Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Essential Oils for Anxiety

What is it about essential oils? Is it the direct sales that encouraged the recent growth of popularity? Perhaps it was because we have used them for generations before now, and they've always been effective. Living in a country of skeptics, it's raised a lot of questions. How can essential oils help with my Social Anxiety Disorder? Is it just some hippie dippie thing I should ignore?

First off, I am not a doctor. I am merely someone who suffers from social anxiety, and I have seen results from a variety of ways, and I want to help other people. 

Are essential oils safe? What essential oils are safe for consumption? How do you use essential oils? Can essential oils help relieve symptoms of anxiety? What is the best essential oil for panic attacks? 

People who suffer from anxiety or panic attacks are often looking for ways to find relief from the attacks without turning to medications. There are so many ways to alleviate some of the symptoms naturally, without medication, I talk about a few natural social anxiety remedies here, as well as some daily habits for reducing anxiety here. In addition to watching your diet and getting regular exercise, it is also might be a good idea to give essential oils a try. Here are a few of the best oils for anxiety. I hope they help you like they help me!


Lavender is recommended for any ailment that has to do with relaxing your body because it has such a calming effect. You can relax, get better sleep, get rid of nervousness, and even reduce your overall amount of panic attacks by using lavender. Lavender is really great in a bath when you are trying to calm down, or you can put it in an oil diffuser. There are also DIY lotions and scrubs that can use lavender essential oils that will also help to relax you.


Another relaxing and calming essential oil is chamomile. This oil helps with your anxiety, worry, and irritability. It is often recommended for people who are having trouble sleeping because you will feel your body and mind start to relax when you use it. However, it is not typically recommended to people with allergy problems, so if you suffer from allergies, please use caution. 


Rose is an essential oil you can take for stress, anxiety, and depression. It is safe whether you have allergies, are pregnant or nursing, or even if you are extra sensitive to certain oils. As with all oils, just make sure your rose essential oils is properly diluted or mixed with a carrier oil. You can easily add some to a pot of boiling water and inhale it to relax or add it to a foot bath to start relaxing your body.

Other Essential Oils

There are a lot of other essential oils you can try for your anxiety. You can use them alone with a carrier oils or create your own blends for anxiety or stress. These oils include:

* Frankincense
* Basil
* Geranium
* Jasmine
* Clary Sage
* Mandarin
* Lemon
* Wild Orange
* Bergamot
* Marjoram

This is the brand on Amazon I trust the most, however, you can try lots of different brands to find the one you love the most. Try making your own blends with these essential oils to help with your anxiety. You can add some drops to a hot bath to relax your body and mind, use them in a footbath, or create your own body treatments. During a panic attack, applying oils to your skin directly with a carrier oil might give you the fastest results.

What essential oils do you love for anxiety?
Do you have any tips or tricks?

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Why We Love Drinking More Water (And You Should Too!)

I never liked drinking water. In fact, I loathed it. I could only drink ice cold water through a straw. Thinking about water touching my top lip made me cringe. Eek. The most common reason to drink more water is to lose weight, or be more healthy.  

How do I drink more water? Water delivery service? Water reminder apps? Life Changing Reasons To Drink More Water? How to drink more water when you hate it, How to drink more water when you're pregnant. How to drink more water at school. How to drink more water when you're not thirsty. 

Like I said, I hated it. Then I had children, and I needed more water to support all my nutrients going to my breasts for my babies. I was thirsty constantly and it didn't really matter how I had it, but I needed water constantly. But water can be awesome for you, even if you're not actively thirsty. It's pretty common knowledge drinking water is an important part of taking care of yourself. There are obvious reasons, like avoiding dehydration, but other less obvious reasons too, like how awesome you'll feel after hydrating yourself. It's all too common to either not drink any, or not drink enough water during the day. We're busy, or we don't think about it. 

What Are The Benefits of Drinking More Water?

