Sunday Kind of Love

Good morning, sunshines (she types in the late afternoon)! Short one this week—I’m pretty drained after a super long week. Please enjoy the following photo of a California beach, where I’d much rather be right now.

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image source flickr
  1. McDonald’s created a vegan patty, and though I have extremely mixed feelings about it, hopefully it gets to America soon, because there are very few food options on road trips. Also, ending my McDonald’s boycott would put me back in the fry zone…
  2. This Twitter thread is a living nightmare.
  3. I bought myself a present this week, and I’m so excited to get it in the mail. I ❤ Monq! It’s been awesome to watch their company grow over the years.
  4. I am so buying this for our new entryway.
  5. At long last, new music from Janelle Monae! Listen to “Django Jane” and “Make Me Feel“!
  6. These art prints by Arielle Vey are giving me life.
  7. Can’t get enough of Health-Ade Kombucha lately! Easily the best brand I’ve tried.
  8. I’ve been dying to try this cabbage soup recipe but I keep forgetting to buy cabbage! Putting it on the list stat!
  9. This is so freaking adorable. I’m dying. I will take any and all taco-related merchandise, please.

xoxo,

c

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Let’s Talk About Essential Oils

The first time I ever used an essential oil, I was around 19 and had recently gotten my nose pierced with a friend. Mine (on the right side) never really healed right, so a cursory Google search alerted me to the fact that tea tree oil was anti-bacterial, natural, and promoted healing. I bought a bottle (my broke college butt was mildly appalled by the price tag), and applied it directly to my nose with a Q-Tip (not the smartest move when dealing with harsher oils). But I loved the clean, pungent smell of tea tree, so as the years went by, I sought it out in my products (to this day, I use Paul Mitchell’s Tea Tree shampoo on those rare occasions when I actually wash my hair…)

Beyond my tea tree adventures, I didn’t give much thought to essential oils until a few years ago, when I first heard of oil-pulling. If you’ve been on the internet this decade, you’ve heard of it—swish a tablespoon of coconut oil around in your mouth for twenty minutes, pull out all the gross impurities in your mouth. A blogger I follow posted a recipe for oil-pulling chews, made from coconut oil and peppermint essential oil. I marched to the store, grabbed the peppermint oil and flower-shaped silicone ice molds, and got to work. I keep a jar of them in my fridge at all times!

When I got engaged, I decided (for some incomprehensible reason) that DIY-ing soy wax/essential oil candles would be a great idea for wedding favors. Only problem? I had to make at least 50. I diligently hit the craft store, bought all 50 tiny jars, and chose my scents. Suddenly, I had five or so new essential oils! The candle-making was ill-fated (I think I made all of 6—we repurposed the jars), but the EOs ended up being a good investment. Suddenly, I was DIY-ing counter sprays and reed diffusers. I fell in love, in particular, with Eucalyptus. It’s my spirit scent.

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the jars didn’t go to waste!

And then there was Monq. I’ve written about them before, but Monq makes portable, personal aromatherapy diffusers—mini vapes full of essential oil goodness! My personal fave blend is Active—I always have one on me! I discovered the brand on Instagram years ago, and bought my first set with a sweet promo code. These are great for us non-smokers, but I imagine that they’re a wonderful and inexpensive way for smokers to quit, since it replaces the routine. I can’t wait to try their newer blends, especially Ocean!

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yung chels, hitting a happy monq

It was like the entire earth was conspiring to get me to make essential oils a part of my daily routine. Now I’m something of a devotee, though I’d never use them in place of actual medicine…that’s just cray. They’ve help me clean up my act—and by that I mean kick toxic chemicals out of my home one by one.

 

Here are some of the products that helped me get started:

 

dōTERRA

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DoTerra is, at least in my circles, the most popular brand of EOs. Their product is great, but it’s hard to get (you have to buy through a wholesaler unless you want to pay crazy retail markups. Their branding is on point, and they have a ton of diffusers, accessories, spa products, and supplements. My mother gifted me the lovely petal diffuser for Christmas!

Oui Fresh

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You didn’t think I’d miss a chance to shout-out my ABM girls, right? What I love best about Oui Fresh oils is that they’re available at a reasonable retail price and you can buy them no-strings. My personal fave is Rose Geranium!

S.W. Basics

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S.W. Basics is the Brooklyn-based brand of Adina Grigore, who wrote the book Just The Essentials, and inspired me to actually start workin’ on my oil game. No lie, the day after I finished the book, I was browsing the beauty aisle at Target and spotted a gift set of S.W. Basics on sale, so it felt like a sign that I had to give it a try. My set came with the Cleanser, the Toner, and the Cream. I SWEAR the Toner changed my skin overnight. It’s incredible. Now, if I only I could remember to wash my makeup off and use it nightly…

Young Living

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I read a borderline horrifying article recently re: MLMs and essential oils, but, I will say that the few Young Living oils I have are very pure and smell incredible. They, like doTerra, are usually purchased through a distributer, who becomes a member to get them at wholesale price.

