blend – helps me find relief from headaches from dizziness, tension, or eye stuff.

I applied many of these oils directly next to my ear because the cause of my sea sickness is an inner ear problem. Several people in our group never felt the boat move at all – must be nice!

Highly recommend the slide. 

Happy to report – I did not even get close to throwing up on my second cruise. Whenever I felt the urge coming on, it went away so quickly after using the ginger oil.

On my first cruise, I experienced little relief from anxiety and had several panic attacks due to claustrophobic feelings. This time around, oils helped me calm myself and overcome in the moments that I felt those feelings again on the second cruise.








I’m so passionate about Essential Oils because of the many benefits I have experienced in my life. If you want to learn more about essential oils or try a sample, let me know by commenting below, or contact me!

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