Drinking more water will improve your skin. Do you have dry skin? Kiss that goodbye! I always had this super dry spot on both of my shoulders. When I added more water to my diet, those dry spots disappeared. They're not even rough anymore. In addition to skin, your hair and nails will benefit too. You'll also get less headaches, muscle craps, and your teeth will even be in better health. This is because the water helps your body naturally flush out your body, improving your weight loss efforts and giving you more energy. 

But we already know all the benefits of drinking more water. It's well documented, and not really news to anyone.

I know I should drink more water, so how do I increase my daily water intake?

1. Drink Water Before Every Meal

The first tip for drinking more water on a regular basis is simple – just have a full glass of water before each meal and snack you consume, including before your morning cup of coffee. This is one of those simple reminders that allows you to drink more water, without really having to think too much about it. It's called habit stacking. You train your mind to know that if you are going to put anything into your body, whether it is your breakfast or a late-night treat, you have to drink 8 ounces of water first. 

This provides multiple benefits. First, it of course reminds you to drink another glass of water. It is also going to help your food digest a little better. Plus, it prevents you from overeating since the water helps to fill you up a little. It is not uncommon to think you are hungry, when in fact you body is trying to tell you you're thirsty. If you are no longer hungry after the full glass of 
water, wait a bit before eating. Hello weight loss! Curbing that appetite with no caloric intake? It's the best way possible to lose weight. 

2. Make Your Own Infused or Flavored Water

Maybe you have no problem remembering to drink water. You remember all day, but you can't stand drinking water. I understand that, let me tell ya. A few years ago I began infusing my water with different flavors to encourage a little more drinking. There are lots of ways to add flavor to your water to make it more interesting without piling on the sugar and calories.

The Simple Method

If you are short on time and just want a super quick way to add flavor to your water, go with the lemon water. All you need to do is add a few lemon wedges into your water, squeezing in the juice first, then putting the wedges in it. Lemons have a lot of tart juice, so this will flavor your water quickly and easily. You can also try a mixture of lemon and lime, or use other juicy fruits like grapefruit.

Fruit or Vegetable Infused Water

When you are willing to spend more time on your water, you can use other fruits, vegetables, and even herbs to flavor this water. This is called infused water, since it is a longer infusing process. You aren’t just flavoring your water with these ingredients, but adding more nutrients from the produce and herbs. 

To make infused water, you should have a glass pitcher and access to filtered water preferably. Prepare your fruits, veggies, and herbs depending on what they are. Berries should be sliced so you can access the juice inside, fruits with hard skin should be peeled first. Veggies should also be peeled and chopped. Muddle your herbs to release the oils and flavors. 

Add the ingredients to the bottom of the pitcher, cover with ice, then add your water. Let it sit in the refrigerator for as long as you can before drinking it, which really allows those flavors and nutrients to come through, giving you a better drinking experience. My mouth is watering thinking about a nice cucumber and cantaloupe infused water medley.

3. Choose a Cup You Love to Use

This is my best tip. Perhaps it because aesthetics matter a lot to me, and I love things around me to be fun colored and bring joy to my life. Go shopping, and find a cup or mug that brings you happiness, then fill that thing with water and drink up, buttercup. It can be a bottle if you're out a lot, but I prefer a cup. Here are a few fun ones I found on Amazon: 

Picking the right vessel to drink your water is pretty important. Do you want a certain color? Theme? Is it easy to hold while walking? There are a lot of small details that determine if it's a good fit. If you drive a lot, will it fit in your cup holder? Check out what I put up above, and see if they're what you need. Maybe you'll be able to find something else instead. Keep trying until you find that perfect cup.  Good luck. :) 

4. Limit Other Drinks You Consume

Another little trick for drinking more water is to reduce all of the other drinks you consume. This does not mean drinking water 100 percent of the time and never having a cup of juice or soda again. What a loss that would be. I couldn't imagine never having juice or milk again. It does help to reduce them, so that when you are thirsty, you go for water instead. This eventually increases your water intake simply because you are going for water when you feel a thirst, and not other beverages. A simple trick that's easy to implement. Next time you go to the store, don't buy any juice. Without it in your house, you'll be less likely to drink it. 

