My Finds

The Holiday Blues

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Let me tell ya something, they’re quite alright to have. There were a ton of changes in my life this past year so this Christmas felt a bit forced. I decorated like 5 weeks too early to get into the spirit. Every movie I put on I would get sidetracked with other things and not even pay attention. Jerry and I went to Rose Tree Park to look at the lights and there were about 659 kids running around, we were like yo let’s get out of here and maybe never return? That’s where we got engaged so it was supposed to get me in the spirit, but it really didn’t and you want to know something: THAT’S TOTALLY OKAY.

Life throws ya curve balls. We just lost my grandpop in March (he was like a father to my fam), my grandmom broke her hip so she was in a nursing home and missing her Joey. Other relationships had changed and weren’t as strong as they used to be. They say take the lemons and make lemonade but sometimes you don’t want to, how bout that? Me and my mom couldn’t talk about my grandpop without crying and I didn’t even care. We let it flow. Ya gotta feel your feelings or they’ll explode in other ways.

Even with the downs, there were so many ups. Christmas Eve was the first time my mom and her siblings were all in the same room in Lord knows how long and my grandmom was able to experience it. We had such a nice time. It was such a nice night and I am so grateful for all that I have.

I just wanted to write up a little something for those who felt the same to let you know that you aren’t alone and it is totally fine to feel the way you feel. Things change, life changes, people come and go and if this Christmas just wasn’t your cup of tea, I bet next year will be. And if it isn’t, that is okay too.

The Art of Saying No

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I feel as though everyone needs this reminder not only this time of the year, but all year round. Every single weekend is packed with parties, events, weddings, etc. – you need your YOU time. Whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert, downtime is so essential to your mental health it hurts. Seriously though, how many times have you gone into the office or started your day on Monday like “yo wtf just happened? Did I have a weekend? Am I dead?”

For me, it is so hard to turn down plans because I love socializing and I’ll never not have a case of the FOMO. I also have this terrible habit of not wanting to let people down. I’m also a terrible liar so I can’t even make another event up to dodge an invite. Chances are, if you invite me to something and I’m available, I’m going. I’ll be there with bells on.

Not anymore. LOL I’m so serious. I don’t know if it is the fact that I’m getting older so I’m tired all of the time, or the hangovers that are actually straight from hell, but I need my downtime. I’m naturally anxious so my brain is constantly going, I’m always doing. I was brought up that way. Like napping wasn’t a thing and to this day I still can’t nap. Jerry takes tiger snoozes and I watch my shit reality shows and pray he doesn’t wake up mid RHONJ.

After a really long weekend a few weeks back my anxiety began to creep back in once the booze from the eventful weekend wore off. I was like fuck, here it is again. That’s when I decided to slow it down and take care of myself. I cancelled plans for my upcoming weekend, naturally feeling bad about it but the sense of relief and relaxation I felt was well worth it.

So, I’ve been working on myself. I say no to plans without any reasoning behind it from the start. While I still feel a little sense of guilt or fear of letting someone down, I justify it by putting my number one priority first. Me. My mental health. My body. My sanity.

Have an amazing holiday season and remember to take care of YOU!

Give the gift of health this year.

Alright check out these clean products that would make great gifts for your loved ones, kids teachers, employees, basically everyone. You can use my link to grab anything you want! No monthly commitment, no strings attached. 

Grab your goods!

Amazon goods to gift.

Bath Set

🌿 What you’ll need: Valor Bar Soap ($13.00), a Stress Away Relaxing Bath Bomb ($26.75 for a 4-pack, so $6.69 each)

Charcoal Mask 

$39.75. Made with naturally derived ingredients to detox skin, purify pores, reduce the appearance of blemishes, and restore the appearance of an even skin tone.

Thieves Tea Set

Grab thieves vitality $15.25, lemon vitality $6.50, a cute mug and some raw localized honey.

Premade Roll -ons from YL! 

We have everything from Valor to Tranquil and more. The packaging is so pretty, literally stick a bow on it and gift. They range from $30-$50

Charcoal Bar Soap 

$13! Pulls out dirt and impurities without stripping the skin’s natural moisture barrier. Its naturally derived formula includes powerful skin-cleaning agents, moisturizing ingredients, and the bright, fresh scent of our Orange Blossom essential oil blend.

Savvy Minerals Mascara

Our mascara is BOMB. I got rid of my falsies and my lashes are growing back thanks to these oil infused mascaras. $33!

Royal Hawaiian Sandalwood Hydrosol Spray

$13. SUCH a refreshing, aromatic multipurpose spray that hydrates skin and hair and adds a welcoming aroma to linens and the air in your home.

