A Month of Oils - Part 2

So, where'd I leave off with? - oh yes, the ordering of a starter kit of everyday essential oils from Young Living - After reading up on the company, and their Seed to Seal process, and knowing a couple people who were already using (and loving) them, this is the brand of oils I chose to go with.  I know there are other brands and companies out there, but this is the one I chose for myself and my family, and the one all my forthcoming experiences are based on.

When they arrived (hooray!) the first thing I did was line'em up for a pretty, pre-seal breaking, modified rainbow order photo shoot - 

Young Living Everyday Essentials - 10 Oil Set from Premium Starter Kit

Young Living Everyday Essentials - 10 Oil Set from Premium Starter Kit

and I know, I know - I've shown this picture before, but - C'MON! IT'S SO PRETTY!
Anyway, right after that, I cracked open all those lil tops and gave each one a sniff - a bit surprised as none of them were particularly "whoa!" strong smelling, as I'd experienced with the store-bought ones. Just, kinda fresh and soft, and - natural, if that makes sense. My order was missing the diffuser as it was backordered, but since I already had one of my own, I went ahead and diffused some Purification (a Young Living blend that contains Citronella, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Mel A, Lavandin, Myrtle) in the front hallway area - it's a big open space connecting my art studio room, the living room, my library/office and the boys' bedroom hall including their bathroom (which houses the Cat Toilet). So yeah it always has a "smell"! and I noticed a real difference within minutes of running the diffuser. So - I kept a little journal over the first days to keep track of which oils I used, for what, and how they did or didn't work or affect us. I'm gonna break it down by week instead of daily, and just give a few ways I used the oils, to (try to) keep this short(er)

WEEK 1 - JAN 19-25
Diffused Purification in main living area - smells great!
Used PanAway on arthritic dog - he didn't seem to notice or care
Diffused StressAway in bedroom at night, "swiped" on husband's feet - liked it
Applied Frankincense & Lavender (w/sweet almond carrier oil) on face after washing - enjoyed the scent, felt relaxing
Used drop of Thieves on toothbrush - YEOW! that kinda burned actually (I do have a sensitivity to cinnamon)
Added few drops Purification to spray bottle of distilled water - used as room & fabric freshener
Gave boys (20 & 17) a cotton round with few drops of Lavender to keep by their beds at night
Used Purification spray-bottle mix spritzed on pad while I steam mopped - smells great!

Definitely notice difference in way house smells - fresh, clean - not perfume-y or like fake smelling chemicals. No headaches or sneezing issues with any scents / blends tried. Need to BE MINDFUL of the cinnamon/clove mixtures for my sensitivity to it! Noticing a difference in my facial skin feeling much softer. Husband says he is sleeping better - really likes the aroma of the oils at night. Boys don't seem to notice other than house smells better.

My "spaceship" diffuser that lives in the main living area, and runs daily with whatever mix I "need" or am in the mood for 

My "spaceship" diffuser that lives in the main living area, and runs daily with whatever mix I "need" or am in the mood for 

WEEK 2 - JAN 26-31
Daily diffusing different mixes - Home Diffuser arrived last week, using that in bedroom at night, moving it to diff rooms in day - my big "spaceship" diffuser stays in the hallway area
Trying "Allergy Trio" (Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint) - taken internally: 2 drops each in spoonful of raw, local honey - Lavender is not real tasty! 
Adding Lavender to StressAway mix in bedroom diffuser at night - nice! using same mix on bottoms of feet (I call it foot swipes)
Using MelA (Melaleuca Alternifolia or Tea Tree) with either Frank (Frankincense) in the AM or Lavender in the PM on face after washing - diluted with almond oil - treating breakouts directly with extra dab of MelA neat (undiluted)
Bedtime routine = whatever oil residue left on my hands after face treatment or applying foot swipes - rub rest into my hairline/scalp
Swabbing stripe of PanAway down dog's back - I don't think he likes it and I don't think it's helping him - big dog, allergy issues, arthritic hips - so I'm going to stop

House smells fresher and clean, even when you come in after being out all day - handles the catbox odor well! The "allergy trio" REALLY seems to be helping me with the sniffy, sneezy itchies - and they are BAD this season! But I noticed I started getting a burning feeling in the upper part of my esophagus so I stopped. Pretty sure that was user-error (too many drops, too often) so I am off that while I let my throat get back to normal. My daily face cleaning routine is yielding some nice results; softer, smoother texture, clearing up the breakouts. That I *still* have.  At forty-something. {eyeroll} And the mister & I are definitely sleeping better with the bedtime diffuser oils. 

