9.18.2018

10 Ways to Begin your Personal Development Journey

Becoming a better person.  That's what we all want to do with our lives, right?  We want to be the best versions of ourselves.  We're now quite far into the year and may have found that our goals haven't shaped out the way we thought they would have.  This could be good or bad...but we don't have to wait until the new year to start bettering ourselves!  In fact I think there are 3 times in the year we can start ourselves anew - January at the new year, March/April at the Aries New Moon, and September when we're used to going back to school.

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September has always had the air of a fresh new start - we've got fresh pencils, notebooks, and sneakers, the leaves are slowing turning and nature moves into a new phase.....its just a very magical time of freshness. Plus we'll have Samhain in October which is known as the Witches' New Year. So the Fall in general can be a time of change - to shed the old and prep for the new!

We don't have to upend our whole lives to work on personal development.  Nor do we have to feel pressured to change our entire beings to be these better, fantasy versions of ourselves.  Personal development is a journey where the only person you need to be better than is the person you were yesterday.  It's not a journey of comparison or defeat, its a journey of betterment.  So, here are 10 ways to begin your personal development journey:

1. Listen to Audio Books & Podcasts

Make time to listen to personal development books or podcasts.  This may take some trial and error in finding podcasts/books that inspire you but start off with a hobby or something you're interested in.  I wanted to learn to read tarot as a personal development tool so I thumbed through the tarot podcasts I found on iTunes and queued up a few to listen to.  The other part of this is prioritizing time to listen.  I used my 30 minute drive to work in the morning to squeeze in a podcast listen.  You can listen while cooking, cleaning, driving, running, etc.  Those times in between...those are good times to bust out your book or podcast.

2. Practice Mindfulness

This is another simple task that can be done in those times in between.  Mindfulness is just awareness.  Mindfulness is focusing on the moment and on the task at hand.  When making your coffee in the morning instead of going over your to do list and looking at the dishes in the sink take the 5 minutes you're prepping your coffee to just be aware: what does the world around you smell like?  What does the coffee maker sound like?  What does your mug feel like?  What does the sugar entering the mug sound like?  How do you feel in this moment?  You can incorporate even breathing, etc.  Just be aware of your surroundings.  A great place to start a mindfulness practice is in your skincare routine - you'll hopefully be alone in the bathroom for at least a minute and the act is very tactile.  So you can take a moment to just be.

Mindfulness can help fill your cup so that you can show up for yourself and for others more completely.


3. Meditation

Developing a mediation practice can be as simple as using the Breathe app on your Apple Watch (I do this so often!).  Just like mindfulness, you're taking a moment to be present.  You can have a more intentional mindfulness practice with meditation by creating a space for yourself to spend time with yourself.  This can be a room or space in your home or even one of those times in between - like waiting for a friend to meet you for coffee.  Take a moment while you're sitting in the parking lot at work to drift into a relaxed mindset.  You can use something like visualization or even an essential oil you're fond of to help get you into your meditative mindset.

4. Practice Self Reflection

Often this is outlined as journaling.  I'm not a great journaler - I'll blog somethings and maybe include short self reflective tidbits in my memory planner, but all in all I'm not a good journal keeper.  I think it is more important to be self reflective and to examine myself, my life, and my actions often to see where I'm at.  Creative ways to do this aren't limited to journaling but to creating and keeping vision boards so that you can see how far you've come, keeping planner & expressing your creativity, or even blogging!  Self reflection ensures that you're actually growing and developing.  Sometimes those little time hop things on Facebook are very helpful for seeing where we've been compared to where we are now.  And, if you're unhappy with where you are....then you are able to set an intention to change that!

5. Set Small Goals

Speaking of setting intentions to change, try setting small goals.  I used to set 4 simple goals a month because I realized I just wasn't really working towards anything.  I was kinda coasting through life just hanging out and I really wanted to be doing something (anything!).  Setting smaller goals - go to bed earlier, wake up earlier, clean the living room each week, put the dishes away, make sure you moisturize - can help you develop and over all bigger routine.  This routine can enhance your daily life be reducing the emotional burden you have by needing to make decisions that could be left to routine.  Achieving small goals can also build up your confidence & momentum when it comes to accomplishing bigger goals.

6. Try Something New

Break out of your comfort zone.  Trying something new means you're not keeping yourself in a box.  This box could feel restrictive or destructively habitual.  It is best to do something new as soon as you feel the urge.  I signed up for a watercolor class at my local Micheal's as soon as I found out it was happening because I new if I thought about it I'd chicken out!  If you get the urge, and it's feasible, try something new!