My favorite YL product by far is their Thieves toothpaste. They have a whole dental line that I can’t wait to try out.

I haven’t tried their new clean makeup line, but as I start running out of products, I’ll definitely check it out!

Aura Cacia

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I started off with Aura Cacia. They’re a fantastic brand with a consistently great product. My local Wegman’s (shout out to Wegman’s, the best chain grocer), has a pretty impressive natural skincare selection, and AC is the main brand they carry. They have EOs, carrier oils, epsom salts, roller balls, spritz bottles—you name it!

 

EO Products

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EO Products was a total fluke find! I had seen Everyone essential oils at Target, but the packaging was so mod and cute that I actually doubted the quality of the product (don’t judge wine or EOs by their cover, y’all). After I read Just the Essentials, I checked out Adina’s list of recommended brands in the FAQ section, and lo-and-behold: the spray hand sanitizer that I had been using for months was, in fact, EO Products Everyone label! It’s peppermint & citrus, cruelty-free, and non-GMO. I had picked it up, again, at my local Wegs, because it smelled like a mojito fever dream, and didn’t leave me feeling dried out by chemicals (à la Purell). So far, my hand sani is the only thing I’ve tried from EO, but I have total confidence in their brand’s quality (and its cute design).

 

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I’ve previously blogged about EOs once or twice…check out my cocktail-inspired room spray here!

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Also, here’s an original rollerball recipe that will put some pep in your step!

Bright Sunshiny Day Blend

  • 30 drops bergamot essential oil
  • 8 drops spearmint essential oil
  • 5 drops wild orange essential oil
  • carrier oil (I used sweet almond)

This smells like spearmint gum in the best possible way. It’s refreshing and invigorating when the spearmint top notes hit you, but the subtle, sultry bergamot lingers longer. Great to give you a (caffeine-free!) jolt.

And my all-time favorite EO recipe of all is ABM’s face oil, which I use every day after my shower!

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I’ve definitely made some missteps in the EO game. For some reason, I thought it would be smart to diffuse Texas Cedarwood and Lemongrass together (I’m still haunted by the overpowering smell), and I definitely accidentally poured half a bottle of Peppermint into my diffuser one night…

Nevertheless, this experiment into EO land has been fun. Now that I’m building up supplies, I can DIY my heart out and never have to buy chemical-laden perfumes, cleaning products, or skincare products ever again!

Wednesday Wears 

It’s official! Nice weather is back. It was 80 degrees and sunny today! I live for shorteralls, so this is very good news! 

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I didn’t have to work today (praise), so I stayed in pajamas until almost 2. When I finally worked up the motivation to shower and put on clothes I had to rush out the door to cash in our cans before the redemption center closed. I know. Exciting life!

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I bought this denim jacket about a million years ago at Old Navy. I don’t shop there anymore because working in retail has made me a little snobby, but this jacket is my absolute favorite. It goes with everything. It’s like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Jacket.

My fiancé is an inch shorter than me (much to both of our chagrin), so whenever he’s not around I make sure to rock platforms like it’s my job!

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I haven’t really gotten into the enamel pin trend, and now with the Spending Fast, I don’t have the option, but when Cameron Esposito put out her last special, Marriage Material, she had some pins available as merch. This one says “Breast Stroke Specialist” and the other (on my opposite lapel) is a Chinese food take-out box filled with sperms. It brings me soooo much life.

The other button is handmade merch from the NAF/M. Ward show at Royale last weekend (which was amazing).

I’m hoping that the beautiful weather brings me more energy! I have been dead tired for weeks—I think it’s a side effect of spring allergies.

If you need me, I’ll be outside forever!

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bag/Kate Spade, jacket/Old Navy, top/Jenny Lewis merch, shorteralls/thrifted, shoes/Zigi Soho, sunnies/ABM for Bonlook, necklace/Monqstyle, headband/Charming Charlie, pins/Kill Rock Stars

Happy New Year

I know what you’re thinking: “Wasn’t New Year’s like, 2 months ago?”

Yes, it was. But not for me. I’m a lifelong sufferer of major depression, and the winter is the hardest season for me to get through with my head up. But, here in New England, it seems the sun has finally returned to us, and even though it’s still cold enough to snow, the vibrant energy of springtime is looming.

Earlier in the month, however, I suffered an extreme depressive episode. I’m medicated, so it was fewer crying jags and more general numbness. I couldn’t care about anything. I let my schoolwork, my job, and my relationships suffer. Wedding planning halted. I was in a really terrible place. After about 2 weeks of basically being housebound except for shifts at work, I decided that I needed to do whatever possible to pull myself out of my depression (hopefully, once and for all).

