8.06.2018

Make it Monday // DIY Essential Oil Recipes for Travel

If you haven't noticed from my Instagram feed, I travel a lot.  Like a lot, a lot.  We've been around the world a few times - Korea 3x (check this hashtag for the first trip & this hashtag for the second), Japan, Amsterdam (yay for Hema!) - and we've traveled home quite often.  Being that I moved 800 miles away from my family I like to go home as much as I am able.
this post may contain affiliate links, please read my full disclosure here.
the 10 ml glass bottles & spray tops were sent to me by Got Oil Supplies, all opinions are my own.

Traveling with an array of essential oils while possible isn't always practical.  Of course I've got a list of the top 10 oils I love to travel with but sometimes I need to be more compact.  Traveling with a diffuser can be troublesome as well so I've teamed up with Got Oil Supplies for this super easy, travel inspired DIY to help you keep your oils with you!  (ps. There is a coupon code at the bottom of this post just for you!)

Maintaining routine when traveling is very important.  We can get thrown off our rhythm and distracted from any self care rituals we've set put. We can find it hard to sleep in new environments and have trouble adjusting to a hotel room, a new city, or even being back in our childhood bedroom so keeping things close to us that provide comfort is a must.  For me, that includes my essential oils.  These guys give me a sense of peace & a sense of normalcy.  Not to mention some of them outright replace a few things I used to carry with me.  So lets get to the recipes.

supplies // roller bottles & spray tops from Got Oil Supplies (I'm using the 10ml size), witch hazel, water, fractionated coconut oil, various essential oils (I use only doTERRA CPTG oils, learn more here)

For each of these recipes we'll be using some sort of carrier.  I use that term loosely here because usually you'd use something like Fractionated Coconut oil to carry the oils - dilute them properly for topical application.  But for some of these we'll just be spraying them on clothes or a pillow and not necessarily the skin so there's not really a need for FCO in each recipe.

Sleepy Time Spray

This is like instant lights out! So if you have trouble sleeping especially while away this may give you some peace of mind.
In the spray bottle combine 5 drops Lavender, 3 drops Cedarwood, and 3 drops Vetiver.  Lavender is great for calming while both Cedarwood and Vetiver are grounding.  I swear, for me, any thing with Vetever is so soothing to me!  Top the spray bottle off with water.  Shake before you spray your pillow then nod off to sleep!

Deodorizer Spray

Stuff can get stinky if we've been traveling - especially in the summer - so a little deodorizer & fabric refresher can be much needed.  Combine 5 drops Purify blend & 5 drops Melaleuca in a spray bottle.  Top with water if you're going to be using on your clothes or use witch hazel if you've like to try for a natural deodorant.
I have yet to find something that helps me not stink but these oils work great for me on fabrics.  Spray a bit on the fabrics and let them air out.  Both of these oils have purifying & cleansing chemical properties.

Happiness Spray

My two ultimate feel good, get your happy on oils are Douglas Fir & Citrus Bliss.  This is literally happiness in a bottle!  Combine 5 drops Douglas Fir & 5 drops Citrus Bliss in a spray bottle and top with water.  Spray on anything & everything, any time you need it.  Make sure to avoid skin if you'll be outside as citrus oils are UV reactive.  But seriously, go ham with this blend!


After Sun Cooling Spray

This is a blend I used recently on my summer vacation & I have something else to add to it - witch hazel.  Witch hazel is great for the skin and when you add in other skin loving oils like Melaleuca & Lavender you've got a wining combination.  Combine 5 drops Lavender, 5 drops Melaleuca, 1 drop Peppermint (you can do more, I just find Peppermint to be very strong) in a spray bottle.  Top with equal parts Fractionated Coconut Oil & witch hazel.
You can either spray right onto the skin or spray on a cotton round and apply.  Applying with a cotton round is easier for the face especially if you've gotten a bit too much sun other wise just do a few quick sprays to cool off.

