Friday, October 24, 2014

DIY Body Splash

Back in the day...("the day" being junior high)
...it was really cool to collect different flavors of body splashes from the wildly popular Bath & Body Works store. Remember? I was a little bit obsessed with them at one point and probably had 4-5 at any one time to choose from!

I've never really been a big perfume person. It always gave me a headache if it was too strong and I could never really find a scent I wanted to commit to. I really liked body splashes because the scent wasn't overpowering and it would wear off more quickly than real perfume.

Since using oils, I've discovered my perfume sensitivity is actually a sensitivity to synthetic scented substances, but pure plant extracts don't bother me at all. I'm still not 100% committed to a scent (let's face it I usually smell like a lot of different oils), but I do have one that I wear most often and I still think it smells so heavenly I can't even stand it.

It is an oil called Abundance and it is a blend of:

Orange (Citrus sinesis), frankincense (Boswellia carteri), patchouli (Pogostemon cablin), clove (Syzygium aromaticum), ginger (Zingiber officinale), myrrh (Commiphora myrrha), cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) and spruce (Picea mariana).
Image Courtesy of Young Living Essential Oils on Flickr.com

So the other day, I was reminiscing about body splash because I found an old one in our linen closet. It was some weird pear scent that I didn't even like, and then I had an a-ha moment! 

I poured the entire contents of the bottle down the drain without even one tinge of guilt (bye toxins!) and washed the bottle and spray nozzle out really well with hot hot water. Then I made the following recipe:

DIY BODY SPLASH

1 8oz spray bottle (new or used, plastic or glass is fine)
4oz purified water
4oz witch hazel
20 drops Abundance (or your favorite EO)

Combine all into your spray bottle and give it a good shake until mixed. 
Spritz on when you want a light mist of scent! 

Image courtesy of Felipe Ernesto at Flickr.com

Since there aren't any added emulsifiers in this, it will start to separate and the oil will rise to the top. Whenever you want to use, just shake really well for a few seconds and the oils and water/witch hazel will mix again. 

I LOVE having this on hand when I want a refresh right before I walk out the door. I had completely stopped using body splash a few years ago when I started rethinking all of my beauty products because I knew they were basically breathing in toxins. But having something handy and pre-made to use as a quick perfume spritz is so nice and convenient! 

If you'd like more information about Abundance oil, or are interested in learning more about Young Living Essential Oils, please send me an email at hbshanks@gmail.com or send me a message on facebook. I'd love to share more with you! 


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Bulletproof Chai

I've never been a big fan of bulletproof coffee. If you aren't familiar with it, it is basically coffee with coconut oil and grass-fed butter added to it and blended. It's supposed to give you laser focus and sustained energy or something. Anyway,  adding coconut oil and butter just seems to create an oil slick on the top of my coffee, which no matter how much I try, I just don't like.

But recently I heard someone mention a bulletproof chai latte, which sounded like it was worth a shot and it actually turned out delicious! Here's my "recipe":

Bulletproof Chai "Latte"
2 cups hot brewed chai tea (I like this kind)
1 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
1 Tbsp grass-fed butter (I use Kerrygold brand)
1 Tbsp honey or maple syrup (optional)
2-4 Tbsp organic half/half or heavy cream (yum)

Add your ingredients to a blender and blend for a few minutes. You'll need your tea to still be hot so the coconut oil and butter will melt. It will turn frothy and creamy! 

Makes 2 servings - for sharing...or seconds. 

I can't say I've notced laser-sharp focus or anything but it is a fun, tasty fall drink that is quick and easy to make! Hope you enjoy!!

Image Courtesy of Yasmina Haryono on Flickr.com

Monday, October 20, 2014

Essential Oil Drawer Inserts

My husband is pretty much the best. He is super supportive of my essential oil habit and is gracious to let me go out and teach classes and spend time with my team and others. He even *sometimes* uses the oils himself!!

Several months ago, I asked if we could convert a drawer in our kitchen to somehow store all of our oils in an organized way. I was getting sick of oils being literally all over the house and never having a "home" where we could find what we needed quickly. He went downstairs and drilled some holes into a piece of plywood and cut it to fit one of our kitchen drawers, and I was thrilled!

It didn't take me very long to fill up every hole with an oil and we were out of room. Oops.

THEN he decided to make all of our wildest dreams come true and came up with the new and improved version of the oil drawer using a drawer organizer insert.





The end result is AMAZING, as you can see, and fits 101 different bottles of oil, plus has extendable sides so you can fit your capsules, sample bottles, carrier oil, and other accessories all in one place!

It is made of bamboo with a solid wood insert in the middle where he has drilled the holes which fit the 5ml and 15ml bottles perfectly! When I saw how awesome it was, I told him he needed to offer to make them for other people, too! He is selling them via an Etsy shop, and you can have him make one for you for $75 here!