The Young Living "Allergy Trio" of Lavender, Lemon & Peppermint!

The Young Living "Allergy Trio" of Lavender, Lemon & Peppermint!

WEEK 3 - FEB 1-7
Continuing my daily diffuser mixes (now a hashtag! #dailydiffusing on IG @gemgirlartist) and trying out different blends
Cat pee'd on my bed (uhhh, thanks?) - used couple drops Purification in laundry and spritzed my spray mix on the mattress (it didn't even soak thru the mattress pad, just being extra diligent!)
Swapped out Stress Away for Peace & Calming in the bedtime diffuser (still w/Lavender) and LOVE it
Using Thieves before toothbrushing - SMALL, teeny, tiny, miniscule! amount on QTip, swab along gumline then brush as normal
Couple of us had headaches this week - drop of Peppermint, rubbed into temples - they disappeared within 20 minutes

Daily battle of a fave oil for scent between Thieves and Purification - they are both so GOOD! Loving our nighttime ritual of getting the diffuser ready, doing my face cleansing routine, "swipe"ing our feet. Kids are coming around - youngest son keeps asking for his own diffuser! They still don't want to try the oils on their faces. Thrilled with quick results from air freshening, pain alleviation protocols. 

The nightly "filling of the diffusers" pre-bedtime -- this was after I'd gotten the boys their own for their rooms

The nightly "filling of the diffusers" pre-bedtime -- this was after I'd gotten the boys their own for their rooms

WEEK 4 - FEB 8-17 (yes, I know that's more than 7 days)
Using my Purification + water spray on everything - even a quick armpit spritz one day when I realized I forgot to put on deodorant!
Made Lavender "sleep spray" to replace a commercial made spray I'd been using
Made husband a Stress Away & Lavender roll-on to take to work - and I used it when we did a day @ Disney, for the "scary" rides, haha!
Sent sample packet of Ningxia (it's Ning-Zsha, but I call it Ninja!) Red in hub's work lunch (we didn't read packet directions/servings - he drank whole thing at once and said he felt "weird" afterwards)
Tried Pan-Away for some knee & wrist pain - wow, I kinda love that stuff!
Added Purification to night face routine - OUT! of Lavender (I think I am overusing it - adding too many drops) - not sure it's doing any more than other mix
Back to allergy trio since my throat is fine - but using it on a QTip & swabbing inside mouth, and diffusing, rather than ingesting drops in honey - I have some gelatin capsules but haven't tried filling those yet!
Tried Thieves concentrated cleaner (my first Essential Rewards order!) in the dishwasher - not super impressed, but could be a good "booster" - however, I have been using it diluted in a spray bottle as an all-purpose cleaner and HOLY. COW. I will not ever be without it, now. NEVER.

SO LOVE-ing! the way the house smells - and it isn't "scented" - it just smells fresh, clean, and with a hint of natural fragrance - nothing we've used so far has overpowered, or caused headaches or sneezing or any other issues. (other than the day I mixed too much Joy with CitrusFresh and GAG it was super flowery gross, like your "Nana from Teh Old Country" 's house would probably smell) Adjusting to using the allergy trio in smaller doses, as well as the Thieves for oral care - and again, I think that's just me & my moderate cinnamon sensitivity.  And yes, we ALL have our own room diffusers now! The kids are on board and like when I run a mix for them, and youngest is all about doing his own, I think it's pretty cool how he's into it - right now he likes just Lemon. (and he works pizza delivery, so his room used to always reek of Italian Ristorante! hah! but not anymore ...)

