Friday, September 26, 2014

I'M BAAAAAAACK!!!!!


Did you guys miss me or WHAT?!  Umm…no joke, I literally had to stop and think for a second when I turned on my computer this afternoon, because for the life of me I couldn’t remember the name of the program I have used to write out my posts for the last several YEARS.  

Oh yeah…Live Writer….. 

Haha! It has been waaaay too long!! (Ironically, I'm currently locked out of Live Writer and am using good ol' Blogger to write this!)


So….what have I been up to during my summer hiatus?!  




We had a great summer checking almost everything off our family bucket list (leaving 2 things empty by accident, which may or may not have seriously stressed out my eldest child who likes everything to be perfect and finished –lol!).


     


We went to the zoo, had beach afternoons, went to Pennsylvania to see Chris’s family, celebrated Luke turning FIVE (!!!) two times – once in CT and once in PA, and hosted friends and family here at our house for weekend visits.  










And you KNOW I decorated my house for the season, naturally… ;)






Because I just can’t help myself.  I MUST decorate seasonally. Ha!!







My “summer” Pryex – don’t worry,  there’s way more where this came from! Haha!!








May was a big month for me personally, since I both started as a consultant for Thirty-One (best “job” EVER!!) and also started the Trim Healthy Mama diet/eating plan.  Thanks to THM I’ve lost between 10-11 pounds depending on the day, and countless inches (I need to take new measurements sometime soon!)


Now we’ve entered a new phase of life with Luke as a Kindergartener.  It’s weird and different and wonderful all at the same time.  I miss him very much during the day, but we’re in week 5 of school now and thankfully that’s getting easier – or at least, I’m getting used to it.   



Chris and I jokingly titled this photo, “How everyone in our family *really* feels about Luke starting school!” :) 




I spend my days with this little cutie going to library story-time, shopping and errands, women’s Bible study, and housecleaning. 




In the afternoons and evenings I’m busy working on Thirty-One, taking care of my home and family, helping Luke with homework, and….

running.



Yes people, I run now!  It was one of my self-discipline goals earlier in the year and last time I went out I ran a mile and a half – my longest time ever!! I currently run a mile in about 11:30 so I have a loooong way to go but it has been good for me.  Considering that in the beginning of August I could barely run the length of three houses without wanting to die, this is huge progress for me! I still hate prettttty much every second of it (I have zero athletic ability and hate all sports), but it’s rewarding to both see my core tightening up – thank you, 2 c-sections – and to have that feeling of self-discipline every time I get out there and run a little farther.

Fall is here in CT and we are loving it!  Last week my in-laws came down for the weekend and we went apple-picking and celebrated Chris’s birthday (décor by Luke – lol!).  I could not for the life of me get them to both look at me  – but these two cuties loved their wagon ride from Daddy around the rows of apple trees!








 Well, I think that brings you up to speed!  My plan is to be back on a regular blogging schedule now that the fall is upon us!  I have lots of post ideas swirling around in my head that have been waiting for months to be typed out! Stay tuned! ;)



Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Reason for My Blog Hiatus: Fun News! :)

Nope, I’m definitely not pregnant, and we’re not adopting…yet.  ;)

BUT I did just become an Independent Consultant for Thirty-One! YAY! 

I’ve literally been contemplating this and praying about this since February.  I’m pretty sure I’ve watched every single YouTube video about Thirty-One you could possibly watch, listened in on a new recruits call, spent hours reading posts on the Thirty-One Facebook and Pinterest pages…yeah you get the idea.  This girl is a liiiiittle obsessed! 

{Oh, and in case you’ve never heard of Thirty-One before, we sell totes, purses, thermals, bags, home organizers, etc….all in adorable prints and nearly all able to be MONOGRAMMED!  Be still my heart!!}

 

I got my first Thirty-One product at a home party in 2011 (the Organizing Utility Tote, to use as a diaper bag!) and have loved their products ever since.  Over the years I acquired a few more things, but since I didn’t personally know a consultant, my collection stayed small. 

In February, through a long series of events, I ended up getting a new {monogrammed!!!!} diaper bag to use for Olivia and fell in love with Thirty-One all over again.  I thought about it day and night and it got to the point where I couldn’t fathom NOT selling it.  I didn’t want it to just be something I owned…I loved the products and the company so much I wanted to be a bigger part of it. 

So I joined!!!!  On May 2nd, to be exact.  My enrollment kit arrived last week, and it is BEEEE-YOUTIFUL.  I am in love.  I’ve already had 2 orders, but my first “live” party is this weekend at my house.  CAN’T WAIT! 