5. Track Your Water Intake

This isn’t something you need to do every day for the rest of your life, but for now, it might be hard for you to determine how much water to drink and if you have reached your goal for the day. Start by figuring out a good way to track your water. This can be an app on your phone, a notepad, a planner you keep in your purse, or a program on your computer.

Start by tracking your water for a few days before trying to increase how much you drink. This lets you know how much you are currently drinking on an average day. If it is less than 8-10 glasses of water (8 ounces each) a day, you need to start increasing it. Once you are tracking daily, it helps you know how and when to drink a little more throughout the day. Use some of the tips here to help you increase that water intake. 

6. Try Some Delicious and Water Heavy Fruits and Veggies. 

Some days you just can't get all those cups of water in. If you find that you simply can’t drink enough water, then eat your water instead! You should still try to drink as much as you can, but this is good for the days when you’re a little below your water intake goal. There are fruits and veggies that have a high water content, therefore helping to hydrate you. These include:


7. Dilute That Juice!

There's going to be a day when you really want juice. You're going to wake up in a cold sweat, thinking about apple juice. It happens to the best of us. Dilute your juice so you can still get the flavor you want, but you are still getting water. If you do, you'll be reducing calories, carbs, and sugars, and you'll make the juice last longer. This is great if you don't buy it next week, but you still want some in the house. 

8. Add Water to Other Habits You Already Have

If you enjoy water, but you often forget to drink more of it, these little reminders can be helpful for you. 

1.Drink water before every meal, snack, and other beverage
2.Drink a glass of water when you wake up / before you brush your teeth
3.Drink water before or after your workouts
4.Drink a glass of water after every trip to the bathroom
5.Drink a glass of water every time you enter your office or your home

As long as you keep these reminders in the back of your mind, and follow the other tips mentioned, you should be on your way to increasing your water intake and benefiting from it. You're going to feel amazing! 

Have you added more water to your life? How did you feel?What other ways can you add more water to your life?

Friday, June 15, 2018

Turkey Stuffed Mushrooms

Turkey Stuffed Mushrooms

There may be affiliate links below. Any purchases made through these links will earn me a small commission for referring you to the site. You don't pay any extra. Thanks for supporting my family! 

I'm an awful cook. I burn almost everything, or undercook the rest. In fact, while I was cooking this dinner, I didn't cook the potatoes enough, so we couldn't even have a side of mashed potatoes. There are only a few things I can cook correctly, and ground meat is pretty much the only thing on that list. Is that because it changes colors while you cook it? I'm sure.

Since we're on the subject of being an awful cook . . . I learned today that to bake mushrooms, you should put them face down. I baked them face up (or what I perceive as face up) and there was a huge puddle in each mushroom. 

Learn from my mistakes, and cook these bad boys at 375, cup down, for 15 minutes, or until they're soft. 

While you're cooking your mushrooms correctly, warm up a skillet, add a little oil or butter, and then toss in your pound of ground meat. I picked turkey today, but beef works as well or better. 

Cook up the turkey until it changes to white (or brown if it's beef) and then add in three cloves of garlic (minced), until they release their beautiful fragrance. Once ready, add in your tomato sauce. I let my children pick out a sauce and they picked marinara sauce, but a spaghetti sauce or even just a tomato sauce from a can would work fine. You're going to add enough to coat it, and then add in your spices. I always add salt and pepper, and today I added some basil.

When everything is done I dabbed the mushrooms with a towel to take out any excess water --because I had actually created a small lake in each mushroom-- and placed them each on a cooking sheet, cup up, and filled them with the turkey sauce, then I put a quarter of a slice of pepper jack cheese on top. Then I put it under the broiler until the cheese melted.

Isn't it beautiful?
Let me know if you try it in the comments. Do you have any advice?