Rose Ointment

The uses are endless and this little tub lasts about a year, sometimes more no joke. $25.50.

Skin Set

Cedarwood (or any skin oil) and a rose quartz roller from amazon. Cedarwood is about $11.

Satin Facial Scrub Mint

$17.50 and incredibleeeee for skin. I would give this by itself

Shower Steamers!

$20.50 For those who don’t take baths (I get it) this is the perfect stocking stuffer. 

YL Lip Balm Tri0

$16.12. Made with naturally derived ingredients, moisturizing seed oils, and infused with premium essential oils, this trio of Cinnamint, Grapefruit, and Lavender Lip Balms seal in moisture for soft and smooth lips.

Lavaderm Cooling Spray

I use this as an all day refreshing spray. Incredible. $15. Can’t beat it.

Royal Hawaiian Sandalwood Hydrosol Spray

Similiar to the lavaderm cooling spray in use but it smells woodsy. I personally prefer this refrigerated. Even cheaper than the lavaderm cooling spray too. $13.

Frankincense Serum

What you’ll need:
  • 1/2 cup ICE COLD distilled water
  • 1/4 tsp hyaluronic acid power
  • 40 drops Frankincense essential oil
  • 4 serum bottles (2 oz)
What you’ll do:
Add distilled water and hyaluronic acid powder to a mason jar; shake vigorously
Pour the mixture into the serum bottles, divided equally; allow to sit for several hours as it will not have a serum-like consistency at first; be patient!
Once several hours have elapsed, add 10 drops of Frankincense to each bottle; apply the pumps and gently shake
Label as desired
 
 
Art Refreshing Toner 
 
$25.74. A toner can help balance your skin’s pH levels, reduce the appearance of pores, and completely remove any residual particles that cleansing may have missed. This perfect blend of essential oils and natural ingredients will leave your face clean, toned, and refreshed. Give the gift of great skin.
 
 

Dream Big Gift

Envision oil  ($20.00) paired with a pretty journal and pen.

Essential Beauty Serum 15ML

$21.50 for this 15ml that includes dreamy skin oils your giftee can use neat on their face.

Christmas Spirit Essential Oil

$11. You can gift this as is for those with diffusers or you can make a room spray! I am absolutely obsessed with it for Fall and Winter time feels. You can grab a ton of these and make room sprays as gifts for your loved ones.

Room spray:

  • 20 drops of Christmas Spirit
  • 3/4 distilled water
  • Fill the rest with witch hazel

Soaps

YL soaps are around ten dollars a pop and last quite some time. I LOVE giving these as gifts.

Rose ointment

$25.50. SUCH a versatile gift. I always have this on me, applying to my lips, face, hands and arms throughout the day. It’s seems as though it’ll never run out.

Poppy Seed Lip Scrub

$29. For those ratchet winter lips. Poppy Seed Lip Scrub uses natural ingredients to exfoliate dull, dead skin, while rich, hydrating, plant-based butters and premium essential oils work to moisturize and condition lips.

Bath Bombs

$26.75.  You can grab a bag of them and gift them individually with your lavender vitality if you want!

Thieves Fruit + Veggie Spray

$8.75. The convenient 2 oz. spray bottle fits in any purse, backpack, or carryon, making Fruit & Veggie Spray easy to take when on-the-go. Just a few spritzes followed by a quick water rinse will have you eating your fruits and vegetables as nature intended.

Thieves Fruit + Veggie Soak 

$20. Soak your goods in here, you’ll never go without it again once you see the stuff that comes off of your produce.

Tea Sets

All of our tea sets come with a vitality oil to pair with. They hover around $30.

Charcoal Soap

$13. LOVE this soap, such a good deep pore cleanse. 😊

Our Vitality Oils are BOMB gifts.

Vitality means you can ingest!

Lavender Vitality Oil// WHO DOESN’T NEED LAV?? I paired this with a loofah and a DIY bath scrub

  • Improves sleep quality for occasional sleeplessness. Rub on your feet and spine before bed.
  • Supports general wellness. Drop in your water!
  • Helps maintain the appearance of youthful skin and healthy-looking hair. Drop it in your hair products and mascara!
  • Contains cleansing and antioxidant properties.
  • Helps ease occasional nervous tension.

Peppermint Vitality Oil// Tied to a Christmas coffee mug with a list of uses and put a chocolate bar in the mug

  • Supports gastrointestinal system comfort.
  • Enhances healthy gut function.
  • Maintains efficiency of the digestive tract.
  • May support performance during exercise.
  • Reduces feelings of discomfort after large meals.
  • Provides a refreshing, minty flavor to food and beverages. Also keeps you from overeating in the first place!