Overall thoughts for my first full month on Young Living Essential Oils

I am really really pleased that I took the plunge to start using essential oils in my home and for my family, and even more so once I found a high quality, superior grade oil and company that I trust. If I never used them for anything other than naturally freshening and cleaning my home without chemicals and synthetics and harsh materials, I'd be happy & satisfied and feel I was getting my money's worth. The fact that I feel we as a whole family are all benefitting from the oils in many different ways - both physically and mentally, large and small - I'd say is a bonus! and I look forward to continuing to learn about the safe, effective use of these oils and the gradual working of them further into our daily lives as part of our goal to live a more natural and healthful life. 

Since I started using the essential oils in mid-January, I've gotten rid of ALL synthetic and chemical scent sprays, room deodorizers, air fresheners - including all my candles, wax melts, burners and electric outlet pluggable warmer units. I've stopped using a number of different spray cleaners and have added the essential oil infused cleaner to my laundry, household and floor cleaning routines, and not only do I think they smell better, but I feel they do a better job at ACTUALLY cleaning surfaces, and keeping them cleaner (and fresher smelling) much longer. I even just washed my OUTDOOR windows with my Thieves cleaner spray!

All in all, I'd give them a big thumbs up - the only real issues I've had in fact, were caused by my own error in either overusing product or not reading the instructions /dosing / labels correctly (or, at all) - I'm now about 2 months in, and am getting more knowledgable and more adept at using these essential oils every day. I love this new way of living and I wouldn't go back! And would be happy to share what I've learned with you - so let me know if you have any questions on essential oils - what they are, what they do, getting started using them, etc., 
and I will hook you up with some info and links and all that jazz :) Just email me -> lemondropgem @ gmail.com

Next up? I'll be sharing the assorted things I've MADE with my Young Living essential oils
- (like the snazzy bottled sleep spray ^ up there ^) So until then, have a super day!

OH! and if you DIDN'T see Part 1 - here it is

My First Month - Part 1

Get ready. THIS is my NEW THING! and those that know me, know this is just how I am - I can get Very! Excited! about New! Things! ("Whoa, this pen I got is SO GREAT!" - "Hey look, these Cheez-It crackers are shaped like SCRABBLE LETTERS!" - "ohmigosh the Target Cartwheel app, best thing, EVAR" - "Let me just tell you - This. Cat. Litter. NumberONE!" ... etc and so forth.) and as those folks would also tell you - "Yeeeeah, but she gets just as easily bored with things and is on to the next one, sooo ... {shrug}"  

Why this disclaimer? Cuz I want you to know that this new thing is one of the PERMANENT new things (like my beloved Sharkmop. Or the aforementioned cat litter. Seriously, that stuff is super great. Arm & Hammer Essentials, the corn based one. Funny, that - it's named essentials. Hah. Read on, you'll see.) and I really think calling it a life changer isn't even remotely exaggerating. So? WHAT IS IT ALREADY!?

Essential Oils. I started using them about mid-January. I'd been thinking about getting started with essential oils for a few months -I have three cats and a huge dog - all fulltime indoor pets, plus I have two teenage boys and a husband. So basically, my house ALWAYS stinks. I was a big user of scented candles and room and fabric deodorizing sprays and electric outlet warmer units. And wax melts.  And sometimes the scents would be overpowering, or make us sneeze, or - give us headaches.  I have also always been a fan of and believer in massage and aromatherapy, and have a handful of therapists I watch on YouTube, and most of them would use essential oils in their treatments, and touted their benefits. I thought, hey maybe essential oils would be a better option for house-freshening. So I got a room diffuser machine from a catalog, and got a few bottles of EOs from the health & beauty section at a local discount retailer. Chamomile, Grapefruit and Lemongrass. The accompanying "feeling names" on the labels made them even more enticing - Comforting, Uplifting, Refreshing, OHMY!