Chill Vibes Spray

Balance is an oil that I wish was in a roller bottle, a spray bottle....heck I wish I could get a 50 oz bottle of this stuff!  For me this is my zen oil.  Whenever I need a break or I need to really relax I bust this baby out.
Combine 10 drops with water in a spray bottle and spray on your clothes, etc when you need to just relax.  This is a perfect way for me to travel with this oil when I need it quickly.  It really helps me sink into a meditative head space easily.
If you hadn't noticed all of these blends use some of the top 10 oils for travel.  The problem with traveling with a ton of oils means the blends you're gonna make - in your hand, on your pillow, or in your travel diffuser - take up space because you've got to bring them all!  The slim profile of these spray bottles from Got Oil Supplies means they won't take up too much space.  In fact, they will only take up as much space as your roller bottles.  Love it! 
These guys will slip easily into a small make up pouch or pencil case (hello Target Dollar Spot #amirite) so they won't take up space in your bag.  I've even got some labels for you to print at home and cut by hand or with your Cricut or Silhouette machine.  These guys fit perfect on the bottle - the are 1.5 inches wide by .75 inches tall and have a space to write your own blend names in permanent marker.  When you upload the PNG to Cricut Design Space be sure to erase the branding strop at the bottom & size it to 6.75 x 9.25 inches.  I also suggest this waterproof paper from Online Labels to print these guys on.

Now for the coupon code: 
use 516LOVE over on Got Oil Supplies for 10% off your order!  
valid until 9/30/18

There's a ton of quality supplies, containers, etc for your essential oil blending, storing, and sharing needs. I especially love these purple glass bottles that were sent to me for this project because purple is my favorite color!  It is always nice to be inspired by your collections - sometimes plain old amber bottles just don't do it for me.

What are your favorite blends?  What are you going to pick out from Got Oil Supplies? Let me know in the comments!

7.26.2018

App Review // Instasize

Finding, using, and sharing apps is one of my favorite hobbies.  Starting with my iPhone 4 I've loved to download photo editing apps, overly process photos and share them with the world.  That was when Instagram & the power of the smartphone was new.  Today, there's a different story when it comes to the photos we take and edit with our phones - subtle, professional edits that enhance the natural beauty of a photo.  Prior to the age of the smartphone you'd use something like Photoshop to create the perfect photo.  Today that whole game has changed!
this post contains affiliate links, please read my full disclosure here.

We're trying harder now to curate the photos we take and there are a ton of apps that can help edit that perfect shot right on your phone - Instasize is one of them!  I was contacted by Instasize to review the full version of their app and share it with you today.  Instasize is an easy way to carefully and subtly enhance your photos as well as create a curated social media presence.


What is Instasize?

Instasize is truly an all in one photo editing app.  The app features a wide range of professional filters & editing tools, the ability to edit both photo & video, pre designed text overlays, 50 fonts to insert your own text, & a collage creator.  Seriously, all in one app!

A premium subscription of $4.99 USD/month offers you access to updates monthly + exclusive, member only tools. 

Information from the iTunes app description here. Download from the Google Play Store here.


What does Instasize do?

In a nutshell, Instasize allows you to curate your social media presence with consistent photo edits & text overlays.   Giving you a complete tool kit to stream line your social feeds in one app, Instasize can be your go to for any size photo you need to post.  At it's core, Instasize can fit a portrait photo into a square canvas, perfect for posting to Instagram.  However this app does so much more:

Photo & Video Editing

First off, there are 40 professional filters for you to choose from to edit both photo and video.  When you load the original size photo/video into the app you'll be editing the original size.  You can either crop the media, work with it at it's original size, or tap the yellow circle in the lower left of the image to shrink it onto a square canvas.
From here you can edit the photo using the filters or the precision edit tools - both options for saturation, brightness, etc and beauty tools to whiten teeth, even skin tone, etc. I think that this app is perfect for portrait or landscape photos.  And by that I don't mean the orientation of the photo but rather editing images/video of people and/or the outdoors!  The flat lays I usually do don't fair well with the filters in this app, I've found.  But I love the way the filters enhance my selfies!

Collage Maker

Another cool feature of this app is that you can create a collage then edit all the photos in the collage at the same time.  Doing this means you'll be able to have a consistent look to each photo rather than the fear that each image may have a different look.  I find this an important feature because of the consistency and the ease of not having to jump between apps.
From the collage maker you can choose different layouts and actually see how your photos will be arranged in each layout prior to choosing the collage.  Then you can edit the spacing between each photo and even add a background, photo, or color around the image.

Social Media Formats

Cropping your media all in the same app is important & Instasize gives you many options to crop your media for various sites.  The only downside I can find is that you're unable to crop in a vertical format - think long form video or stories for Instagram or SnapChat.  In the example below I edit a photo, crop it for a YouTube thumbnail, then add text.
If you import a photo or video at a 9:16 ratio, you can still edit it but you can't crop something like a native camera photo/video to a 9:16 ratio.  This is easily solved by either cropping before or after editing the media in the app.