Turkey Stuffed Mushrooms:

-Portabella Mushrooms (8 small or 4 jumbo)
-1 lb ground turkey
-1 cup tomato sauce
-3 cloves minced garlic
-sliced pepper jack cheese

1. Pre-heat oven to 375.
2. Remove the stem from each mushroom, exposing the "cup"
3. Place all mushrooms cup side down on a silicone mat lined baking sheet, and cook for 15 minutes or until soft.
4. While mushrooms are cooking, heat up a skillet then place your oil of choice to the pan, then add in your ground turkey. Cook until browned / whitened.
5. After fully cooked,lower your heat to medium and add in minced garlic. Cook until produces fragrance.
6. Add sauce and spices to the turkey mixture.
7. Once fully cooked, remove mushrooms from the oven, soak up extra moisture inside the cup, then add the turkey mixture in the cup. Place a piece of cheese on top of each cup.
8. Place sheet back under the broiler until all the cheese is melted, about two minutes.

Notes: Can replace turkey with beef, or cheese with preferred cheese. serves well with green beans and mashed potatoes. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

In My Nikon's Memory: Switch to Manual Movement

I want to share with you some of the heartache I've been facing over the last month, and how I'm working through it. There are affiliate links in this post. These links will not cost you anything, but I will get a small commission for referring you to the site. Thank you for your support!

I purchased my first DSLR in 2010, right after getting married. I used some of the money my parents gave us for the wedding and went to Best Buy and bought a Nikon d3100 kit. It came with a standard lens and a zoom lens, and a camera bag to hold it all. I was SO excited to learn how to use this thing. I got it because my new husband was leaving to go to boot camp for three months, and our lives were changing. I wanted to record our memories in the highest definition, so when we looked back at the time he missed with us, he could see clearly. It would almost be like he was there with us.

I had no idea how to use it, so it stayed in auto, giving me mediocre pictures. Occasionally I would get super lucky and find an awesome amount of light and the auto features would produce a beautiful scene. It wasn't common though, and I had no real control over what I was shooting. As embarrassing as it is to share one of those first few pictures I took on my Nikon . . . Here is one of my first images. I'm not sure if I intentionally focused on the ticket or not, but the intention of the picture was to show my two brothers and how different they are. One sitting silently listening to music while the other happily befriends the person next to him. We all start somewhere, and I'm not ashamed of the journey I took to get here. 

I had no idea what I was doing. How do I hold a DSLR? What is ISO on a DSLR? How do I get my DSLR to focus? Where was the step by step guide to DSLR usage? I needed a photography for beginner's guide.

In 2010, it was hard to find help without spending a fortune on classes, so I did. I went to college at my husband's first command and learned how to use my camera, Photoshop, and Lightroom. It was the whole reason I wanted to get this camera in the first place.

I learned about aperture, shutter speed, ISO, composition, and ultimately how to shoot in manual. My photography took off. It was slow at first, I took lots of pictures and learned what to change to get what I wanted out of my camera. 

After years of practicing and eventually getting a new lens, (I recommend this to everyone!) I had honed my skills and eventually became great at photography. When I take pictures now I'm confident and I enjoy it. I feel good with a camera in my hands and I love seeing what I can create.

Then disaster struck. 

My husband's ship was set to leave one last time before we transferred to a different command on a Saturday. There was rain in the forecast, but not until later in the afternoon, so I thought we were safe. Looking back at the pictures now I am surprised I let myself bring my camera out. When it rained it poured. We had a group of seven kids and three moms. The children were screaming because the rain was so hard on them and their faces. We rushed as fast as we could away from the rain and back to our cars, but the damage was done. After eight beautiful years with my camera, she was gone. This is the last picture I took with her, of my son yelling goodbye to his Daddy's boat. 

We tried to save her. We replaced the back screen and cleaned it up as much as we could, but the damage was done and she couldn't survive. My heart is broken over this seemingly simple thing, it's just a camera. She brought me more than just wonderful images. I found confidence, happiness and lasting memories. She has seen all of my children grow up, and it was awful losing her. I feel like I learned who I was with her. 