I am *super* proud to represent a company that makes beautiful, functional, high-quality and durable products…that was also founded by a woman who shares my faith {Thirty-One comes from Proverbs 31, the chapter about the virtuous and hard-working woman}. 

 

My journey just started and I can’t wait to see where it takes me!  I keep praying so, so hard that God will let this business succeed (even if it’s small).  I just want to be a huge blessing to Chris and help contribute to our family financially!

Anyway, if you are interested in ordering anything, I’d love for you to take a look at my website!  We are currently running a crazy awesome sale on these items/prints {sadly both Fun Flops items you see below are sold out but the others are all still available}:



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This month, the customer special is Spend $31, get any of the three thermal options below {come in multiple prints!} for 50% off!  And the awesome news is, you can use the clearance prices above ^ toward your $31 total to qualify for the monthly special!  YAY!  You can order a $20 item and a $10 item from above, throw in a $2 nail file you can find on the site, and you can qualify for ordering a special.  How fun is that?! 

 



Think about teacher gifts, graduation gifts, wedding presents {monogrammable, people!!}, and more.  We have something for nearly everyone. ;)

Anyway, if you’d like to order, shoot me an e-mail at blessedlifeblog{at}gmail{dot}com and I’ll be MORE than happy to send you my website info, how to order, etc. 

Anyone else out there in love with Thirty-One?!  What’s your favorite product?  Anyone out there never even heard of this company before?  I’d love to know that too!  lol!

 

{And soooo sorry to anyone out there who is awaiting my last Essential Oils post!  I’m so sorry…l didn’t mean to break my word about it being my next post on the blog.  Real life got in the way but it really is coming and I haven’t forgotten!!}

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Thrifting It Up

You guys have heard me mention 9,564,842 million times once or twice how much I love thrifting.  It is just SO fun for me.  A hobby born out of necessity…although I did grow up yard saling with my mom so maybe it’s genetic too. ;)
Anyway, I’ve recently had some awesome scores and I wanted to share them all!  Because half the fun of getting great deals is sharing them, right?!
We traveled to PA this weekend for a family visit and Lindsay and I hit up a local church’s bag sale.  This church does a sale twice a year and basically it is THE MOTHER OF ALL GOOD DEALS.  They only charge a dollar – yes, ONE DOLLAR for anything you can shove in a paper grocery bag.  It is insane.  So people….may I present to you all that I found there for only TWO DOLLARS.  Prepare yourselves.  Hahaha ;)
First, these Madden Girl peep-toe flats!!! And they fit!!!! I mean really!

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2 shirts and a scarf from Gap and an American Eagle hooded shirt {I only got one pair of shoes - they just made it in the photos twice.  lol}
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Pj pants from Target and Eddie Bauer, sleep shirts from Old Navy and Gap, a pink Penn State shirt and THE SOFTEST vintage sweatshirt ever.  I will be living in this thing come November. ;)
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For Liv some Old Navy pjs and assorted clothes from OshKosh, Cherokee, and Children’s Place.  An adorable fall shirt for Luke. And a vintage homemade elephant pillow case I seriously just could NOT pass up!
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Wait, I’m not done!!!! ;) 
S&P shakers, milk-glass mug, vintage Tupperware bowls {great for painting days for Luke!}, a Glasbake divided dish {matches a pattern I already have}, and a super awesome vintage coral ice cream scoop that works awesome for muffin batter {yup, I used it this morning!}
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I also got a working fan, a cute little “lunchbox” for Livi to play with {she already loves walking around the house with it}, a big roll of butcher paper and a Nordic Ware cookie sheet {needs a good scrubbing but it is hefty!}
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So seriously…..TWO DOLLARS, you guys!  Isn’t that insane?!  See why it’s basically my favorite church sale everrrrr?!

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Nothing can ever top that sale, really, but in the last month I’ve also had some other good finds:

This sweet little dress with bloomers was $3 at Goodwill and the metal caddy was either 49 cents or 99 cents {can’t remember}.  I filled it with grass as you already saw from my Easter post. 
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I also go to a bi-annual huge kids’ consignment sale with my friend Amber and a few weeks ago I scored all of these pieces for $114 for the kids.  That’s 37 items….some still with tags on! Happy dance! :) The Saturday before we went we did a yard sale and I was able to make $214…so it was all more than paid for! :)

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I also have been loving the clearance deals at Target lately: new lampshades for my bedroom re-do were only $5.98 each {aren’t they gorgeous?!}
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And assorted gift supplies and a glass water bottle for me were only $5.62 for everything below!
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Oh and lastly this isn’t a sale price but it’s better than most sales: these big grosgrain bows were on a huge end-cap at my local Wal-Mart in the baby aisle for ONE DOLLAR!  Stock up mommas! :)