Preset Font Overlays & Customized Text

If you need a quick graphic, Instasize offers 10 text overly presets.  This is great to be consistent with your branding when you're posting to Instagram or other social feeds.  Use the second text overlay - Finish Line - for a series of posts outlining a process, use the first option - Candy Shop - to announce a sale, & use the Full Moon overlay for a little bit of simplicity.
Your also able to add your own text if you're not fond of the presets.  You can choose from 50 professional fonts - there are really nice sans serif & scrip fonts included!  You may not find your personal branded fonts but you may be able to find something super close.  Get creative with how you add the fonts to your canvas.  The best part is that you can add the text to your videos too!


How it helps you

Because this app is nearly an all-in-one content curation app, Instasize gives you a way to plan, edit, and be consistent with your online presence.  As a blogger, influencer, & content creator you'll have a ton of easy to use tools right at your finger tips.
Another subtle feature of this app is the ability to use the media storage on the homepage of the app to plan your Instagram grid.  While you can't add a caption or store hashtags you can get a visual idea of how your grid may look and then push the photo to Instagram when you're ready.  Easily delete photos you don't plan to use or tap & hold a photo to move it around on the grid.

All in all, Instasize is a great app to create the consistent social feed you desire!  While you can use the app for free upgrading to the monthly subscription will give you the best experience with the app.  So I recommend it.





Want to learn more about how to use Instasize? Check out the Instasize blog here.  Find more iPhoneography tips on my blog here.

What apps do you use in your online branding?  How do you keep a consistent feed? 

7.20.2018

Three Ways to Cleanse your Sacred Space

Creating a safe and sacred space for yourself is one of the key parts in mediation.  You don't need to dedicate a whole entire room or do anything elaborate - you just need to create a safe space for yourself where you feel comfortable and calm.
this post contains affiliate links, please read my full disclosure here.

As we go through our lives, emotions & energies can become attached to us.  These emotions and energies can also become trapped in our homes, bedrooms, & work spaces.  Any place we inhabit (especially with others) can build up stagnant or not so nice energies.  If you've ever come home from a long day of work and just can't shake the stress or have had a fight with a friend or companion and just cant get rid of the emotions you've experienced - this is energy attachment.  Sometimes it's not bothersome to us but sometimes it weighs us down.  Cleansing yourself & your space of these energies can often lift this weight from you and bring a sense of calm or freshness to your space.

You can find many clearing rituals online or you can create your own.  Often the best way to get started is to find a ritual that you resonate with and adapt it to your own lifestyle.  As you go through the cleansing a few times you may find yourself adding or subtracting parts as it suits you.

Since starting my meditation practice, I've found that doing a little energy clearing ritual prior to my sessions gets me in the right head space for what I plan to be doing.  Animals - and we are animals -are very sensitive to smell & to habit.  Think of Pavlov's dogs - when they were fed a bell rang.  Eventually the dogs associated the ringing of the bell with food and began to salivate at the sound of it.  This is how ritual can begin to affect us.  Our clearing rituals will begin to trigger in us an emotional shift getting us ready for the next task at hand.  As humans, we have a more complex understanding of our emotions and thus can begin to use the habit-turned-ritual process to tap into our higher selves and create a more mindful & spiritual bond with our actions & surroundings.

How to Cleanse your Space

There are three common ways to cleans your space but if you find that something else works for you entirely, then go for that.  There are no wrong answers when it comes to creating a safe and loving space from which to work.

Smoke

Most commonly you'll find references to Smudging.  Smudging has been misappropriated by those involved in New Age and NeoPagan circles.  Often those insisting on smudging are imitating what they believe to be sacred ceremonies from various First Nations and Native American cultures.  It is common to see 'smudge sticks' sold commercially in new age shops around the country.  These ceremonies differ vastly between First Nations communities and the 'simple' energy clearing or blessing rituals seen as outsiders can not be replicated with in the homes and spaces of those not involved in these communities nor by those who have not been religiously trained.  Smudging and 'ritually cleansing a space or person with smoke' are at the core, not synonymous. (Read more about the misappropriation of smudging here.)

However, one can use smoke as a way to cleanse your space if done respectably. Using smoke in ritual and religious practice isn't limited only to First Nation & Native American traditions as cultures and communities across the globe use smoke & the burning of herbs in ritualistic practices.  Inherently, the use of fire (and thus smoke) is ingrained in us as our primal ancestors first saw into the darkness.  Smoke is mystical and smoke is magical simply because of the way it floats.

