7.09.2018

Six Easy Ways to Live a Sustainable Summer

Its a journey I accidentally started and a journey I'm loving.  What journey am I talking about?  I'm talking about my accidental journey to being more mindful with what I use daily in an attempt to lead a more authentic life.  At the beginning of the year I decided to go cruelty free with my make up and that lead me down a spiral of trying to be more green with my living.  In this post I share how I've cut my reliance on paper towels & disinfectant wipes and now I want to share with you a couple of ways I plan to be more green this Summer.
this post contains affiliate links, please read my full disclosure here.

First off I want to say that it is all a journey.  I don't plan to live zero waste (yet I totally applaud those who do!).  I just want to be more conscious of what I do.  The fact that several cities have now banned the plastic straw and even more cities have banned the plastic bag has really pushed me to be the change I want to see.  But it isn't about being that girl who doesn't use bags and has her own straw its about genuine effort towards making yourself (and thus the world) a better place.  The easiest place to make change is in your own home right?  Then you can hope that your actions inspire others.

With that said, here are 6 ways to be more sustainable this summer: 

Reusable Aluminum Straws

I don't know about you but Summer often means a lot of drive-thrus and nights out.  I plan to refuse straws this summer as much as I can.  In addition to filling my reusable cup or water bottle for road trips, I plan to snatch up a pack of these to bring with me on summer vacation.  A lot of these reusable straws seem to be compatible with standard tumblers so you're not going to lose out on drinking from your favorite cup! 


Pack your own Travel Snacks

We all stop at the gas station or jump in the line at the airport for a quick travel snack, right?  Why not pack your own snacks?  I've got two reasons here - the first being sustainability and the second being its going to save you money!  Gas station and airport snacks can cost an arm & a leg so throwing some snacks in your bag prior to take off will mean you're saving your moolah.

You can bring snacks on a plane, no problem.  You might want to invest in these clear, reusable & resealable bags if you're bringing that sandwich in your carry on but for road trips (or a jaunt out on the boat) consider these super nifty beeswax wraps.  I am totally going to try to make some of these beeswax wraps in the future - Zach got some beeswax from a local beekeeper and we've been dying to try any & all projects with it!


Reusable One Cup Coffee Pods

This is something I've been doing for a while now when it comes to travel - using a reusable coffee pod for the Keurig.  Everyone I know has one so when I travel home I make sure to bring my k-cup and my coffee filters.  There is so much waste when it comes to these single use pods. I mean the whole body of that pod is plastic and you just toss it in the trash!  This is the brand I use and I can find them at Meijer or online from Amazon.  I also need to start using these at work instead of relying on the k-cups.

Compostable Cutlery 

We're all going to have a BBQ or two to go to this summer and there will be disposable cutlery galore.  I implore you this summer to invest in compostable cutlery & plates.  I purchased some for a small gathering but you can totally grab a giant box from Amazon.  This set is just under $30 for 100 forks, 100 spoons, & 100 knives.  Seriously, I think that is affordable!  Don't forget the plates & the cups, too.


Avoid Fast Fashion

Will that beach hat or cover up last through a few seasons of wear? Is it on trend enough for just one summer or classic enough for a couple?  This summer, avoid fast fashion like those dollar store flip flops or super trendy sun hat & opt for things that will last you a few summers.  Amazon has these amazing, natural rubber flip flops that look (and apparently feel) like your standard summer wear.  I know that LuLaRoe is technically a fast fashion brand but I've used the Lindsay kimono & Sara cardigan at the lake multiple seasons.  This means I'm getting both fall & summer use out of these guys!

Reusable Bags

Summer means outdoor markets and downtown shopping for a lot of us!  Heck even if you're just going to the mall consider bringing a reusable bag or two.  I like the ones that can fold up and fit right back into a smaller pouch so you can throw them into your purse.  Use them for groceries or for your handmade market finds.  Plus if you're going to the beach these guys can act as your wet bag form when you change from your swim suit.  The nylon often dries quickly so you can fold it right back up after you hang your suit to dry.


Like I mentioned above, for me this journey isn't about being perfect.  This journey is about realizing our impact & taking what we do seriously.  We can be mindful of our actions and make a conscious choice to change it.  These are just six ways to be more sustainable for the summer but I'm sure these guys can last you all year!