Lemon Vitality// Tied to a Christmas coffee mug with a list of uses and added a tea bag to the mug

  • Provides an invigorating citrus flavor. Add to your water or tea!
  • Has antioxidant properties.
  • Supports the immune system.
  • Provides circulatory support.
  • Contains cleansing properties. Add to your skin care products!

 

Anxiety. My Story.

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Okay so I had it all together (or so I thought) up until June of 2017. I was planning a wedding, buying a house, had just started a new job and trying my damnest to make sure everything was going perfect. I began to unravel. I think when you try so hard to attain the unattainable, putting unnecessary pressure on yourself, you set yourself up for a mental breakdown. The scary part is, when anxiety/depression happens, you don’t even know what it is. It’s scary and sad. At least in my case it was.

I had so many amazing things going on in my life. My dad was recovering at the time, Jerry and I just put an offer in on a house, and I had started a new career leaving behind one I didn’t necessarily like. You’d think I’d be over the moon, and at times I was but holy shit was I overwhelmed. I held it all inside, hiding my emotions from everyone including myself. The funny thing about emotions is they always find a way out. No matter it be weeks, months, or even years, it comes out. In so many ways it comes out. So here I am at a new job thinking I have vertigo because I am so dizzy (lol) when in reality I was having panic attacks. Growing up I was taught that mental illness isn’t a real thing, to shake it off, eat clean and exercise, you’ll be fine. I would go on to believe that and hurt some of my closest friends who were going through some shit by telling them exactly that. “Why don’t you try taking care of yourself? Don’t drink, eat well and exercise. You do not need meds. You certainly don’t need to talk to someone, that’s like intense.” GUYS, this can not be further from the truth.

Fast forward to me alone in my car thinking that I have never in my life felt so alone. What did that even mean? Driving home from work I have tunnel vision. I am petrified but refuse to tell anyone because if you say it that means it’s real. Couldn’t even see the car in front of me. Get home, don’t say a word about it, take a walk with my mom. We see a car accident on the way and it happens again. I literally lose vision on a sidewalk and pretend I can still see. WTF. As soon as I begin to run on a treadmill my symptoms subside. I have now diagnosed myself with vertigo and burnt corneas (duh from looking at the sun for too long, that’s why I cannot see). L. O. fucking L. No idiot, you’re having another panic attack.

It gets worse. My heart continues to race, it takes me hours to fall asleep while my mind races, my appetite is gone. Finally, I admit it to my therapist. “Listen I have anxiety but I think I can deal with it without meds. I’ll work out, not drink, eat healthy. This will pass.” My dad is heavily addicted to pain pills so naturally I am absolutely petrified of them. I don’t take birth control because being dependent on something every single day sounds scary and unnatural to me. Two more therapy sessions later and I’m begging for something to get me out of this mental hell. I reached out to everyone I know that has gone through this before and suddenly I wasn’t so alone. I began a low dosage of medication and I swear to you it saved me. It usually takes a while to kick in and sometimes you must try a few until you get it right. Sometimes you only need medication for a year or two. I won’t get into it but when your brain is imbalanced, it is what it is. Listen to it.

Jerry once told me as I was sobbing about having to take my lexapro, “it’s like your brain has a cold and you’re giving it antibiotics.” When I first told my brother Ray about it we laughed so fucking hard thinking of Kanye West’s lyrics, “You ain’t never seen nothing crazier than this *&%%^ when he off his Lexapro.” Okay Kanye. Okay.

Since childhood I would take everything on. It was in my nature since my mom is such a bad ass. My dad was in and out of my life dealing with his own issues, causing me much anxiety that I wasn’t even aware of. We were taught to be strong and hold it together. My primary said it best. “You are usually so in control of your emotions so you’re sad and scared because you don’t know why your body is acting like this”.

I think one thing I wasn’t taught was that mental illness is a thing and that it is absolutely okay to not be okay. It’s so important to know that. Reach out if you start feeling weird, if you’ve always felt weird or if it’s getting worse. I promise you will be overwhelmed by the support and honesty. This too shall pass.

Even writing about this makes me feel light.

Bride-ing on a Budget

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Me and my husband got married November 24, 2017. It was such a wonderful day filled with friends and family, love and laughter. With minimal help financially, Jerry and I had to really figure out what was important to us and what we could do without. Though there are some things I would’ve done different, we’re seriously so happy with the way everything turned out. So happy that I want to share with the world. I literally send this to all my homies that get engaged so consider yourself my homie.

