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  • Essential Oils: 5 Simple Faves for Home + Beauty

    Essential Oils: 5 Simple Faves for Home + Beauty

    When you think of essential oils, what comes to mind?

    A massage, maybe? Aromatherapy? When a friend first introduced me to oils, I had no idea how much they would change my life. I was simply looking for a way to go more "natural" when it came to the many products I was using. To simplify. 

    What I discovered was a whole new way to take care of myself, my family (and friends!), and our home. They are soothing, cleansing, calming, supportive, energizing, protective, and balancing to mind, body, and spirit -- and beyond. Their uses are seemingly endless. You will be amazed at the power of pure, exceptionally high quality essential oils.

    But for now, I'd like to introduce you to just a few: My top five must-have essential oils for home and beauty! They are: Lemon, Lavender, Melaleuca, a special blend of protective oils I love, and Frankincense.

    LEMON

    Lemon essential oil is a little bottle of joy! All of the citrus oils are! (I love Grapefruit and Orange, too!)

    Pop open the top, close your eyes, and take a deep breath in. Immediately, you begin to feel uplifted. It naturally promotes positivity and cognitive ability, and it's also wonderful for both beauty and keeping your home sparkling clean. A couple simple tips:

    • HOME: Make your own multipurpose spray cleaner! Lemon cleanses and purifies the air and surfaces. Need to freshen the air? Pop some Lemon in the diffuser, or make your own "Fresh Air" spray with just a simple glass spray bottle, water, and 15 drops of Lemon. (A few drops in a bowl of baking soda is super effective, too!) Bonus: Lemon essential oil is amazing for removing all things sticky, from glue to gum and even permanent marker!
    • BEAUTY: Try just 1 drop of Lemon essential oil in a big glass of water. (Stir it in to mix evenly.) It naturally cleanses the body and aids in digestion. And healthy digestion equals glowing skin - plus a whole host of other benefits! It also helps to ward off free radicals with its antioxidant properties, so drink up!

    LAVENDER

    Lavender essential oils is widely used and touted for its calming and relaxing qualities. Who couldn't use a little more of that?

    These days, with our crazy schedules and the unfortunate glorification of busy, one of the best things we most need to do for ourselves (and the people we love) is slow down. And that can be tough! Find comfort and ease in Lavender. 

    • HOME: Diffuse 3-5 drops of Lavender essential oil at bedtime to help slow things down and get ready for a restful night of sleep. Have guests coming? Go fancy on them and spritz a bit of Lavender water (mix 2 oz. of water and 10 drops of Lavender in a spray bottle) on their pillows and in their rooms. Smells aaahmazing and will ease the tensions of the day. 
    • BEAUTY: Lavender is soothing to the skin. Whether we're talking daily beauty routine (add a drop to your moisturizer for glowing skin) or a homemade after-sun balm (the absolute best thing you can use for too much sun), Lavender's got ya covered, helping skin to recover quickly. My first (and a classic favorite) combination for an all-natural deodorant that really works(!) also calls for Lavender. Dare you to give it a try - and experience how well it works for yourself.

    MELALEUCA

    Also known as Tea Tree, Melaleuca essential oil is renowned for its cleansing and rejuvenating effect on the skin. But it's also incredible for helping to freshen and purify the air. It's seemingly limitless applications have earned it the nickname of "the gentle giant". I love it for:

    • HOME: Make your toilet shine with a DIY toilet cleaner combo of 10 drops of Melaleuca, 1/2 a cup of baking soda, and a 1/4 cup of vinegar. Amazing, I tell you! (I like to add 10 drops of Lemon, too!)
    • BEAUTY: Melaleuca promotes a clear, healthy complexion. I used Melaleuca (along with Lavender) in an all-natural after Shave lotion for my husband- that he loves! Try adding a drop to your moisturizer - or even your shampoo!. It also soothes minor skin irritations. And remember: A little goes a long way! I love the combination of Lavender and Melaleuca for any of the minor skin stuff that comes along with summer - especially for the little people in our lives!