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I’m so grateful to have found all these good deals to help my family out!  I could never ever afford 90% of this stuff full-price but we are able to enjoy it all greatly reduced.  Thank goodness I like thrifting as a hobby, right?!  ;)



Linking up my fun finds with the Thrifty Treasures party over at Southern Hospitality

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Signs of Spring {Easter Decor 2014}

As I’m typing this on Sunday night we’ve just the most glorious spring day here in Connecticut!  I literally had shorts and a t-shirt on and Luke and I drew chalk pictures and played hopscotch outside while Chris worked on our car {Livi was sleeping inside}.  It was soooooo amazing and good for the soul to finally be out enjoying the weather and the sunshine! {Sadly I’m actually finishing this on Wednesday afternoon but it’s been gorgeous again so YAY!}

I’m still working on Part 3 for my Essential Oils series {see Part One and Part Two if you’re interested}, but for today I thought I’d change it up a little and show you my house for the Spring/Easter season.  If you’re new here, pretty much everything I own is thrifted or homemade. :) One thing you’ll see over and over in this post is faux “grass” from Target as filler – I use it everywhere! I always, always shop Target’s holiday clearance section and I picked some bags of this stuff up years ago for like 20 cents – or maybe even less.  I love it!

 

So here’s a peek inside!

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My Target banner from two years ago that I’m still in love with!

 

 

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Bucket, Target…birdie, church rummage sale…faux plant, yard sale

 

 

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Bowl and bunny, Goodwill…Easter ornaments, church rummage sale {Luke loved helping me decorate these branches!}

 

 

 

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Bunny, Goodwill…nest, yard sale

 

 

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Wreath, homemade {pin made my very talented friend Kathy and ribbon from Hobby Lobby}

 

 

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Wire chicken, Cracker Barrel…green bowl, Goodwill Outlet…Van Gogh print Salvation Army…eggs I honestly can’t remember now!…clearanced ribbon from Michaels for the “egg” garland

 

 

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{Little egg designed by Luke last year in 3-year-old preschool.}

 

 

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Bunny print, homemade…grass, Target…little caddy, Goodwill

 

 

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Bucket and grass, Target

 

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{This soap was free with a B&BW coupon and it smells SO GOOD! I haven’t had store-bought soap in forever and coconut is my FAVE! Yum!}

 


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Homemade wreath {boxwood from Hobby Lobby around a JoAnn’s grapevine wreath}

I realized after uploading these photos that I missed two spots in the house...but hopefully you get the idea. Haha!

Thanks for popping in! ;)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Essential Oils 101: For the True Beginner {Part Two}

Welcome Back to Part Two of How to Use Essential Oils! 

 

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Hopefully, after reading Part One, you:

- learned some key words to look for when purchasing your oils
- decided where to purchase your oils {direct sales, health food stores, or online like I do}
- decided what medical issues you’d like to tackle with them 

Now it’s time for {what I think is} the real nitty-gritty: HOW TO USE THEM.  Because if any of you are like me, this is the “scariest” part, right?!   It feels so daunting initially, but it’s really not complicated at all – promise. :)

It was, however, a little tricky to type out for you guys in a way that would make sense…so I decided to bite the bullet and make a movie of how to use them!  YOU GUYS.  As I mention in the short video, I DO NOT like seeing myself filmed! This is TRUE LOVE for you as my blog readers that I would take a video of myself, okay?!  Haha! I really encourage you to watch the quick 5-minute video below before you keep reading – because it will really help everything else make a whole lot more sense! :)

 

{Oh and don’t even get me started on the thumbnail of my face.  Worst thumbnail ever but it wouldn’t let me change it! Haha! Humbling for sure!!}

 

 

Points discussed in the video:

- When using your EOs topically, you can either use them neat {undiluted} or diluted {with some kind of carrier oil}. 