In the weeks after, dozens of friends offered their sympathies, and a few even offered me their cameras to loan until I can get mine back together. "You're much better at this than I am!" and "it's just sitting in the closet anyway!" were a few things my friend's said to me. It was wonderful to hear of everyone's confidence in me and my abilities. 

But it also broke my heart. So many moms I knew bought or received a DSLR with the intention of learning to use it, and then never did anything with it. I couldn't believe how common this was. My camera helped me discover so much about myself and my family. I want to give this gift to everyone. 

I have to do something about this. There are too many moms who have great intentions and then life gets in the way and they never take their camera's off auto. Let me take my sadness and turn it into a way to help others. I'm working on a guide to help you learn how to use your camera in manual. I understand how time consuming it can be, so I'm going to send you little bite sized chunks.

Sign up below and I'll be sending out the first email next week. 
Did you miss the beginning of this challenge? Fear not, friend. Still sign up! This is an ongoing challenge. You can sign up to receive the original challenge, and you'll still get the weekly challenge to follow along with when you're ready. 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Preschool or Kindergarten Graduation Gifts

We are approaching my first child's graduation from pre-k. Before I had children I thought it was ridiculous to celebrate such a small and silly accomplishment. Now that I have children I am thrilled to celebrate their education with them. She has already learned so much, such as phonics, numbers, writing, and even reading! I am happily surprised at the leaps and bounds she has made in her self esteem too. I love that when we go to the park or library now, she will go talk to a child even if she's never seen them before. Something she would have NEVER done before we sent her to school. I'm so proud of her, and happy to give her gifts to help her grow and feed her love of school and education as she grows.

Preschool Graduation Gifts

Preschool Graduation Ideas

1. Kindergarten, Here I Come!

First off, I love books for children. We can relive that time she graduated over and over again, and celebrate her accomplishments together! This book has lots of poems about the changes Kindergarten will bring. 

Here's the thing about Pete the Cat. He's a household favorite here. I think he's more popular than Mickey Mouse AND Catboy, and I'll tell ya, it's quite the accomplishment. This book might be a little over the head of the children who are graduating preschool or kindergarten right now, but I love books with great messages. This is a book of great Pete the Cat quotes about being cool and collected in life. Another great book of life tips is THIS book of "Suess-isms". 

Speaking of Dr. Suess, how can this not be on the list, am I right? Dr. Suess has been in our little one's life for years now, it's only fitting that he will be with her through her educational journey as well. We have one of these books for each of our kids and we put a little note in the front asking the teachers to write out a special note to the future them, and we will give it to each of them after they graduate high school. 

The beginning of their education career is a great time to start off a photo album and memory keeper for years to come. There are places to put things like a list of their interests, what they want to be when they grow up, and who their best friends currently are. If you get it now, you can fill in the information for this year. There are also envelopes for each year and places for their class picture

This adorable little bear is a great cuddly friend your little can keep for decoration in their room or even for cuddles on their bed. I love the teeny tiny little tassel! You can personalize it with the year written on the top, or embroidered in the foot.

6. A Special Trip
What better treat to celebrate your accomplishments than a trip for some fro-yo, or out to their favorite lunch place. Maybe a special trip to the zoo, or aquarium. Think of something your child loves to do, or a place they always ask to go, and go! Celebrate!

My children's Auntie bought this book for the family for Christmas last year, and sent it with all of the ingredients to do a few of her handpicked favorites. She's a science teacher, so I knew the experiments would be awesome. This book is a fun introduction to summer, when you can spend time doing experiments and answering all the "why" questions. The first thing we did was put dyed water in a bottle with some oil, and then we put an Alka Seltzer in it, and watched the oil dance in the water, it was beautiful! My children thought it looked like sparkles in the water. They couldn't wait to show everyone in the neighborhood their "experiment".

What are the best gifts you've seen or given for kindergarten graduation?
Do you give gifts for kindergarten graduation?

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