    MAKE YOUR OWN PROTECTIVE BLEND

    The gorgeous "protective" blend of Orange, Clove, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary essential oils is a powerful, natural, and effective combo for immune support. It smells like Fall and Winter to me - spicy, warm, energizing, uplifting, and soothing - but it's wonderful year-round.

    • HOME: It's safe to use on countertops, as a non-toxic way to cleanse surfaces, or to cleanse the atmosphere by diffusing. Make your own cleanser, hand wash, air freshener, laundry detergent. I love knowing that the products I'm using in my home are non-toxic and health-supportive. Taking out the trash? Give the inside of your trashcan a spray with a simple mix of water + this blend of oils (10 drops of the blend in 2 oz. of water) combo! (I use that same spray for an on-the-go hand cleanser, too!)
    • BEAUTY: This blend is also wonderful for purifying the skin while promoting healthy circulation. Try a drop, massaged into the bottoms of your feet, each night before bed. I also love it for oral health! I use it in my toothpaste, add a drop to water to make mouthwash, and add a drop to a spoonful of sesame or coconut oil for oil pulling. 

    FRANKINCENSE

    I can't wrap up my top 5 without mentioning my favorite oil of all: Frankincense. Royal, resin, and woody, Frankincense is considered the King of Oils. Why? Among other things, it helps build and maintain a healthy immune system. It promotes cellular health, reduces the appearance of blemishes, rejuvenates skin, and promotes feelings of peace, relaxation, satisfaction, and overall wellness. Heavy hitter, right? 

    • HOME: Frankincense smells intoxicatingly wonderful - and uplifts the mood. Diffuse 3-5 drops of Frankincense (I love it with Orange, too) in your home to promote ease and emotional balance. If you meditate (it will change your life), try starting your practice with a drop of Frankincense in the palms of your hands, slowly inhaled over a few deep breaths. Or: Rub 1 drop of Frankincence under your nose and massage into the base of your skull. 
    • BEAUTY: Nourish your skin this summer (and year-round) with Frankincense. It promotes youthful, radiant looking skin and slows the signs of aging. This is the main oil I use on my skin, and I use it every single day! A drop in a carrier oil (like jojoba, coconut, or sesame) massaged into your skin (or even along with your moisturizer) is fantastic. Try a DIY clay facial mask! Talk about self-care. Smells and feels amazing!

     
    Have I piqued your interest? One thing that's absolutely crucial when it comes to oils (and most things in life!) is QUALITY - and that you're using only the highest quality of oils (pure therapeutic grade, sourced indeigenously, thorough testing) in your homes and on your bodies. 
    It's truly become a passion of mine to support people in learning how to properly use essential oils and incorporate them into their daily lives. So if YOU'd like to learn more about my favorite essential oils and try them for yourself, check out the Essential Oils section of my website - or reach out to me here. I love hearing from you!

    [Originally published on the beautiful Lenore Design!]
  • How To Make The Most Of Your Lunch Break

    How To Make The Most Of Your Lunch Break

    On Sundays the atrium is a quiet place. Light fills the open space, flowing in from above and all around, creating a peaceful calm that’s difficult to find in a busy city hospital.

    It’s not often I sit here on my lunch break. Because most days aren’t like Sundays.

    When I first started working here, I’d go to the cafeteria every day. I’d eat with my wonderful preceptor – and we’d talk about work, life, and recipes. She was a model of a nurse. Honest, full of integrity, and genuinely concerned with the health of her patients. I was lucky to have her.

    After orientation, when I was on my own, I’d often allow myself fifteen minutes of my break to catch up on charting. Something my preceptor highly discouraged.

    This is your break time. Get faster/better at keeping up – or catch up later. Take this time for you.

    She was right.

    Now that I no longer need to catch up on my lunch break (it just comes with practice), I seek a quiet spot. An empty room, a tiny green space outside (when it’s warm), or the break room (when it’s not full).

    I know what I need to slow my heart rate, breathe, and disconnect for those precious 45 minutes. Maybe I’ll catch up on a few personal emails. Call my love. Or listen to an audiobook. I’ll steep a cup of peppermint tea, listen to a favorite song, or take a walk outside – if only for a few minutes. 

