Summer Skin Care Routine

Happy Monday beauties!

My apologies for missing my usual weekly post last week but I am in a bit of a creative rut.  I started this blog because I love to share with people- I always have.  I feel thankful to have a platform to share with others.  I still very much enjoy blogging but when life gets busy, I prioritize spending quality time with the people I love.  The term quality is key here.  It is one thing to coexist in the same space with someone else but quality to me means truly connecting and feeling present.  When Mark gets home from work, we like to cook something for dinner and watch a few episodes of a show that makes us laugh- we’re currently watching How I Met Your Mother the second time through.  I try my absolute best to put my phone and computer down and be present engaging in this special time together to decompress.

The point of me telling you this is that I am trying something new- feeling less guilt for what I’m not able to accomplish, and doing things when they feel right.  Last week, I never found the time to write a blog post and it felt like a chore.  I don’t want a passion of mine to feel like an obligation so I will continue to add to this blog when it feels right for me- I hope that’s okay with you guys 🙂  Mental health is something we all have to work at- sometimes it requires more effort and nurturing than we allow ourselves to devote to it.  We should all forgive ourselves for not getting to everything we set out to, and we all deserve to carve time out in our day reserved for whatever the hell we want- whether that be reading a book, sitting on the couch watching tv, or sipping on a coffee for a few extra minutes.  

Since we are on the topic of self care, I think it’s an appropriate week to share my current skin care routine with you guys.  As I shared a few weeks ago in a post, I have started to invest more time and research in skin care since.  I am learning that what I put in my body is just as important as what I put on my body.  With an understanding that a high percentage of the products I put on my skin are absorbed into my bloodstream, I have started to look at body and skin care products with a whole new lens.  My updated skin care regimen reflects this knowledge as I now have the resources and knowledge to make healthier choices for my body while still feeling beautiful and doing what I can to prevent the inevitable wrinkle and blemish.  

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CLEAN & PREP 

I use these Burt’s Bees Grapefruit wipes to remove my makeup and gently cleanse my skin.  While I do know that there are cleaner products on the market, I am quite frankly- a little lazy.  I want to wipe off my makeup and the day’s sweat and germs the easy way, without having to tie my hair back, rinse with water AND dry off my face with a towel.  Not to mention, if I’m already in bed and too tired to walk to the bathroom, I can ask Mark to bring me a wipe.  Nothing else provides that level of ease 😉  This way there are NO excuses.

TONE 

I absolutely love the Thayer’s Witch Hazel as a toner and apply it using a cotton round.  It feels refreshing and cleanses my skin one step further than with a wipe.  Witch Hazel is anti-inflmmatory and anti-bacterial, it decreases oil production and the appearance of redness, and it promotes healing.  It is a wonderful and natural way to treat and prevent acne.

MOISTURIZE

I make my own serum and use this retinol moisturizer, which I recently shared in my July favorites post.  See below for instructions to make the serum.

Serum:  I make my own serum using essential oils and rosehip oil that I absolutely love and have found to be incredibly effective- it is an integral part of my skincare routine that I can see myself sticking with for years to come.  I only use Young Living Essential Oils as I have full trust in their purity standards and they are the only company who has their own farms- they have complete control of the cultivation process from planting the initial seeds to the distillation and packaging.  This is the “Seed to Seal” promise that only Young Living offers.  If you have any questions about essential oils, how they work, what to use specific oils for, and how to incorporate them into your own healthy lifestyle, feel free to contact me!  There is absolutely no pressure to purchase- my goal is to provide education and facts.  The three essential oils I use for this serum are included in the starter kit!

Ingredients:

– Frankincense essential oil (lifts and tones skin, fades scars and stretch marks, promotes cell regeneration)

– Lavender essential oil (controls bacteria-causing acne, reduces inflammation and redness, soothes skin)

– Copaiba essential oil (anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, tightens pores, evens skin tone)

– Rosehip or jojoba oil (this is the rosehip I use)

– Glass dropper bottles (I love these)

 

Directions:

Fill 2/3 glass dropper bottle with rosehip or jojoba oil.  Add 15 drops of each essential oil and combine by shaking gently.  Store in a cool, dry place.

SPOT TREAT

I use a drop of Young Living Tea Tree Essential Oil on blemishes which dries them right up.  For a refreshing, acne-fighting spray, I combined witch hazel and 15 drops of tea tree essential oil in a glass spray bottle like this.  I put spray this on my face when I run out of cotton rounds or don’t have them easily accessible and I mist it on my chest after a workout if I don’t have time to shower!

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I hope you all enjoyed this week’s skincare post and give yourself permission to take some extra time out for yourself this week.  Cheers! xx

-Leah

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July Favorites

Happy Monday beauties!  I hope you’re having a more productive day than I am- this post is all I’ve managed to do so far but it’s not to late to get moving 😉  How is it already August this week?!  In light of July ending and it being Monday, I will be sharing a few of my favorites from the month.  You guys know the drill by now- I hyperlink the numbers below the photo collage and each title above the product descriptions.  