7. Invest in Yourself

Much like the one above, if you've been wanting to try something new make that a priority.  The more you invest in your desires the more you'll find personal success.  Want to start a new hobby? Prioritize that in your life.  Want to go back to school?  Prioritize that in your life.  Need a new set of interview clothes? Invest in that!  You are worthy of your desires and you should invest your time & available resources into the things that will create a better you and better your life.

8. Discover your Personal Mantra

Working daily with affirmations can help shift your mindset.  You may find yourself drawn to certain types of quotes, words, or mantras that help you feel inspired.  Take time to develop a personal mantra to live by and make sure it aligns fully with who you are as a person.  Create a Pinterest board or even a wall of sticky notes with words that speak to you.  Recite them daily until you feel their truth!  I highly suggest you reading my post on self-deprecating here

9. Make Small Changes

Small changes in your lifestyle allow you to live more authentically.  For me, I've been attempting to reduce my dependence on single use/disposable items.  Prioritizing using microfiber towels over paper towels, refusing plastic straws, and prioritizing reusable storage over plastic baggies have been small changes that have led to a bigger awareness in my life.  Take the time to make small changes that align with your personal mantra & you will begin to live more authentically.

10. Practice Gratitude

Being thankful for what we have can shift our mindset.  Not only should we be thankful in times of happiness but we should practice gratitude in our down times as well.  If you're frustrated with a situation finding gratitude around the problem can help shift your mindset into a solution.   Take a moment during each day - when you wake up, before bed, at your lunch break, on your drive home - and list three things you're grateful for.  Even the simplest things you can express gratitude for because it allows you to be mindful of what you really have in your life!

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Personal development also isn't extremely linear.  We can have up days and down days, we can have setbacks and comebacks...but overall we just want to be better than the people we were yesterday!  Be sure to sign up for the newsletter above to get creative inspiration for being your best self straight to you inbox.  You'll receive blog updates, essential oil information, creative freebies, and general chit chat.

If you're interested in working towards your personal development goals with a group of creative individuals like yourself, check out the Live & Create group on FacebookThis group focuses on mindfulness & intentional living through productivity, creative planning, & personal growth.  Request to join here!  You can also join the Printable of the Month club over on Patreon for an exclusive planner printable every month.

What small goals do you set for yourself daily?

xoxo, Moe

9.11.2018

How to Create a Personal Altar in Shared Spaces

Sometimes our spiritual practices might weird people out.  Why do you have all those rocks? people ask.  What's all this stuff on this table? they'll say.  Often as their picking items up and turning them over in their hands.  Keeping a discreet altar - whether in your home, office, or dorm room - can have an array of benefits with out having to explain things to curious folks.  Though, I am always down for it personally...it can be kind of distracting.
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Creating an altar in your personal space is important.  Whether it is for ritualistic practices or a place for peace and meditation, we often don't want to have our personal spaces invaded or feel odd for having them in the first place.  Keeping a discreet altar space can be perfect for those still in the broom closet or those who share a common space - like a shared apartment or dorm room, or for a more intimate office setting.  Personally, I have a big ol altar at home in my spare room that I don't care if anyone sees but when it comes to keeping somethings on my office desk - for personal power, calming vibes, and just all around comfort - I choose to do something discreetly that doesn't even seem like an altar at all!

Items to Include on your Altar

While everyone has different things on their altars here are a few key pieces to keep in mind:

The Elements 

You can represent the elements - fire, air, earth, water - in various ways.  Add plants for earth, an essential oil diffuser for air & water, etc.  You can also charge these things with your intentions as you set up your work space.  The great thing about a diffuser is that you can choose certain oils with certain correspondences but you can also charge the water with your intentions as you fill your diffuser for the day.

Deity Correspondences 

Different knick knacks on your desk can have different associations to certain deities if that is a part of your practice.  You don't need to have an all out dedicated statue that may seem out of place (we're attempting to be discreet here) but just a little tchotchke with your personal deities will add just a touch of reverence to your space.

Current/Relevant Spellwork

This may be something that might only apply if you're currently doing any spellwork around your place of business - maybe keeping a money spell present, etc.  Not something totally necessary but you may find a place for it.

Personal Power Objects

While a little woo woo for my office, I used to keep the current crystals I was working with on my desk.  These were visual reminders for me throughout the day for certain energies and emotions I was attempting to usher into my life.  Same with the essential oils I'd use.  You can also choose other tchotchke like items that have a certain personal power significance to you but that aren't necessarily woo woo.