Your special day should be about you and the people who you love. So long as you and your guests are comfortable and relaxed, you’re going to have a memorable wedding. Why spend money on items you will never use again? Even if you are fortunate enough to have financial help throughout your bridal planning, save it for the honey moon or a new home! Nobody gives a single shit about your heels that they most likely won’t see under your long gown or your elaborate cake that no one eats.

Ways to cut corners:

  • Flower for centerpieces, saved about $1000. Nobody leaves a wedding raving about the centerpieces.
  • Cake didn’t come with my venue so I got a 1-tiered cake and cupcakes for desert from a girl I know who has a baking side biz.
  • Favors, didn’t do them. Got soft pretzels for the guests to soak up their alcohol.
  • I got a seating chart from Etsy.
  • My friend Timmy is an amazing DJ and DJ’s are way cheaper than bands.
  • My dress was purchased from a consignment boutique, holla!
  • Bathroom baskets were filled with hairspray, deodorant, bobby pins etc. All from the dollar store.
  • For stamps, the cheapest way to order is through the postal service, rolls of 100.
  • My friend Kelly is an amazinggggggg graphic designer. Check her out on the gram: swanart_everywhere . My cousin Lisa does incredible work as well. For your makeup and spray tans check out looksbylisarose

Tips:

Use start up vendors! Photographers, graphic designers, bakers, florists. This way the cost will be cheaper for you and you can help them build their business in return by referrals.

Do not get your dress altered at the place you bought it. They will most likely charge you out the ass. Ask around for a family seamstress that is known, trusted and works from her home.

If you’re tight on budget for your honeymoon, just plan it for later or hit up an all-inclusive. That way you won’t have to worry about spending money at destination.

Borrow everything. Me and my girlfriends passed around everything from veils to centerpieces.

DIY’s turn into actual nightmares you aren’t going to have time for that.

Amazon has everything. The end.

If You’re Not Scared, You’re Not Growing

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I’ve had to say this to myself so many times. I’ve said this very same thing to so many others. The third or fourth time I used this phrase to talk one of my friends off of a ledge, I was like holy shit I am getting this tattooed on my body. That and “This Too Shall Pass”. Right on top of my cool foot tattoo I got in high school.

Everyone has their own set of fears. Social anxiety, public speaking (me), hosting a class, traveling alone. It’s so easy to avoid these situations by saying “it’s just not my thing”, “I don’t have that type of personality”, or “no chance I’ll be able to hit that goal”. So here’s the thing, that is not you talking honey buns. That my friend, is fear.

Imagine if everyone stayed in their comfort zone. Like holy shit, nobody would like their jobs, so many friendships just would never even have the chance to happen. There would be no sense of accomplishment in your life, and worst of all you would not be growing.

I have to travel alone to the Dominican Republic for work tomorrow and I’ve been dreading it. I’m an extrovert so the fact that I’ll be essentially living alone for a week sounds like hell. What really makes me anxious is the traveling part. Not only to a place I’ve never been before, but the actual airport gives me agita. Why? I have no idea, but currently it is one of my fears I have to face in order for it not to be a fear anymore. Maybe I started to get used to my husband travelling with me. Maybe I am afraid I’ll miss the flight and be stuck there forever (dead ass serious, my thoughts). Public speaking makes me want to stroke out. Again, no clue why. I could talk a stranger into a coma but when all eyes are on me I get all weird. Putting myself out there to share my love affair with oils made me feel things in the beginning but like I tell my oily friends, it would be rude not to share them! I remember my first event not too long ago I was like holy shit why am I nervous? This is my home? I still get a little nervous before all of these fear triggering situations but in the end I always look back like, why the fuck did I waste so much energy being so nervous? In the end I grew and these fears became not so scary after all.

So that leads to my conclusion. Whatever you fear, do it. Fucking make yourself do it. You can literally do anything. Afraid to present at a meeting? Volunteer to do it. Figure out coping mechanisms. Pretend the friggin room is naked. Scared to take the job with a higher pay because you don’t think you can live up to the expectations? Take it and work your ass off. The house you’re in love with is (slightly) out of your budget and you don’t know if you can afford it? Buy it. If you need a second job to afford it, get one. Everything works out in the end and the fear always passes.

Remember, on the other side of fear is growth and that sense of accomplishment always outweighs fear.

Winding Down at Night: A Tribute to Red Wine

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Okay this isn’t just about red wine, but I really do enjoy a glass or two to wind me down at night. Some people like cake, I like red. Sue me.

About little over a year ago I was in the process of moving, planning a wedding and starting a new job. My anxiety crushed me, and sleep became an issue. Not being able to sleep might possibly be the worst feeling in the world. I’m not kidding, 1am would hit and I was staring at the ceiling wide awake like “are you fucking kidding me?” Then you panic about work the next day and how bad it’s going to suck. Ah man I hate even talking about it.