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1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

1 | Yeti Tumbler

I have had my eyes on this Tumbler for almost a year now and I recently made the purchase.  I am SO glad I did- the quality of this product is unparalleled and it is so easy to clean.  I also have a Swell bottle (which I too loved) but it was harder to keep clean and got a funky musty smell after a few months of use.  The 30 oz. Yeti allows you to to hold plenty of liquid, actually see whats inside because of the large opening and clear lid, comes in a ton of colors, and does exactly what its supposed to do- it keeps your hot beverages hot and your cold beverages cold for a LONG time.  I like that I can fit ice cubes in without any problem, which is one of the disadvantages of the Swell bottle.  The Yeti lid is magnetic too so you can access every part of the bottle to make sure its clean.

2 | LilyAna Retinol Cream

I have recently begun investing more time and research into proper skin care- Lord knows I want to look 25 forever.  I now use sunscreen every morning in my CC cream, and I have gone from someone who used to bake in the sun with tanning oil (just typing that makes my stomach turn), to someone who opts to sit under an umbrella and reapply 30-50 SPF liberally.  I was the only one in my group of friends who didn’t burn at all on our trip to the Dominican in May.  That being said, I have started using more anti-aging products in my daily skincare routine and this Retinol cream has surpassed my expectations.  Its VERY affordable on Amazon and after using it for over two weeks, have noticed a significant difference in my skin’s tone and texture.  I have a more even skin tone and my face has never felt softer.  I would love to be able to go sans concealer with my improved complexion but I still have significant dark circles under my eyes (thank you genetics)- so if anyone has any recommendations for that, send them my way!

3 | Set of Five Flameless Candles 

I shared these a few posts back in my apartment tour blog post but I need to give them the attention they deserve.  These candles have a waxy surface, making them not only look real but feel like a normal candle, they are ALL operated with a remote so you don’t have to manually turn them on and off every time you use them, and best of all, they are are just under $17!  You just can’t beat that price when a one single flameless candle from your standard home decor shops like Pottery Barn would cost $50.  I would recommend these over and over again.  Just make sure you have or purchase AA batteries since they are not included 🙂

4 | Young Living Peppermint Essential Oil

If you know me, you know I sweat.  It’s just the way I am and there’s only so much I can do to control it.  This Summer has put me to my limits with this ridiculously hot and humid weather.  One thing I ALWAYS have in my purse is peppermint essential oil.  It’s the first oil I ever fell in love with because of its cooling properties that have helped tremendously with tension headaches and my constant state of being hot.  I only trust Young Living because I am assured of its quality and purity- to learn more, check out my blog post on essential oils here.  I put a dab of the peppermint oil in my fingers then rub it on the back of my neck, temples, and behind my ears.  It provides cooling relief within a minute or less.  For some people, this cooling sensation may be too intense so if this is the case for you, I would recommend mixing a drop of essential oil with a drop of carrier oil like fractionated coconut or olive.  Peppermint essential oil has been in my bag of tricks for over two years now and I truly don’t think I would survive Summer without it!

5 | Leather Zara Slides 

These shoes are easily my favorite closet addition I’ve purchased this Summer.  They are quite affordable being that they’re genuine leather, they look way more expensive than they are and are a great dupe for the $600 YSL slide.  The brown leather ensures that they look good with just about everything and they are very comfortable!  I have a wide foot and they have definitely stretched a bit to form to my wider foot, making them super easy to walk in but I think they would work really well for someone with a normal or narrower foot.  I sized up a half size from my usual 7.5 to an 8.

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I hope you guys enjoyed this post!  Be sure to let me know if you purchase any of these for yourself and what your thoughts are.  You guys know I only ever promote items that I use myself and truly believe in- I am not earning a commission on these- yet- but never say never 😉  Cheers! xx

– Leah

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Young Living Essential Oils 101

Good morning, happy Monday, and holy heat wave!

July has kicked off with some intense heat, but hopefully it will leave us with beautiful memories, beach trips, fireworks, and laughs with family and friends.  I am SO excited about this week’s blog post.  As I shared with you guys last Monday, I recently initiated a membership with Young Living.  

As you all know, one of my joys in life is to share with others- hence this blog.  I would be doing you all a disservice if I didn’t take the opportunity to share what I know about this fantastic company that prides itself on providing the best quality products and resources for healthy living.   My goal for this post is to help you understand what essential oils are, how you can use them, and the importance of using quality, therapeutic-grade products.  Happy reading!