 Each drawer will come with a set of the bottle labels from Young Living so you can easily see the names of your oils on top of the cap (best idea ever!).

I can't tell you how nice it is to have all of our oils in one place with all of our accessories right there with them! It makes choosing an oil so much easier and if one of us needs to use one, we aren't asking or wondering what happened to the oil we need! Plus it looks impressive to roll out a whole kitchen drawer full of oily goodness.

Now you know what you want for Christmas, right?!

If you have questions about the drawers or about Young Living essential oils, send me an email at hbshanks@gmail.com, visit me here or contact Loren through Etsy! (If you are local, contact us FIRST before paying for shipping!)

Friday, October 17, 2014

High Five for Friday!

Happy Friday! 

Linkin up with The Lauren Elizabeth to share my top five things from this week!


1. Gorgeous weather. This is one of my favorite parts of the year with all the sunshine and brisk temperatures! 

2. Winter Squash. I get a little obsessed with squash when it starts appearing in markets in the fall. We've been trying all kinds of new squashes lately because I went a little nuts when they all went on sale recently. Last week I roasted a kabocha squash  which turned out tasty. And this week I roasted a delicata squash, which was amazing. It reminded me a lot of a sweet potato, except a little sweeter. All I did was drizzle with coconut oil and salt and roast for 30 minutes! Squash candy. So good.
Butternut Friend
3. Royals! Ok so I am totally a fair-weather fan and really (still) don't care much for baseball. But it is WAY exciting to live in KC these days! We can ALL relate on some level with a good underdog story and the Royals have one of the best! I think it's pretty cool all the people who have stuck with the Royals as loyal die-hard fans for so long, and now all their dreams for their team are coming true! 

4. Engage-iversary! Yesterday marked 5 years from the day we got engaged! So fun to look back at all the pics from that season of life and reminisce. It was definitely the best choice I ever made! I would say yes a million times over again! 



5. My hubby's birthday is tomorrow! I just love him. He is always way more concerned about others than himself, and even more so when it's his birthday. We have a weekend full of celebrating planned - and a few college and NFL football games in there, too. I'm excited to have some time off together this weekend and enjoy this beautiful fall weather! And eat paleo chocolate cake. Yeah, that too. 

Hope you all have a beautiful weekend!! 

Friday, September 19, 2014

High Five for Friday!

This particular Friday deserves a particularly excited high-five, because I am sorely in need of a weekend! If you could have seen me at 6:30 (just kidding, I overslept) 7:30 this morning you would understand.

I'm linking up with Lauren over at The Lauren Elizabeth blog to share 5 things about this week.

1. We've had tons of activities going on lately! Sometimes it feels like hubby and I just pass each other briefly on our way to the next thing. It's all good stuff and such is life, but I am really really looking forward to not having any major plans this weekend. At least not ones that involve working!

2. It seems like fall came a little early this year, which I am totally okay with. Even though we had a really mild summer, it is so nice that the temperatures are cool enough to leave the windows open and enjoy being outside. Last weekend, we decided we HAD to do something to enjoy the perfect weather so we headed out to play some disc golf! Our little podunk town doesn't have many things to offer, but it does have a beautiful disc golf course surrounding the city lake. We took our dog and let her run (kind of) free in the fields and threw frisbees at baskets for awhile. I'm realizing more and more that being outdoors and doing something active is so good for you. Duh, kids know this that's why they love playing outside! I was never an active kid and always hated exercise until a few years ago, so it's a whole new experience to me to love being outdoors. Being in nature is good for the mind, emotions, and soul.

3. Some good friends of ours started an awesome little "support group" for those who want to learn more about eating a Paleo/Real Food lifestyle. Our first meeting was this past week and it was SO good I wish everyone in the world could have been there!! We shared resources and ideas and tips with each other and I came away even more inspired to be intentional about how I approach nutrition. (I'm sure I annoy the heck out of people who don't care one iota about nutrition and real food and natural lifestyle. Sorry. Maybe I was sent to be a thorn in your flesh...)

4.
I had a rotisserie chicken in the back of the car and she was sniffing like crazy trying to figure out where it was! If this face doesn't make your day, I don't know what will. (It makes mine!)

5. Black bean brownies. I made a batch on Sunday from Chocolate Covered Katie  and then tried a different recipe that a friend brought to small group on Tuesday night. Both were super chocolatey and fudgey and so hard to believe that they had black beans in them! I just love things like that where you can hide good stuff in something indulgent. Makes it feel a little bit less bad. 


Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend ahead! 


Monday, September 1, 2014

Homemade PSL!

September is here! It's my favorite month and the start of my favorite season (and everyone else in the world).