My life has since calmed down and I got my anxiety under control for the most part, but what I really cherish is my nighttime routine. If you’re having trouble shutting your mind off at night, give the below a whirl. I can’t promise it’ll work for you, but it has helped me immensely.

  • A nice hot shower. I shower at night but to each their own. Nothing like hitting your sheets clean as a whistle. Occasionally I’ll add a few drops of my Lavender and Epson salt to my steam shower.
  • Nighttime beauty routine. Face serum, lash serum, under eye roller, and sleep roller (down my spine and under my tootsies). Why not treat yourself like to an at home spa treatment every night? You deserve it, queen/king.
  • PUMP THE LAVENDER, Sacred Mountain and Roman Chamomile oils about an hour before you retreat to bed. Legit the reason I got into essential oils. These oils are proven to lower your anxiety and calm your mind and I can’t live without them (so dramatic).
  • No phone or electronics about an hour before bed. I don’t always abide by this rule but it really does quiet the mind.
  • All of the lights go off while I watch my Parks and Rec around 9:30. I fall asleep on the couch by 10pm every night. Soon as that roller hits my feet.
  • Lastly, my cherished glass of red. The reason for the season baby. I know there’s so many mixed reviews on if this is actually good for you or not but I choose to believe it is good for me and I will forever be giddy about it. I mean it’s not like I’m chugging a bottle, sometimes I’ll fall asleep mid glass! Let me live!

The Curly Journey

I have fought the good fight with this hair of mine. My mom doesn’t have these locks (thanks, Dad) so growing up she would brush it. All my fellow curlies are definitely cringing at the thought of brushing through dry, curly hair. In the end you look like Ludacris on the cover of his Word of Mouf CD holding the angry pit bull. As I grew old enough to do my own hair and buy my own products, I had to learn how to handle this situation on my own.

Don’t get it twisted, I was in straight denial that my hair was curly and would straighten it every single day for years and years. Even colored it blonde which was terrible for my already dry, brittle strands. It wasn’t until 2016 that I finally embraced my inner afro. I’m telling you it was a long road to figure out how to style and what was right for me, but to date my hair is the healthiest it’s been since I was a toddler and it’s only getting better with the right routine and products.

Why going natural is the best route (for me):

  • I no longer have to apply heat to my hair on a daily basis
  • I can get my hair wet at the beach or a pool and not live in fear of how it’s going to dry
  • My morning routine is cut in half
  • Literally never have to wash my hair
  • Even a top knot looks good with a crown of curls

Now here are the rules when you’re dealing with a head of curls. Not all curls are the same, but the rules remain consistent across the board:

  • Use sulfate free hair products and only wash once or twice a week.
  • When you are not shampooing you can still use your conditioner in your bathing routine. Don’t rinse out all of the conditioner. You need all the moisture you can get.
  • Do not use a bath towel to dry your hair, use a microfiber towel or a cotton T shirt.
  • Comb, never brush, while wet (always while wet). Like I said, you mess with dried curls they’re just going to retaliate *cough Ludacris*.
  • Sleep with a silk wrap around your head (LOL I am so serious). Replace your pillow case with a silk one. This prevents rubbing and frizzing while you toss throughout the night.
  • Always use a diffuser while blow-drying, if you even are blow-drying. Heat settings on low and cold or else, Luda.
  • Whenever you can, hair mask it up. I use one when I work out, when I clean the house and every Sunday when I don’t have to leave the house.
  • Add some rosemary, eucalyptus, lavender and tea tree to all of your hair products. This has worked wonders on my locks.
  • Use a curl cream concoction (whichever works best for you) I love my MoroccanOil Curl Cream and a little of Mirah Lustrous hair oil from Young Living.

Young Living products and DIYS to bring your mane back.

  • Mirah Lustrah Hair Oil. Add it when wet and apply to ends when dry.
  • Mermaid spray: 20 drops of lavender + 20 drops of cedarwood + 20 rosemary + 15 clary sage + 15 peppermint + 15 thyme + witch hazel + distilled water in a spray bottle. Add this to your hair wet or dry. Watch it grow wider and longer. SO GOOD FOR YOUR LOCKS
  • Leave-in Serum: so the once a week you wash your hair, apply this serum all over your bean head. Spray the mermaid spray all over your head, apply castor oil and copiaba conditioner to the ends and leave in top knot.
  • YL Copiaba shampoo + conditioner. MADE for our type of hair.

Now go out there and rock that fro baby. Do not give up on your curls!