- My favorite carrier oil, as I mentioned in the video, is Nature’s Way Coconut Oil.  They have several different sizes you can order, and the largest one is available for subscribe and save {Amazon ships you the oil on a regular schedule for a discounted fee – you can also get a smaller size Nature's Way Coconut Oil, 16 Ounce">Nature's Way Coconut Oil, 16 Ounce">Nature's Way Coconut Oil, 16 Ounce">Nature's Way Coconut Oil, 16 Ounce">here.}  It has 609 5-star reviews! It’s a really great product.  :) {These are my Amazon Affiliate links but you can rest assured I really do love and use this coconut oil!}

 

 

- Coconut oil is a solid at room temperature, but it has a SUPER low melting point, which means that basically by rubbing it between your fingers you’ll be able to get it to spread.  Some people prefer jojoba oil {and I’ve even used canola oil in a pinch!  haha!} but coconut oil is the preference for most oil users.  Look for organic, unrefined, highest-quality coconut oil

- As a rule of thumb, always dilute oils with children – and especially if an oil is considered “hot.”  {Oils with cinnamon in them, for instance, can irritate those with sensitive skin and should always be diluted – and some would say that hot oils should never be used on young children at all.}   It’s a smart idea to dilute an oil, even as an adult and even if it’s a mild oil, the first time you use it, just to make sure you don’t have a reaction to it. 

- Pretty much any area of the body is okay for using oils topically – but oils should NEVER BE USED IN THE EYES OR EARS. 

- When I want to use my oils, I’ll just get a drop or two of oil out of my bottle, and combine it together in my hand with a dab of coconut oil.  Then I apply it where I need to.  This is because, as I mentioned in the video, I know my skin is not sensitive to them.  Start with a large amount of carrier oil when you are first starting out!

The most popular/common place to put oils are on the bottoms of the feet.  The feet, surprisingly enough, are a great place to put oils because there are a crazy number of pores that will help the oil absorb pretty rapidly into the body. 

{I found this picture via a group I’m in on Facebook.  I am still learning about “vita flex” points – but basically they are points on the feet that correlate to other parts of the body and you can use them to help heal and assist other bodily ailments.  Right now I just rub oils on the bottom of my feet without paying attention to the specific vita flex points. I do this with oils that work preventatively to prevent colds and sickness, and oils that help reduce fevers and fight infections if we do get sick.}

 

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Besides topically, you can also use oils orally, diffused {inhaled} or even rectally for certain issues {using a capsule}.  Topical use is the most common use, which is why I dedicated this entire blog post to it.  I may have to expand this series to a Part 4 to cover the extra uses! :)

I highly recommend reading this information about essential oils on the Heritage Essential Oils page {the company I use}.  Lots of great additional information to be found there, including a helpful chart that breaks down dilution levels for children!

My goal is for you to feel empowered and educated…so if after reading this post you feel lost and confused {lol!!} PLEASE feel free to ask me a question in the comments! Okay? :)

 

 

Disclaimer:
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.*

Monday, March 17, 2014

Essential Oils 101: For the True Beginner {Part One}

If you’re like me, you’ve likely heard about essential oils once or twice or a million times thanks to Pinterest and some of your favorite blogs.  Maybe your curiosity has been piqued…maybe you’ve pinned a couple posts about it…maybe you’ve read some pretty convincing stories of how they can heal…but you literally have no clue where to start with it all.  You have the desire to begin, but no idea how to take that first step.  That was me last Spring…a total believer but still not a drop of essential oils to be found in my house, because I was way too overwhelmed and confused about where to start. Then one day last May, I got a cold during Livi’s post-surgery recovery period and was terrified I’d get her sick and send her back to the hospital.  My friend Tami showed up at my doorstep with a bunch of different oils one day.  I took notes, started using them, got better, Livi never got sick….and the rest is history. ;) 

 

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If you’re feeling right now like I did last Spring, this is your lucky day…because I’m writing the post I wish *I* had been able to find a year ago!  :) In the last ten months, since I’ve been using essential oils on a consistent basis, I’ve had lots of friends ask me how I got started and to teach them what I know…so I decided to type it all out here to hopefully help some of you as well! 

I’m going to do a small mini-series about how to start using these miraculous oils.  My goal is that you will leave these posts feeling empowered and confident that YOU can start using essential oils, too. 

Preface: In a {HUGE} nutshell, everyone’s body gives off electrical charges.  When you are sick, the “power” of your body’s electricity decreases.  Essential oils work by “righting” your body’s natural electrical state and by bringing it back to normal, healthy levels. Crazy, but true!

Okay, so, let’s get started! 

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Step One: Know what descriptive words and qualities to look for, so you can feel empowered to make the right choices and get your money’s worth!