Creating Your Altar, Discreetly

Like I mentioned, at home I go all out with what I've got on my altar - crystals, boxes, oils, incense, animal totems, sabbat decorations, I mean it's endless (and often a mess!).  But in smaller or more public spaces, we can be more choosy or specific.

 Work Space Altar

Shop this Look

Depending on where you work, your personal space may have very different types of decor.  The example above has a sleek look and features a lot of light.  This is a great little space to feel inspired!  I imagine the person in this office getting so much stuff done!

My personal desk space at work isn't as elegant as this so I choose to express my quirky fun side with some plant Shopkins (yes, I'm a 30 year old woman who thinks shopkins are the cutest), my diffuser, and other objects that remind me to lighten up.  My job can be kind of intense with a lot of frantic energy so fun little objects that lighten the mood and cheerful essential oils keep me in the good vibes category!

Dorm Room Altar

Shop this Look

I think most of the time in a dorm room or shared apartment we're among like minded people so it might not be too weird to have some of these things around your space. But we still might not be ready for a ton of questions.  Creating a small altar space on your desk, night stand, or little shelf in your room can make our shared spaces seem a little more sacred.

When I was in college I loved to have small collections of inspiring nick knacks.  These little collections of things really made me fill at home and gave me a space to feel inspired.

Creating these personal altars bring a feeling of safety to our spaces.  We feel at home and we feel like we can still work on our personal goals.  Sometimes we are asked to be different people in different spaces - at work I'm not going to blabber on about chakras (unless someone asks) - so bringing elements of ourselves into these spaces can give us a sense of purpose.

If you'd like to learn more about crystals, essential oils, chakras, etc head on over to join the Live & Create Facebook group where we talk about mindful & creative living through productivity, planning, and personal growth!

Do you personalize your spaces?  Do you have a personal altar at work?

xoxo, Moe

9.06.2018

How to Write Actionable To Do Lists (and Why You Should)

To do lists are a big part of my planning routine.  They don't usually reside on my weekly pages (though there are exceptions to the rule!) because I like to write specific and actionable lists - so I break things down.  This requires extra space in my planner - either graph filler paper, extra inserts, or sticky notes.
this post contains affiliate links, please read my full disclosure here.

If you've ever looked at your planner and felt complete overwhelm, then an actionable to do list might be something you should focus on.

How to Write Actionable To-Do Lists

Brain Dump

First, you may find there's too much in your head to keep anything straight.  Make it a habit to brain dump all your thoughts & to do's into one master list somewhere in your planner.  This is going to be the place you turn to when you need to get it all out...it will be your master list (and it will be messy!).  Give yourself permission to get messy, scribble, and get it all out.  From here you can prioritize and even eliminate.  Refer to this list often - you will add to it and you will subtract from it, but you may also find you will eliminate the things that are either no longer important, not worth your time, or are unnecessary.

Get Specific

From your brain dump it is time to get specific.  Which projects are you working on?  Which big tasks can you see?  This is especially helpful if you're running something like a blog - instead of marking down write posts, get specific and write down exactly which posts need to be written.  Then you can, again, prioritize from there.  It may help to have a few different sections in your brain dump area - one master list, then other lists around certain areas of your life.  But don't make this too complicated.  Come up with a method that works that you can quickly refer to and fill in as time goes by.  Make it something you'll actually use.

3 Action Steps

Once you've prioritized your list - like outlined the specific posts you'd like to write on your blog - then you can get to the action steps.  I am a big fan of 3 action steps under each to-do.  This helps you realize exactly what needs to be done & shows you your progress as you move through the steps.  It also makes completing the whole task easier because you're seeing the bigger picture.  Once you get into this routine you can also start to see how certain actions over lap to other tasks and you're more likely to complete them out of habit!  It can be as simple as outlining laundry in your planner - wash, fold, put away.  For me seeing the steps means even if I haven't completed everything I can check my progress and feel more productive.

If your to-do is a bigger project you can make a project planning page in your planner to house everything that needs to be done.  For inspiration, check out my wedding planning video where I use the project planning pages to outline this big project!  I also use the project stickers from the Student Sticker Books when I need to plan out projects.  

Why You Should Write Actionable To-Do Lists

Short answer: because you get more done!