So a few days ago, I posted this article from on Facebook about the actual ingredients in the ever-popular Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. In addition to not actually being any pumpkin (no surprise there for me), it has synthetic caramel coloring that has been cited as being a carcinogen in some studies, in addition to around 50g of sugar.

Since then I've seen tons of articles and posts on social media about the PSL and arguments about whether 50g is actually a toxic dose of sugar and whether or not caramel coloring is linked to cancer, etc. Lots of people fighting ferociously for the right/personal permission to indulge in a PSL this season despite knowing whats in it.

Here's the deal...the occasional PSL isn't gonna kill you. 50g of sugar is concerning to me, and I personally don't appreciate that Starbucks insists on charging almost $5 for a coffee drink that is made with poor quality, GMO milk and crappy coffee. However, I understand the PSL is tasty and lots of people have a tradition of ringing in the fall season by drinking one.

We don't make a habit of going to Starbucks very often for the reasons I listed above. Since we try to only consume grass-fed organic dairy (when possible) and avoid sugar, I usually end up just getting black coffee and it usually tastes burnt. But, I do love pumpkin spice flavored things! So I set out to recreate my own version of a PSL at home.

Guess what? It's possible, and I made 16 servings for around $6. And it is DELICIOUS.

I looked at a bunch of different recipes, and the one I ended up mostly following was from Once a Month Meals. Mostly what I loved was their idea to divide it up into single servings and freeze it so you can have them on hand. Brilliant!

picture: not mine. PrimalPal.net, which actually looks to be kind of a cool thing! 


Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte (Cheap & Clean)

3 cups grass-fed, organic whole milk (I used Kalona brand)
1 can pumpkin (organic preferable. mine wasn't.)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract (or more to taste)

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on low-med for a few minutes. Taste to see if it meets your sweetness preference. I wanted to keep it lower in sugar, but you might want to add more maple syrup.

NOTE - I don't think I would use a different kind of sweetener for this recipe. I've seen ones that call for Stevia and Honey, but I really think the maple syrup adds to the autumn flavor of the drink. I think Honey or Stevia would add a weird flavor to the drink. But if you must, give it a shot.

Once blended, you have 2 options:

1. Add roughly 1/4 cup of the mixture to a 16oz coffee cup and add 12oz hot, strong coffee. Stir and enjoy! The pumpkin will melt and mix in.

2.  I put plastic wrap over a muffin tin and carefully poured the mixture into each muffin cup. Place in the freezer until hard, then pop out and store in a freezer bag or container. When you want to enjoy, just pop one of the little "pucks" into your coffee mug (overnight might be preferable to allow it to thaw) and pour 12oz hot, strong coffee over it. Yum!


Monday, August 18, 2014

Memory Lane: First Day of College

The last few days, my social media feeds have blown up with pictures of kiddos going back to school. It makes me almost kind of miss school! Almost.

I was reminiscing with myself today about school and college days, and remembered a pretty hilarious story about my first day of college at SBU. It had been a beautiful August weekend in Bolivar, but on Monday when classes started, we woke up to rain.

No worries. I was prepared with an umbrella!

I got up early and put on a cute outfit for the first day of school, and made sure I was all organized and prepared. I even left early to go to breakfast before my 9:00am class.

On my way in to the cafeteria, I gracefully tripped and fell into a puddle and got an entire leg of my jeans soaking wet and covered in mud. Not exactly the ideal way to start off a new semester in a brand new place.

So...instead of breakfast, back to the dorm I went to change my clothes.

Donning outfit #2 of the day, I decided to drive to my class instead of walk since it was still raining, figuring I could at least walk with my umbrella through the parking lot and make it to class relatively unscathed by the morning's events.

While I was changing my clothes and driving across campus to class, the rain decided to flip the switch to monsoon and started coming down in torrents. Awesome. I pulled into the parking lot and couldn't even hear the radio in my car because the rain was so loud outside.

Is it better to be late on the first day of class, or to arrive soaking wet? I was torn. There were really no good options left for making good first impressions on professors and classmates!

I decided to make a run for it. Convincing myself it sounded like it was "letting up" (it wasn't), I opened the door, whipped out my umbrella and ran for it! About 3 seconds into my sprint through the torrential rain, my umbrella flipped inside out and rendered itself completely useless, so that was nice.

I arrived to my very first class looking like I had just stepped out of a fully clothed shower. Not a single inch of me was dry. Thankfully, other classmates also arrived wet....but nobody looked quite as soaked as I felt.

Oh, but it gets better still! My first class that day was Introduction to Public Speaking.
And everyone knows that in a college speech class, the very first day is impromptu introduction speeches.
Yep. That's right.
I gave my first college presentation looking like a wet dog.

Humble pie was served that day.

Thankfully, I can look back and laugh now at how ridiculous that day was!
Hopefully your back to school days go better than mine!