All oils are most definitely NOT created equal!  When looking for oils to use for medicinal purposes, it is super important to look for words and phrases such as:

- suitable for medicinal use
- pure and unadulterated {aka “authentic”}
- quality is safe for internal use
- highest quality
-obtained from plants grown organically
- GC/MS analyzed {this means the oils have been tested in a laboratory to certify their high quality}

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People use oils for aromatherapy and for the enjoyable “smell factor” as well.  That’s great, but those are NOT the kind of oils you want if you’re going to heal your family!  You want ones that are verified to be safe {we’ll get to more of that below}.  Granted, oils are not currently FDA-approved, but we all know it takes the government a long time to jump on the bandwagon for certain healthy things, don’t we?! ;)

 

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Another important thing to look for: oils in a dark bottle.  I would never trust an essential oil that comes in a clear bottle or container!  Oils are very light-sensitive {keep them in a cool, dry place, out of sunlight} and any essential oil company worth its salt will know that! 

 

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I made this mistake once and won’t make it again!  

 

Speaking of oil companies….

 

Step 2: Choose how and where you will purchase your essential oils from: find a system that works well for you. 

There are a couple of different ways you can go with this:

a} Use a direct-sales company, like doTerra or Young Living.  Those are the most popular essential oil companies that I know of.  When you use these types of companies, you have a consultant/distributor that orders your oils for you, and the perk is that the individual is {or should be!} knowledgeable about how to use the oils and can give you tips and advice. 

b} Use a health- or natural-foods store.  Most health-food stores seem to carry essential oils nowadays, and the perk of this is that they are available anytime you want to purchase them, and the price-point is usually pretty low. 

c} Use an online company that doesn’t use a direct-sales model, like Heritage Essential oils {the amazing company I use and love}.  Here’s what I love about using a company like Heritage:

          - You don’t have to wait or depend on a consultant to place an order for you.  When I want my oils, I get online, order it myself, and it comes quickly.  I love not waiting on someone else, especially when there’s a particular medical issue I want to start working on. 

          -  The price is amazing.  I’m not paying for the product in addition to paying the salary of the sales representative.  {I have absolutely no beef with direct-sales companies whatsoever!  I used to work for one and I’m considering another in the future.  But when it comes to my medicine, I like feeling like I have access to what I need in a straightforward way.  I don’t want to have a middle-man in this case.  For Pampered Chef? Sure.  But not with my oils.  But again, PERSONAL preference!!! I know many people become a “consultant” with an oil company to earn discounts for themselves and their families…and I think that’s great! If I hadn’t fallen in love with Heritage, I probably would have done something like that to cut down on my costs.}

          -  The oils are both organic and therapeutic grade, and the company stands behind its promises!  I can see their commitment to quality all over their website, articles, and Facebook page…something I don’t have access to if I’m purchasing oils off a shelf in a natural-foods store. 

          - The support is amazing.  Heritage has a closed Facebook group {open to anyone who buys Heritage oils!} that is basically a big open forum where you can ask anything and everything about essential oils {EOs from here on out to save my fingers a little typing!}.  The founder, Linda, is amazingly helpful and owns the company with her family.  She will frequently comment on the posts herself, offering advice and prayers. {Side note: This is a company owned by a Christian family! Which you know makes my heart so happy!}

          - The option to buy oils in multiple sizes.  This is one of the things I LOVE the most about this company!! Every oil they offer comes in sample sizes {in addition to larger options – see my top photo in this post!}.  You’re not stuck with a $40 bottle of something that may or may not work for you.  The sample sizes are generally between $4-6 each, and last for quite a while themselves.  This is a great option for testing out oils to find your favorites before feeling confident to order a larger size!

I could really go on and on about Heritage.  They’re where I purchase all my EOs and they get my vote for sure {nope, I’m not an affiliate in any way…just a very happy, satisfied customer!}.

Okay, so once you’ve done a little research into what method of buying EOs works best for you, it’s time to move to the next step…

 

Step 3: Determine what medical problems or issues you’d like to treat with EOs. 

There is literally {LITERALLY!!} an EO for everything under the sun.  Whether you want preventative oils {like the EO equivalent of taking a vitamin} or something to treat a specific illness, there is something out there that can help you!

Do you…

- have trouble sleeping? 
- suffer from digestion and tummy troubles?
- have severe PMS?
- struggle with depression?
- suffer from severe headaches or migraines?
- want a natural cold remedy?
- want to help your child focus in school?
- want something that will help you stay sickness-free and boost your immune system?

Take some time to make out a list of what issues you are hoping to treat.  Prioritize them if money is an issue, and start with your most pressing medical issues. 

Okay, that was a long enough post for today!  In Part 2 we’ll explore how to actually use the oils once you’ve decided what to purchase! And in Part 3 I’ll discuss my favorite oils – the ones my family can’t live without anymore! 

PLEASE feel free to ask any questions you have and I’ll do my best to answer!  I’ll respond to questions right here in the comments. :)

 

 

Disclaimer:
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.*