So, I made some changes. The first thing I did was give up alcohol. Cold turkey. I’ve blogged a little bit about drinking in the past. I’m far from a heavy drinker, but as alcohol is a depressant, it seemed counterintuitive to add depressants to depression.

I also started aromatherapy using Monq diffusers. I touched upon them in a recent post. They’re amazingly relaxing, and I highly recommend them!

I started going to bed really early (and trying my damndest to get up early). Going to bed earlier is easy—it’s the getting out of bed that I’ve always struggled with. I didn’t have much success with this until this morning. I’m hoping it continues!

I gave up caffeine after 3 p.m. This was a fairly arbitrary time choice, but it has worked wonders. I had no idea how much my caffeine consumption was affecting my sleep. Coffee doesn’t make me jittery or energetic, so I foolishly thought that I was immune to its effects. Wrong! My mind was jittery and energetic—shutting it off was impossible! No wonder I was having frequent nightmares! I switched to herbal tea—ginger with honey & lemon to be exact, and it has had a marvelous calming effect. It’s also great for digestion!

Upon the advice of a coworker, I started saying “thank you” more, and smiling when I did it. Just because I don’t personally need the validation of being thanked doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel good to validate and appreciate others. This alone has really brightened up my moods!

And finally (and most importantly), I KonMari’d. What the hell is KonMari, you ask?

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KonMari is the nickname of Japanese organizational guru, Marie KKondo. She is a genius. I started reading her book, The life-changing magic of tidying up, on Friday, and I’ve already been able to improve my quality of life. I can’t do tidying up justice in a blog post, but suffice it to say that it advocates basically getting rid of 2/3 or so of what you own, and only keeping those items which “spark joy”. That’s a fairly vague criterion for most, but as someone who values her intuition deeply, it is now the only criterion by which I evaluate my possessions. I’ve donated a ton of stuff already to my local Savers, as well as sold my nicer clothing on consignment or through Poshmark. I can’t believe it didn’t occur to me that my apartment didn’t have a storage issue—I had a hoarding issue! Honestly, how many sweaters does one woman need? Do I really need to keep all of my old exams and class notes? Fuck that. I feel so liberated from the burden of things. I hope to keep up the minimalism for the rest of my life! Being exclusively surrounded by items that give you joy is inspiring and mood-lifting.

So, that’s my personal recipe for winter survival! What tips do you employ to keep yourself sane during the colder months?

–DellaBites

Weekly Wares

2016 has seemed like a total “Invasion of the Body-Snatchers” scenario thus far. Get this: I’ve cut my caffeine consumption by 50-80% per day AND I’ve been practicing aromatherapy. I woke up on time for my 8 a.m. math class. 2015 me thinks that 2016 me is a hippie nerd.

Winter didn’t really come to New England this year. Sure, we’ve had snow and frigid days, but the usual onslaught of dampness and misery graciously spared is this year (unless we get another Easter blizzard). 65 degree February days are the only remotely acceptable part of climate change. This unseasonable weather, combined with my job in retail (where it’s been spring since Christmas!) have brought an unprecedented amount of bright, happy colors into my life during a month known for Groundhogs and below-zero temps.

All of this juuuuust so happened to coincide with the launch of the app A Color Story, so even our Instagrams have been brighter in 2016! I’ve been editing photos with A Color Story exclusively for the past week or so, and I’m really thrilled about the results. For a Photoshop pro, I’m sure it’s child’s play, but for the iPhoneographers among us, it’s an easy way to make your pics stand out.

So, other than ACS, here are a few of my other February faves!

 

purity by jonathan franzen, abm academic agenda, monq vibrant diffuser

 

 

Purity by Jonathan Franzen. So, technically, I’m a few pages from finishing this tome (I can’t accept that it’s almost over!) but I’m preemptively naming it my favorite book of the year. My Toasties/feminists hate Franzen, and there’s ample evidence to support such a view. However, a good story is a good story, and a writer who can make 500+ pages fly by pleasurably is okay in my book.

 

jacket-michael michael kors, scarf-magaschoni cashmere

Monq. Monq is a brand of aromatherapy “vaporizer” (I’m hesitant to use that term because of the connotation with e-cigs). They use unique blends of herbs and essential oils to create mood-boosting aromas and promote focused breathing. I splurged for the 7-pack (which contains Zen, Happy, Sleepy, Vibrant, Skinny, Sexy, and Healthy). My favorite is Vibrant (shown above).

 

Cigarette smoking is a vile habit that I never personally got into, but I am weirdly down with “vaping”. No nicotine, no tobacco–just aromatic healing!

What’s new for you in 2016?

–DellaBites