Using smoke to cleanse your home - specifically the burning of certain herbs - can be done by choosing herbs in correspondence with either the energy you'd like to banish and/or the energy you'd like to bring in.  Energetically something like Palo Santo smoke can be used for neutralizing a space.  The smoke of this wood is thought to simultaneously clear negative energies while creating a space of calm for mediation practice.  You can also choose to burn something like lavender to bring in good energies of communication or frankincense to bring in energies of abundance.

Sound

Again, most commonly you'll find references to Tibetan Singing Bowls in many new age shops.  From my personal research I can not find any one specific people, religion, etc that exclusively uses this object but approaching these singing bowls with respect is the key here.  The over all theme of this post is to encourage you not to imitate what you see but to interact with your own spirituality.  Using a singing bowl to clear energy is a very rhythmic way to connect in with your space.

Generically referred to as a standing bell or singing bowl. these metal (or crystal) objects resemble upturned cups and can be played either by striking the side with a mallet or by running the mallet along the rim.  The even tone created by these bowls is inspiring & grounding.  The benefit from these singing bowls comes from the vibration emitted.  Using these in your sacred space can create a place of calm & tranquility.

Another way to use sound that is easily available is clapping or banging.  While not a great way to create a tranquil space, you can pair clapping or banging (like with a spoon onto a pot) with your smoke cleansing or visualization.  By becoming more energetic and sending these sharp vibrations into your space you can 'break up' stagnant energy or a stagnant feeling and push it out of the space easier. This might be better for doing a full house cleansing rather than a preparation for meditation.

Visualization

Visualization is the perfect way to cleanse a space of energies because you're relying on yourself and your personal power.  And you don't have to spend any money to utilize this tool.  This is a tool that is also personal to you - you can develop your own colors, visions, etc - so I'm going to share how I use visualization.

To cleanse my space I usually start by visualizing a ball of white light around me like a bubble.  I fill this bubble with love, positivity, happiness, calm, etc then I send it out in pulses around me getting bigger & bigger.  Sometimes I'll use this to cleanse an object and thus only need  small bubble.  Most of the time though I'll do this around a room - like my meditation space - to prepare for card reading or meditation.  This is an especially helpful tool when you're somewhere that you can't burn or spray funny things.

When it comes to cleansing energy I've only stuck with white light to drive out what I don't want.  You can, however, start to develop a way to bring in energies you do want.  One of the ways to do this is to work with the Chakras, or energy centers, of your body.  While the idea of the Chakra system & energy body heavily resonates with me, I also acknowledge that it is not my word or system to use or appropriate.  These Chakras or Wheels of Energy correspond to different colors and I've been playing around with making my own color library to bring in certain energies I want in mys space.  For example the color correspondence for the Root Chakra is red and if I'd like to bring in stability energy perhaps I could envision red filling the space.

Since visualization is a technique that is unique to each person, creating your own library is important.  The power of visualization comes from with in you.  If you feel that you can't hold the image in your mind well at first, pair this technique with your use of smoke or sound or even your practice with essential oils so that you can begin to bring this as your backbone into your visualization.  I have a whole post on getting started with visualization right here.


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Now that your space is cleared you can begin your meditation practice or just continue you life with a little peace of mind that your space is safe for you.  As I mentioned above, the intention of this post is to help you to develop your own rituals and your own practices so that you feel most connected to your higher or best self.  We are creatures of habit and we are creatures of ease.  It is easy to sink into the belief that a certain ritual is the only way and thus we continue to imitate it.  It is also easy for us to say 'hey I like that, I'm going to do that'.  But we need to understand boundaries and the sacred space of ancient traditions that may not be our own.

I hope this post was a little bit helpful for you and that you learned a bit when it comes to cleansing your space & being respectful.  You can read more about my mindfulness journey here.

How do you cleanse your space? What rituals have worked for you?

xoxo, Moe

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

6.21.2018

Boost your Blog // Apps I use to Run my Blog

I've been blogging for over 10 years now and the landscape of blogging has changed so much since I first started.  I've also become more streamlined in my own blogging - only doing what I feel is worth my time, using the camera that I have, and working from my phone a lot of the time.  If it isn't simple for me to do...then I don't do it!
this post contains affiliate links, please read my full disclosure here.
I'm not the type of blogger who likes to follow the rules.  I find the 'proper way to blog' to be overwhelming & time wasting for me.  Examples - I don't have a self hosted blog, I use my iPhone to take photos, I never research keywords for post titles, I'm bad at newsletters, and the list goes on.  However, I still consider myself a successful blogger.  Part of this is because I'm authentic.  Another part is that I share relevant info.  And the final part is that I use apps & tools to streamline my process.