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My green journey started with my introduction to essential oils.  These guys are a great natural & sustainable way to help you with emotional & physical wellness (and there are a ton that are perfect for the summer!)  If you'd like to know more about the natural power of essential oils - use them in your cleaning routine, for your skin care, to boost immunity, etc - enter your email above to get a FREE copy of my ebook Getting Started with Essential Oils.

How will you live sustainably this summer?  What actions are you already taking?

xoxo, Moe

6.27.2018

The Ultimate Top 10 Essential Oils for Travel

Travel has become much more common in my life lately.  I've caught a lot of planes over the last few years - some to other countries but most were planes home.  I've also taken a ton of road trips and short weekend getaways.  Most of those trips, though, were with out my trusty essential oils!  It wasn't until about a year & a half ago that I started to use essential oils and now I can't imagine a lot of daily things with out these guys!
this post contains affiliate links, please read my full disclosure here.

Essential oils can offer a natural emotional & physical support system for us.  For the most part I like to focus on the way essential oils affect my emotional wellness but when I travel I also need some physical wellness support.  We're coming in contact with a lot of germs, we eat things that might not sit well with us, and we're under stress especially if we're on a tight travel schedule - and there are essential oils to counteract all the emotional stuff that goes a long with these physical things!  Here are my top 10 essential oils for travel

The Balance blend is a proprietary blend of spruce, ho wood, frankincense, blue tansy, blue chamomile flower, & osmanthus.  Known as the Grounding Blend, Balance truly does bring me back to balance.  This is one of the first oils I started to work with before joining doTERRA and it brings me into a meditative head space.  I think Zach picked this up at a health food store near us and I started to use it in my daily meditation practice.  Since scent is such a powerful connector to emotion, now when I inhale the scent of this oil I am immediately reminded of calm.
I use this oil in a travel diffuser but I also will just add a drop or two to my hands, rub them together, and inhale.  A few drops on your pillow with some lavender is a great way to drift into a calm sleep.

This blend is great to help boost your immunity while traveling since we're running into a lot of new to us germs & we're under a lot of travel stress.  I'm pretty sure half the reason we get sick sometimes is that we're just plain exhausted - so we need both physical & emotional support during travel to stay on top!  So I need to grab some of the On Guard sanitizing mist but right now I travel with both the On Guard beadlets (included in the Family Essentials + Beadlets enrollment kit!) and the On Guard touch roller.  
I'll use the beadlets as a daily boost while I'm traveling but I'll also apply the touch roller to my chest if I'm feeling a little tickle coming on.  This oil is a proprietary blend of Wild Orange Peel, Clove Bud, Cinnamon Leaf, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary essential oils so it's going to open your airways and it can help with a sore throat.  Now that it is summer time though, I'm thinking of just throwing a 5 ml bottle in my travel kit - since this blend contains a citrus oil I need to be careful not to apply it and then go in the sun.  Citrus oils are photoreactive and can cause serious burns if treated skin is exposed to UV rays.

Known as the Purification blend, this blend is great for year round travel.  Firstly, I use this guy to clear out yucky smells.  You can diffuse it to purify the air - like if where you're staying has a musky smell - or you can use this to get rid of odors on clothes.  I usually mix a spray bottle of water, Lavender, & Purify and spray on clothes as a fabric refresher.
Secondly, this guy is great - again with Lavender - to sooth irritations from bug bites!  It does have lemon & lime peel in it though so be sure be careful about sun exposure, might be best to apply this at night after a day of outdoor fun.

This is an oil I use for both emotional & physical support.  So Lavender can calm anxious feelings which I totally get before a flight.  Its not that I feel like something horrible is going to happen I just feel stressed about finding my seat, making sure my stuff fits in the over head bin, what if I'm in the wrong seat, what if I have to get back up, what if someone is in my seat....... I just get myself psyched out and that's not good for the nerves.
I travel with the touch roller of Lavender nearly everywhere (I use it on the daily) because of the ease of application.  The prediluted touch rollers make using oils on the go super easy.

The use of this one is many, many fold!  Firstly, I use this guy in my skin care.  I'll put a few drops in my toner, moisturizer, or even make up remover to sooth my skin.  It has cleansing properties so it's great to use to fight blemishes.  Skin care is the main reason I pack this guy each time I travel.
Secondly, it is also good to treat minor skin irritations - bug bites & small scratches.  This makes it a great replacement for the photoreactive elements of the Purify blend.  Add Melaleuca and Lavender together to sooth and calm any bug bite and treat those small scratches you may get from hiking or having fun in the sun.  