Actionable to do lists help us plan better.  They help us allot time in a more efficient way, help us prioritize tasks, and help us say no to things that won't or don't serve us.  Through actionable to-do lists we can meet ourselves where we are and eliminate overwhelm.  We can understand how long it takes us to complete tasks & that can help us estimate our abilities in the future.

When we're breaking up tasks into their moving parts we're seeing the bigger picture and are able to understand a timeline better...even if it's just a Sunday afternoon and we need to get laundry done for the week!

Ever since I started creating a plan of action rather than a running to do list, I've been able to get projects done on a better time line!  No parts are missed, nothing is left to the last minute, and there's nothing unexpected.  One of the best parts is being able to translate what I've learned from one project or task into another, similar task or project.  I've also sort of been able to create 'templates' of reoccurring tasks to help me in the future.

Want to find some printable planner inserts that can help organize your life?  Check out the Etsy shop here for A5 & Personal Size inserts. Or join the Printable of the Month Club over on Patreon for an exclusive printable each month!

How do you write to do lists?  What helps you get the most done?

xoxo, Moe

9.04.2018

Beginners Guide to Blending Essential Oils

Creating your own essential oil blends can be a great way to develop your intuition and improve your emotional (and physical) wellness.  Blending essential oils can seem to be an intimidating task!  Perhaps you've gotten yourself a starter kit or you've collected essential oils that you feel drawn too, but you're not sure how to blend them to get the best emotional and/or physical benefits.  Well....let's get you on your blending way.
this post contains affiliate links, please read my full disclosure here.

I've share quite a few seasonally specific blending guides as well as an in depth look at traveling with essential oils but this post is all about helping you create your own blends for your own needs.  Below is the exact way I started to learn about blending essential oils and I can't wait to share it with you.  You can also find some information on using essential oils topically here.  Check out all the essential oils posts on the blog here.  Let's get started.

Essential Oil Categories

Citrus

Wild Orange, Lemon, Bergamot, Lime - these oils are fruity, fresh, & clean.  Most often citrus oils are top notes.  Citrus oils are great for adding a fresh kick to your blend and can help to remove odors & purify the air.

Spice

Cinnamon Bark, Cardamom, Black Pepper, Cassia - these oils are warm & deep.  Some oils in this category can often have a resinous scent - slightly sweet or with a vanilla like tone - to them.  This attribute is called 'balsamic'.  Oils in the category are often middle to base notes that add an interesting layer to a blend.

Herbal

Thyme, Basil, Rosemary, Marjoram - these oils are herbaceous.  They smell green, herby, and grassy.  Oils in this category are fresh & sharp and often are middle notes.  They can add a spring time vibe to your blends.

Mint

Spearmint, Wintergreen, Peppermint - these oils have a minty fresh kick.  Sometimes falling in the herbaceous category (Rosemary & Peppermint are related to each other!) but they have a distinct pep when added to your blends.  Most often these are top notes.

Wood

Arborvitae, Cedarwood, Sandalwood - these are all wood oils with a grounding scent.  These oils evoke a sense of stability.  The scent is rich & woody.  These fragrances are middle to base notes and can round off a relaxing blend.

Floral

Lavender, Geranium, Ylang Ylang - these floral oils smell soft, feminine, and powdery.  Floral oils are mostly middle notes.  These scents can be relaxing & supportive.


Getting Started

First off, determine the goal of the blend.  Are you looking for immune support?  Are you feeling nauseous?  Are you looking to relax?  Are you looking to focus?  Determine what the purpose or end goal of the diffuser blend is.  This will help you decide which oils to use.

Then, begin to gather a group of oils that fit the purpose or goal your going for.  If you'd like focus choose oils from the herbaceous, citrus, and mint categories.  If you'd like to feel relaxed choose wood & floral oils.  If you'd like to feel motivated choose citrus, minty, & spicy oils.  If you're looking for an immune supporting blend choose citrus, spice, and herbaceous.  Need digestive relief? Choose a mint, floral, and herbaceous oil.

Once you've chosen a few oils from each category designed to target your end goal, you can begin to pair them together.  There's no rule saying you can't have two of the same category oil in your blend so you can start by pairing together two citrus oils, two herbaceous oils, and so on.  Once  you get a little bit brave you can start to bring in other oils in the categories you've chosen to create blends you love.

More Blending Tips

Keep a Journal

Writing down your blends - including how many drops you used - will help you decide what you personally like & what you personally find effective.  For me I know that adding in too much Peppermint to any blend will be too overpowering for me. I've translated this into how I approach other minty oils like Spearmint, Wintergreen, and the Breathe blend.  Your journal doesn't have to be super fancy, you can even just make notes in your phone!