As someone who works a lot from my phone, you'll find apps & programs that have both a desktop and a mobile version.  This is the number one reason why I'm considering getting my next iPhone in the Plus model for the bigger screen!  Anyway, here are the apps & tools I use to run my blog:

A Color Story

This is literally the best mobile photo editing app, ever.  I have a full blog post on this app here and will constantly recommend it to anyone editing photos on their phone.  What I love about this app is that the FREE pack included in the download is all you really need to create bright, crisp photos perfect for Instagram, Facebook, and your blog.

Not only can you edit photos but you can also edit short videos.  So if you want your Instagram stories or videos to fit your pages aesthetic you totally can!  The controls are just the same whether your' editing a photo or video so it's super easy.  Plus you can save a series of edits to use on other photos later to get that consistent feel.

Finally, you can plan your Instagram grid using this app!  This is a feature I've recently started using for both my Connected Chakras feed & the Feel the Inhale essential oil feed.  If you're wanting to create a cohesive grid with a certain theme, you can preview how your images will look next to each other.  I use this to see how my images will look next to each other & to plan which images I'll use each week.  Unfortunately there's no auto post option - you'll still have to manually import your photos to Instagram but you can at least plan the aesthetic and the caption.

Phonto

This is the app I use to create any blog image with text over them. Like the image at the top of this post, Phonto is the way I create my pinnable blog images.  I love this app because I can import my own branded fonts right into the app and use them.  The app does come with a TON of fonts already but it is great to be able to use your own fonts!  I love that I can save preset text - like my blog URL or a text watermark for Instagram - to add to each new photo.

A companion app that I've just recently found myself using is Vont.  Designed by the same creators as Phonto, this app allows you to put text over video.  You can even import your own branded fonts as well!

You can read another full blog post on Phonto here.

Mailchimp

I suck at sending emails but I love the automated system offered by Mailchimp.  If you've ever signed up for an email opt in - like the Tarot eBook or the Blogging eBook - then Mailchimp has automated the sending for me.

This is the main thing I use Mailchimp for.  The automation takes the pressure off of creating unique emails every week for my email list.  I automate sending new blog posts to subscribers as well.  So it appears like I'm actively doing a newsletter....but I'm totally not!  I plan on doing a post on how to use the automation feature of Mailchimp soon!

Canva

Like the graphic in this post, I use Canva for my other design needs.  I love that the templates are easy to use and that my brand colors & fonts are easily stored.  When I need to change the size of a graphic I can also auto resize it super simply!

Canva allows me to create ebooks, infographics, and other digital downloads to make my blog look amazing.  I also use this to create my Instagram stories highlights and other templates I share over there.  The template options in both the desktop version and the app are amazing!  While you can use your branded text on the desktop site the app doesn't allow you too.  Which is why I choose Phonto for mobile.

Canva also allows you to create templates to sell or share with others which is a cool way to monetize your content!

Google Drive

This is my choice for a cloud storage service.  While you get 15GB free with your gmail account, I pay for 100GB of storage.  This makes it easy to transfer files between my phone & my computer.  Since I take and edit my photos on my phone I need a convenient way to transfer the files to my computer so I can compose the blog post.  On my computer I have a Google Drive back up so I can choose anything that's been uploaded as if it were on a drive on my computer.  It makes the whole process super streamlined.

I also use Google Drive to host any freebies that I share on the blog.  Because I need a way to get the freebies to you I need a hosting service.  Google Drive allows me to share specific files and set specific permissions for each file.


PicFrame

This is an app I've been using for a thousand years it feels like.  This is your basic photo collage app and I love it because it is simple.  Change the size, add photos, save.  Easy. Peasy.  Recently this app add the ability to save templates to use later.  I find this helpful when I want to make a collage or create a nice graphic for my Instagram stories.  You can change the ration to 9:16 so that your creation fits perfectly.

I just found out recently that you can add video into the collage!  What I usually do is add one video to the collage then save it so that there's white space around the video to add text.  Then I'll use Vont to add the branded text I like!  Read a full review of the app here.

All of these apps make blogging super easy for me.  I don't have to stress about my content or my design because I've got these tools right at my finger tips.  If blogging isn't something I can easily do, I don't want to do it.  Since I've started to take my blog a little bit more seriously I've been trying to find ways to create a space that is successful but still fun for me!



I'm constantly on the look out for new and fun apps to add to my arsenal.  If you've like to read more about the apps I love & use check out all the App Reviews right here on the blog.  And if you've got an app suggestion you'd love for me to review, shoot me an email here.