Thirdly, this essential oil is also great to purify the air and remove the stink from clothes.  I don't like how minty this oil smells sometimes, though, so I often choose Purify for this.


Citrus Bliss

This is my happy oil!  Citrus Bliss is the Invigorating blend - meaning its going to boost your mood and just give you the confidence to get going.  If ever I feel a bit down or I want to just get the heck up and actually go, I diffuse this plus a little bit of Peppermint.  Citrus bliss is a blend of all the happy citrus oils so it turns my mood around real quick.  

I use this oil on the daily as well.  Past Tense is in a roller bottle as well, however it isn't diluted with fractionated coconut oil like the Touch rollers are.  I don't separate mine into another roller bottle and dilute because I'm #lazy but you may want to do this especially since there are oils like Wintergreen, Peppermint, and Cilantro in this blend.  These 'hot' oils may cause skin sensitivity so they should be diluted especially on skin that is delicate - children or elderly.  So do as I say and not as I do...
But I use this oil to relieve tension in my neck and shoulders & to help with my headaches. The cooling sensation also makes it great for hot days.  PastTense is a blend of Wintergreen, Lavender, Peppermint, Frankincense, Cilantro, Marjoram, Roman Chamomile, Basil, and Rosemary so it's a good blend for all around wellness!

If ever I want to add pep to a diffuser blend I add a drop of Peppermint.  This oil just brightens any blend you add it to.  Need to get up & go? Citrus + Peppermint.  Need to relieve the stress of a long day? Floral + Peppermint.  Want to relieve tense muscles?  Tree/wood oil + Peppermint.  Digestive issues?  Herb oils + Peppermint.  Is it hot outside and you're hot too? Peppermint.
It's just an all around great oil to have in your arsenal.  Peppermint is one of the top THREE essential oils - along with lavender & lemon - that everyone needs to have!

Remember when I said that I get super nervous before a flight?  Well often that manifests as a tummy that is not very happy!  So I use a blend of Lavender and Digestzen to sooth my nervous stomach.  The Lavender helps me emotionally & the Digestzen helps me physically since a lot of the upset is all in my head!
When I eat something that may or may not sit well - like when we travel places with amazing food but I'm unsure my stomach will agree - I apply Digestzen topically to my stomach.  This blend contains Ginger which is a good way to combat nausea.  The other oils - Anise, Peppermint, Caraway Seed, Coriander Seed, Tarragon, and Fennel aid in digestion.

In a pinch, like if you don't have Lavender, the scent of Digestzen can be calming as well...it's not a great scent but the chemical properties of this blend can promote relaxation.

Last but not least I use Frankincense.  The oils is an amazing oil!  If I need an uplift - Frank.  If I need some emotional support - Frank.  If I'm gonna put on my face moisturizer - Frank.  I have been packing the 5 or 15ml bottles that I have but I'm thinking of adding in the Touch roller for ease of application.
This oil can help with skin irritations, muscle soreness, sleep, and so much more.  It is such a versatile oil!


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Travel is an important & necessary part of my life and I plan to keep on keeping on so it's great to have a support system to bring with me.  When I travel by car, I usually just pack all of these guys together but when I'm flying I sort out the oils I may need while I'm at the terminal or on the plane - Lavender, Digestzen, On Guard, Peppermint or PastTense - and put those in a small plastic bag to comply with the TSA requirements.  The rest I'll pack in a make up bag in my checked luggage.  (ps I always check a bag because I don't want to have to lug it all around in the terminal! That relieves some stress for me!)

Want to learn more about essential oils?  Check out my Top 10 Essential Oils video here & find more oily posts on the blog here.

Ready to get started on your journey with essential oils? Click here to learn how to place your order.

What are your top oils for travel?

xoxo, Moe

6.25.2018

Boost your Blog // Why Should I Open a Digital Etsy Shop?

If you're a blogger looking to make a little bit of income on the side, opening a digital shop might be for you.  You can sell digital prints, stock photos, worksheets, workbooks, planner printables, etc. especially if it is relevant to your content.  Opening a digital shop will add another revenue stream from your blog!  There are a ton of eCommerce sites where you can open this type of shop, but I want to tell you about why Etsy is the best place.
this post may contain affiliate links, please read my full disclosure here.