Get Creative

When you get brave enough just grab a base note, middle note, & top note OR an oil from a few of the categories above and just see what happens!  You may find an interesting combo you never would have tried before!  You can pick a few oil bottles, uncap them, and then hold the group of caps under your nose to see if their scents work nicely together.  Sub out different oils until you find a blend you like.  This is where cap labels can come in handy!  You don't want to mix up your tops or you'll have a hard time doing this creative experiment again.


Store your Blends

Before you make a giant 5ml bottle of a blend you think you'll use all the time make a smaller batch in a 5/8 dram bottleI phase through blends I make very quickly especially when I'm inspired.  When I first started making blends I'd want to make a bottle to keep and use later....but then I'd get bored!  So these smaller bottles are prefect to create a smaller blended batch & not waste the essential oils.  And you can travel with these better too!  You can also get smaller roller bottles in order to test out any topical blends.

Choose High Quality Oils

Essential oils are a popular thing right now leading a ton of companies to want to get in on the boom.  This creates a situation where in order for companies to make the most buck, they cut corners.  As there is little regulation on what can be labeled a 100% pure essential oil, bottles found in the grocery store, home good stores, and even health food stores may not be the best quality.  They may be cut with synthetic fragrance oils or other carrier oils that dilute the purity & efficacy of the oil itself.  I choose to use doTERRA Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade Oils for a myriad of reasons - one of the most important being quality.  DoTERRA tests each & every batch of oils prior to bottling to ensure quality, purity, & efficacy.  They also source high quality plant matter and process the raw materials near where they are grown.

Using high quality oils not only ensures that nothing unnecessary will enter your body if you're using these blends topically but it also ensure the fragrant profile of the essential oil is preserved.  Working with a low quality lavender oil may not yield the same effects as working with a higher quality oil.  Any synthetic fragrances may cause headaches or other adverse health effects....when the whole point is to help yourself out!


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Creating your own essential oil blends is a great way to connect to your oils and get used to their physical & emotional applicationsDoTERRA offers a chemistry handbook with more information on the chemical make up of oils and which oils blend together well based on their chemistry.  This can add another level to your blending and works great to create things like cleaning solutions & skin care serums.  

The proprietary blends offered by doTERRA can add another layer to your blending creativity as well. One of my favorite books regarding the emotional associations for essential oils is Emotions & Essential Oils.  This book elaborates on the emotional balancing properties of both the single oils & proprietary blends.  You can cross reference an emotion your feeling or an emotion you'd like to feel with oils that can help with that situation.  The book also offers an emotional wheel that outlines which oils are great for different emotions.

I hope you found this post helpful and feel inspired to get started creating your own personal diffuser & roller bottle blends.  It is a great exercise in both creativity & intuition! If you'd like to learn more about working with essential oils everyday join the Live & Create Facebook group!

Do you create your own blends? What is your favorite essential oil blend?

xoxo, Moe

Disclaimer :: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

8.30.2018

Mindful Living with Words of Affirmation // Hallmark Review

Living a mindful life for me has evolved into a multi faceted journey.  First it started with just more awareness in my daily life, then I decided to go cruelty free with my make up, which then evolved into a low-tox lifestyle, and has now moved into nurturing my relationships with others.  This year, in 2018, my word of the year is Authentic.  I am focusing on living the best, truest version of myself and this involves investment in personal relationships.
I was compensated for this post. This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.  Read my full disclosure here.

I have to say I am not one to send cards.  For me, it's not a priority but the thing a card says is 'hey, I care about you.'  And in that simple act you can really enhance or build a relationship with someone you care about.  As I grow older I'm reminded of the cards I received on birthdays, holidays, & smaller occasions and I want to make this a priority in my life going forward.
Which is why I'm excited to have been sent this fun little box from Dollar Tree to share with you!  Today, August 30th each of the 6500 Dollar Tree stores nation wide will begin to carry Expressions from Halmark at $1 each and Heartline a Hallmark Company at 2 for $1 - two super affordable card lines!  This means that you'll be able to celebrate life's amazing moments - both big & small - with wonderful cards that won't break the bank.