    This break is important. Essential. I’ve been saying for years that we should have naptime built into our schedules. Imagine how much more focused, productive, and positive the rest of the workday would be!

    Even when I’m working from home, I need this midday pause. A mindful lunch, a music break, a moment to look around and appreciate the world and what I’ve got. 

    You’re out there doing awesome work in the world. You’re driven, passionate, determined. So don’t forget to stop and breathe. And eat. And take care of yourself. So you can keep doing what you do best. 

    Need some ideas to make the most of your break time? 

    1. Stop doing work. Leave your workspace. And minimize screen time.

    2. Take several slow breaths – in your nose for five seconds, out your mouth for five seconds – before you eat.

    3. Eat real food, preferably the kind you made at home.

    4. Eat mindfully. Give thanks for your food. Chew it well. And put your fork down between bites.

    5. If possible, go outside. Go for a walk in the sunshine.

    6. Do something that relaxes you. Get some music therapy. Today I can’t stop listening to this song. Or make yourself a cup of tea. (I love peppermint because it's energizing.)

    7. Make new friends. Eat lunch or have a conversation with someone you haven’t before. You might be surprised at what you’ll learn.

    8. Catch up with people you love with a quick phone call, message, or email.

    9. Read a book. Or listen to one.

    10. If time allows, squeeze in a little shut-eye or simply lie down and breathe for a few minutes.


    OVER TO YOU


    The underlying message here is to take this time for you.
    So how do you make the most of your lunch break?
    And is there one thing you'd like to try from the list above?  

    LOVE,
    Katie
    XO

  • It's Really NOT All About The Vegetables

    It's Really NOT All About The Vegetables

    Health Coaching the very natural and obvious answer to a question I'd been asking myelf for years.

    How can I do what I love and make a meaningful difference in the world?

    My personal struggle with intense gastrointestinal problems and debilitating asthma led me, quite unexpectedly, to a plant-based diet. To my great amazement, I healed what doctors and pharmaceuticals had been unable to heal - simply by changing the way I ate. 

    I became a very loud advocate for the whole food, plant-based diet. I began to explore other natural healing modalities: yoga, in particular, and massage, herbal supplements, essential oils, meditation. The list goes on.

    This very "give me the facts" and "show me the science" type of gal now fully and completely believes in the power of integrative health. And in questioning what's best for me, instead of accepting what I'm told at face value - or because it's just "how things are". Eastern and western. Alternative and conventional. Yin and yang. One is simply incomplete without the other.

    So I invested in myself - went back to school (more than once) and started my health coaching practice. The journey has been amazing. But there is so much more to this story.

    What I understand now, more than ever before, is that there is no one right way to heal your body - or live your best life, for that matter. Every body - every person - is different. 

    There's no question in my mind that the whole foods, plant-based diet is a very healing diet. But that doesn't necessarily mean you have to eat that way forever. Will plants always make up the majority of my diet? Absolutely! No question.

    But what's most important is that we pay attention to what our bodies need. What our hearts want. What lights us up and satisfies our souls. Makes us come alive. And gives us peace. 

    And that, dear friends, is what lights me up right now.

    It's not about how many vegetables I eat. It's about being true to myself and living my vision - more and more each day. 

    So what does my body need? Clean, nourishing foods, a vigorous yoga practice, and the human touch. What does my heart want? Deep connection, love, and friendship. And what gives me peace? Feeling good about what I'm putting into the world and knowing I'm making a difference.

    And now for an invitation.

    In the comments below, tell me. What's it all about for you? Why do you choose to take care of yourself - mind, body, and spirit? I'm guessing there's more to it than vegetables.

    Lots and lots of love, from me to you. XO

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  • A Morning Meditation

    A Morning Meditation

    To be honest, this is my most genuine and constant form of meditation. Nothing fancy. Nothing complicated. Just paying attention, breathing, and feeling. This quiet, grounding practice is so simple - and yet so powerful. A few moments - a few times a day - can change everything. 