Etsy is the leading handmade marketplace.  It's been around for 13 years.  I remember when I first heard about Etsy and it was then that I decided to open up shop selling earrings and crocheted items.  I didn't have much success with physical items - plus I did not like to go to the post office!  When I moved up to Indiana in the Fall of 2012, I'd been selling digital items in my Etsy shop for about a year.  At that time I sold blog templates & custom Blogger designs.  It was when I started selling digital items that I found the most success.  It was a balance between being creative and not having to go to the post office!

I've shuttered my online doors a couple of times in the past but I've kept my current shop open for a few years now.  Currently I sell digital planner printables as well as stickers designed to cut with your Cricut Explore.  But I'm thinking about branching out to selling more digital supplies for creative businesses - graphics & templates, social media stuff, etc.  Check out the shop here.

But why Etsy Especially since they just announced a plan to increase the transaction fee from 3.5% on the sale price only to 5% on the sale price + shipping starting July 16, 2018.  I've written a post here on why I keep turning back to Etsy, by why should you consider Etsy in the first place?  In the age where eCommerce shops can be made quickly & easily, why start with Etsy?

Low Start Up Cost

Etsy has the eCommerce platform down for you.  You don't have to build or pay someone to build the website for you.  While there are a lot of drag & drop options and most eCommerce platforms are easy to use, with Etsy you don't have to invest much time or money into getting your shop up & running.  It is free create a shop, you can use free software to create a shop graphic & even edit/create your shop listings.  At a cost of .20 cents a listing you can list 100 items for about $20.  Each listing lasts for 4 months.  You're only charged the transaction fee (3.5% prior to July 16, 2018) once a sale is made and if you're not finding success, delete and item before it renews and you won't be charged another .20 cents to relist it after the 4 months expires.  You're not investing the time or the money you don't have!  Plus if you're selling digital items you're not going to be shipping anything.  So this increased transaction fee won't impact you as much.

Digital Fulfillment Service Built In to the Platform

Selling digital items means you'll need to actually get that file to the customer.  With Etsy there is a fulfillment service built right in at no extra cost.  You list the item and you're done.  You don't have to monitor sales and deliver the files to a customers email.  Etsy does this for you after the payment has cleared.  Other eCommerce platforms often require the use of either their app or a third party app to execute this fulfillment process.  While that's not too bad, Etsy makes it very easy to run a digital shop without any extra work.


Name Recognition & Search Optimization 

Etsy allows you to tag your listings with relevant search tags.  You're also given ample space in the product title to include relevant search terms.  The description area is a thrid place to create a through product description.  All of these allow you to show up in Etsy's search.  Because Etsy is the leading place for handmade & creative products, people come to Etsy to search for what they need.  If they are coming to Etsy to search they will find your shop as long as you tag your products properly.  This is the most work that you'll need to put into your listings (well, this and your photos).  The more work you put in to properly tagging your products the better you'll show up in the search.  It's as if the advertising is being done for you.  Of course you'll need to share that you actually have a shop on your various platforms but you're not going to need to pay for advertising space.  While Etsy does offer the option to advertise in search results, my unscientific studies have proven to me that this type of advertisement really has no bearing on sales.

Ease of Use

All points above add to the fact that Etsy is just easy to use.  You don't have to manage security certificates, cookie notices, or any changes to internet use laws because Etsy will do it for you.  I feel, you're getting a great convenience for a very low price and peace of mind.  If you want to take it upon yourself to manage your own website and eCommerce and fulfillment, good on you.  I just place big importance on ease of use.  You're getting the advertising & the digital fulfillment covered, your partnering with a big name in the game and you're not having to create & maintain your own stand alone site.  The overall design of the Etsy platform is aesthetically pleasing as well and you're not having to make all these design decisions that cost moolah on your own site!


So, while there are some restrictions Etsy is a great place to start selling.  I am of the set it & forget it mindset.  I am also not going to fix something that isn't broken!  What I am going to do though, is change with the times.  I plan to raise my prices in my shop in July.  Why do that?  Why not move to another platform?  Because I like this platform, I find value in this platform, and I think my community finds value in my product.  When we partner with businesses that are in the business of doing business, we must realize that things will change - these partners want to make money just like we want to make money.  This is also the first increase in 13 years of the platform so I find this site rather trustworthy and believe they aren't ripping us off!  Etsy does a lot of the managing for you - fees, fulfillment, security, advertising, etc - and I find value in their service.  

If you're thinking about expanding your blog income by starting a digital shop, forget the headache & start with Etsy!  Want to read more about running an Etsy shop? Check out these posts.

Do you have an Etsy shop?  Why do you use Etsy?

xoxo, Moe