There are also 4 additional lines being carried at select stores to help us connect even closer with our loved ones:
Mahogany: Mahogany enhances emotional connections among family, friends, and the community, and celebrates what is most beloved about Black culture.
Vida: VIDA expresses the voice of Latinos across generations, bringing them closer together to celebrate life’s special moments.
Tree Of Life: Tree of Life brings Jewish family and friends together to celebrate their faith and culture by honoring meaningful holidays and milestones.
Joyfully Yours: Joyfully Yours lets family and friends express their faith in just the right way during holidays, special occasions, and moments big and small.
One of my Love Languages is Words of Affirmation.  I love to give compliments and share encouraging words because I also love to hear those same things!  The cards that Dollar Tree is offering now are both high quality and relatable.  The card stock these guys are made from is thick and the cards seem substantial. I feel like sometimes when we skimp on the card, it shows - whether it's poorly made, the sentiment is kinda off, or it just seems dated - a bad card can throw off the whole vibe that we're going for.  These cards have such sweet sentiments and delicate touches that your loved ones will totally feel appreciated.  They aren't hokey and no one will know you only spent a dollar!
I can't wait to give these guys to my friends, family, and coworkers to express my gratitude & celebrate life's little moments!  Check out more of the fun sentiments here on the Dollar Tree website and while you're there, check out this project.  I totally want to create a ready to go system where I can grab a card and give!  The best thing is this is so affordable I almost can't believe it!

How do you show your loved ones you care?  Are you excited for these new lines from Dollar Tree?

ps. check out another amazing Dollar Tree DIY post here!

8.15.2018

Three Tips for a Successful Planner

Planning has become an obsession of mine.  I started out with just a mini binder from Target and now I have too many shelves of planners that I don't know what to do with.  But while those guys sit unused, I've been focusing on my Mini Happy Planner for ages now.......but just to switch things up I'm playing around with a Classic Size! What???
this post contains affiliate links, please read my full disclosure here.

Something I hear a lot about in the planning community is planner peace.  While this looks different for everyone it is often a long journey & sometimes feels unsuccessful.  Planning should be two things:

  1. About you & your needs
  2. F U N
Yes, we're using this system to get things done but we should also be focusing on how planning affects us.  If we're having fun and feeling inspired we're more likely to get things done & feel productive.  That is why I like to functionally decorate my planner.  Sometimes pretty does serve a purpose...if you want to live an inspired life you've gotta surround yourself with inspiring things.

Here are my 3 tips for a successful planner

Watch YouTube Videos

Now, when you watch these guys don't go getting a case of #FOMO (fear of missing out).  You're watching these videos to get ideas on what you may want to include in your planner.  I can't tell you how many times I still watch a Mini Happy Planner set up video to see how others are using their planners.  When it comes to the Happy Planner line a lot of people call this style of planning frankenplanning because you're taking different parts of different planners or accessories and putting them together.  I don't think I have a Frankenplanner....I just think I have a set up that works for me!  If you want to see my most current Mini Happy Planner set up for some inspiration, check it out here.


Plan your Planner

Now that you have an idea of the sections you might want to include in your planner it is time to figure out how you'll use them.  I love to plan my planners and you can often find a section in my planner about ideas for my planner.  This is all about making the planner work for you.  

If you have a plan then you're not out there all willy nilly buying planner supplies you don't know how to use.  If you see something out there you like consider how you'll use it.  Make a plan for it.  This will save you money & save your sanity!  This goes for any planner system, not the just the Happy Planner!

Experiment

The final tip is to just see what happens!  If you find yourself really interested in a system but you're not quite sure how you'll use it just go for it.  I recently used a 50% off coupon on a teacher planner from the Happy Planner just so I could see if I'd really like to use it as a social media planner. (spoilers I LOVE IT!)  I'm gonna make a good go of it and if it doesn't work out then I didn't spend too much and I can probably pass the rest on to someone else.

When you feel the call to do something...sometimes you shouldn't ignore it!  A system you're interested in may end up working perfect for you or you may learn something else about your needs that you can switch up later.  


There is no right or wrong way to plan.  Hell, even just putting a sticker down on paper serves a purpose for you - if it's inspiring just do it.  Planning is a creative & productive outlet for me so don't let anyone tell you that your way of planning isn't the right way.

If you'd like to test out some printable inserts to see what might work for you in your planner, check out the etsy shopI use some of the personal size inserts like the budget & week on one page in my Mini Happy Planner and love it.  You can also join the Printable of the Month Club over on Patreon to get a brand new planner printable each month.  Subscribe for only $3 here.

What planner system works for you? What have you tried that hasn't worked out?

xoxo, Moe

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