Large orb style ultrasonic room diffuser, and the original 3 essential oils I bought locally

Large orb style ultrasonic room diffuser, and the original 3 essential oils I bought locally

I was so excited and the first one I tried was - oooh, let's go Uplifting! so, Grapefruit. And it was ... nice. Fresh. Kinda - strong, I thought, but you wanted it to scent the house, right? I seemed to get a bit sneezy, but - we have had a mild winter here in Florida so the windows were open, and stuff was pollen-ing all over the place, I just figured it was allergies. I tried the Lemongrass one day - it was very strong, but a bit sweet, and I liked the smell - but I got headaches immediately with that one (that's why, you probably can't see, but - the liquid in that one is still almost to the top.) The last one I tried was the Chamomile - I didn't diffuse that, as I was planning to use it on my skin to calm irritation and to relax before bedtime. I used it neat (not diluted with any base/carrier oil or lotion) and I thought it burned a bit, but - I have sensitive and highly prone-to-irritation-and-breakouts skin so I thought that just how it was. And it smelled okay but nothing great. So, really - I wasn't terribly impressed with my first foray into oils, and probably woulda just set them aside and forgot about them after a while.

But then! I remembered that a couple artist friends of mine were into oils too, and after some research on where they were getting their oils from I ended up buying a starter kit of oils from the Young Living company. I felt the most comfortable with their overall message and delivery and everyone who was using them seemed to rave about and have such wonderful experiences using them, plus they have something called their Seed to Seal process which really intrigued me and put me at ease regarding their quality. I figured I couldn't really do any worse than the store ones, right? So I spent my Christmas money-gift on this Premium Starter Kit they offer (that came with a -smaller than the one I bought, but still very lovely room diffuser - as well as a set of 10 Everyday Essentials oils) And when it arrived, one - the box and contents smelled lovely (turns out the bottle of Lavender had leaked a teensy bit in the box, oops) and 2) my diffuser wasn't included as it was on backorder (luckily, I already had the other one). As I'd been reading up quite a bit on essential oil uses and specifically the ones included in the starter kit - via my own research and some really great groups on Facebook, I felt pretty comfortable jumping right in with these, even after my rather underwhelming experience with the store bought brand. And I started keeping a little daily journal of what oils we were using, for what reason(s), what the result or effects were, if any - as well as any reactions or bad experiences.

And that's what I'm gonna be sharing with you in the next post! So -

(sorry, haha but I told ya - it's a long post!)

if you'd like to read about the individual and blends of essential oils included in the Young Living Everyday Essentials kit while you wait for my Part 2 - here is a link to theYoung Living "Everyday Essentials" online booklet: Young Living Everyday Essentials

Here it is! >> Part 2

February, Already

Unbelievable, time just goes faster and faster. I have a TON, like a LITERAL, ACTUAL TON - (SO seriously - if you poured all the ideas out of my brain and all the plans and goals and projects and stuff I wanna do, etc and so on onto like, a truck-stop scale, it would pile up into a mound weighing roughly 2,146 pounds. more or less.) of things to do and make and plan for and document and write / blog about. BUT, TIME.

Anyway. Aside from new art, and a cleared out homespace and refreshed outlook, AND the daily photo project Nature365 that I am doing in tandem with my long-time art buddy and Flickr-found-friend Patricia  ... my Newest of New Things is (oh God don't roll your eyes please) Essential Oils! Ahhhh I know, I know - whatever! Bag on me all ya want I don't care. I'mma just rub some fantastic oil concoction on ya and THEN YOU'LL SEE! ;-) But really, I started using them like less than a month ago, and I am sold. Like, forever sold. So while I definitely have a really in depth post about my first month using the oils that'll be coming up soon - for now I'll just leave you with this very pretty picture I took of my little rainbow babies the day they arrived <3 

Hah! Of COURSE the 1st thing I did was put them in a modified Rainbow Order, DUH!

Hah! Of COURSE the 1st thing I did was put them in a modified Rainbow Order, DUH!