    One big window looks out over our tiny backyard, framed by bright red, fiery orange, and brilliant yellow foliage – the last few days, probably, of the most colorful time of year. On the shelves are mason jars, filled with all varieties of grains and legumes, silver pots, and a well-loved collection of cookbooks. Bright green walls the color of the underbellies of leaves in early spring frame the room. And a teakettle calls my name. Even with my wool scarf, winter sweater, and hiking socks, it’s cold here this morning. Time to warm up.

    Grabbing a pack of Yogi tea, I tear open the wrapper to find my fortune for the day. Work, it says, but don’t forget to live. I smile, conceding guilt – and making a mental note to remember this message. As hot water hits cool air, the sweet scent of cinnamon steam spirals out and up. And I breathe deeply, closing my eyes. Appreciating this moment for what it is. A time for quiet reflection, appreciation, and gratitude.

    I sip my tea, careful not to burn my lip and tongue, taking my time. I sit tall. Breathing. Letting the air flow in and fill me up. Belly, ribcage, collarbones. And then slowly exhale, emptying, clearing. Creating space. 

    An endless stream of things to do so easily creeps in and clutters my mind. Emails, blog posts, homework, insurance paperwork, meetings, cleaning, and more. So much more. I can’t even remember all the things I’m supposed to remember. I resist the urge to grab a pen and make a list. This is my time.

    Sitting at the kitchen table, listening to the tink, tink, tink of the sleepy radiator coming to life, I remember the words of a great meditation teacher. 

    Focus on a feeling of love. A time of supreme joy, blissful happiness. Sink into the gratitude. For that time, that person, that experience, that connection. Lose yourself in this, if only for a few breaths. And then hold it. That sensation. The warmth. Let it fill you up. Let the corners of your mouth curl with a gentle smile. Let it wrap its arms around you and cradle you. You’re safe.

    It happens effortlessly. I feel the fullness of hot, heavy tears behind my eyelids. Tears of love, of thanks. I feel my breathing grow shallow, steeped in raw emotion. My breath is catching, uneven, choppy. But I am aware. And because of this I can change things. Holding on to the warmth of love and gratitude, I slowly begin to deepen my breathing, opening the door to a sense of overwhelming calm and serenity.

    My eyes blink open and adjust to the light that spills into the room from the window. I am grounded and alert. Steady. And ready for the day.
  • MUSIC + A MEDITATION INVITATION

    This morning, I made myself a cup of Yogi tea with a touch of raw honey, pulled open the curtains to let all the sunlight in, and got to work.

    The Musical Medicine Monday project has become such a lovely way to start my week. Every Sunday night or Monday morning, I scan my iTunes library for my favorite feel-good stuff. Then I hit up The Google, in search of a great video. It's been a bit like meditation for me. And I hope it's the same for you. 

    One of my favorite things about our trip to Thailand and Bali earlier this year was that spirituality seemed all around me. It was easy to tap into peace, calm, connection, and meditation. And to feel so alive and energized at the same time.

    What experience have you had with meditation? The Chopra Center describes meditation as a tool for the re-discovery of the body's own inner intelligence. Practiced for thousands of years, it's not about forcing the mind to be quiet, it's finding the silence that's already there and making it a part of your life. From this field of pure potentiality we get our bursts of inspiration, our most intuitive thoughts, and our deepest sense of connection to the universe.

    Today was the start of the 21-Day Meditation Challenge, a free guided-meditation (the best kind for beginners!) course offered by Deepak Chopra and Oprah. Deepak Chopra is widely considered to be a master teacher of Eastern Philospohy in the Western world - and he was one of my teachers at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition

    Over the next three weeks, we will share a boundless journey to the heart, where love and spirit are forever conspiring to create miracles in our lives. ― Deepak Chopra

    The last 21-Day Meditation Challenge was awesome - such a powerfully centering way to start my day. Meditation affects the body in so many positive ways. The Huffington Post published this great article on how meditation works and, frankly, why more health providers should prescribe meditation for their patients. Here's an awesome illustration they put together to break it all down:

    Wanna join me!? It's easy, free, and super good for you - especially if you have stressball tendencies, like I do! Interested? Learn more and sign up HERE

    Namaste,