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| What are essential oils? |

In simplest terms, essential oils are the extracted goodness from plants and other botanical materials.  There are different methods used for extraction, which include steam distillation, resin tapping, and cold pressing.  One of the main reasons quality essential oils can be pricy is due to the amount of labor and crops needed to make one bottle, making them intensely concentrated- one single drop goes a long way.  For example, hundreds of orange rinds are cold-pressed in order to create one bottle of orange essential oil.

Essential oils have unique molecular properties that makes them accessible to our body’s bloodstream and tissues.  This is why it is SO important to use quality, therapeutic grade essential oils.  They have the power to do a lot of good if they are used correctly and cultivated with high quality standards.

| How do you use them? |

Contrary to popular belief, essential oils are not a trend or fad and have in fact been around for thousands of years.  There are three basic ways to use them:  diffuse, ingest, or apply topically.  I will share later in the post a few of my favorite oils in the starter kit and how I incorporate them into my daily life!

| Where can I purchase essential oils? |

Although it is a positive thing that more consumers want to make healthier choices for themselves and their families, large corporations (and sometimes boutique shops) want to tap into this profitable market, and try their hand at producing “essential oils” that in no way have been cultivated to the standards that ensure safety and purity.

There is a TON of misinformation about essential oils, mostly due to the fact that consumers are not purchasing their oils from responsible and reputable companies.  I see essential oils all the time at TJ Maxx, Bed Bath & Beyond, Amazon, and stores alike- please be warned that these oils can (and often do) contain fillers and other substances in order to increase the quantity of sellable product and decrease the price.  Have you ever “watered down” a child’s juice? – that is essentially what these companies do.  At the very least you wasted your money, since the oil will not be as effective- if effective at all.  As one of the more serious consequences, these oils can be dangerous since they may contain chemicals that now have a one way ticket to your blood stream.

Unfortunately, these oils can be masked with convincing labels that flaunt “organic” and “therapeutic grade,” which is understandably confusing.  One of the red flags in purchasing a quality essential oil is the presence of an expiration date.  Quality, therapeutic-grade essential oils do not expire.  Another red flag- if the ingredients label contains anything other than the plant material used to extract that oil, don’t purchase it!

To summarize my answer to this question, there are a number of places you can purchase essential oils.  However, there is only one place you should purchase essential oils if you want to ensure purity, quality, & safety, and get the most bang for your buck.

| Why Young Living? |

Young Living is a company that prides itself on the most stringent quality standards in the business, which they call the “Seed to Seal” promise.  They only source the botanical material used in their oils from corporate-owned farms and partner farms that abide by their strict standards.  This means there is no “middle man” and quality is ensured at the very start- crops are not sprayed with harmful pesticides that can taint the purity of the ingredients used to make these little bottles of magic.

In addition to Young Living’s standards for pure and ethically-sourced ingredients, they have the same stringent standards for scientific testing. They utilize state of the art lab equipment and testing procedures that have become more reliable secondary to years and years of testing the same oils.  Essentially, the lab equipment becomes more sensitive at detecting molecular impurities over time, and Young Living has been refining these practices for the past 25 years.  If they have any doubts about the integrity or quality of the ingredients used to produce these oils (a bad crop season, etc.) they will not sell it!  If you’re interested in learning more about the Seed to Seal promise, clock here for a link to a more in-depth description.

| How can I get started? |

If you’re interested in trying essential oils for yourself, you have two options: purchase a starter kit and become a member OR purchase products at wholesale price as a retail customer.  I will go over both options so you can explore the benefits of each and decide what works best for you.

Retail customer

If you just want to try an oil or two to see what all the fuss is about, but aren’t ready to financially commit to a membership by purchasing a starter kit, you can choose to purchase individual oils at wholesale price.  Just choose the “retail customer” option.

Member

In order to become a member of Young Living, you purchase a starter kit, which is a curated collection of the company’s top selling and most used essential oils and products.  As a member, you are able to purchase all products at a 24% discount, have the option to be compensated as a distributor (only if you choose- it is by no means required), and have access to a monthly shipment of products that can be terminated or adjusted at any time based on your needs for that month (this is called the Essential Rewards program, or ER).

A starter kit comes with the following: Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, Frankincense, Citrus Fresh, Panaway, Thieves, Copaiba, Digize, Stress Away, and Raven therapeutic grade essential oils, information about what each oil is and how to use them, a diffuser in the design of your choice, concentrated thieves cleaner samples (enough to make full size spray bottles for your home cleaning needs), 2 Ningxia Red Packets (antioxidant-packed juice made from wolf berries or Gogi berries), roller tops, and travel bottles.  The price of this starter kit is $160 and you are a member for life!

| What are your most-used oils and how do you use them? |

Peppermint

A dab on the back of my neck on hot, sweaty days like today.  A few dabs behind the ears, on my temples, and the nape of my neck for relief from tension headaches.  One drop in my water for an instant breath refresher and energy booster.  A drop on a cotton pad at the bottom of a garbage can to keep the stink away.  Three to four drops on a few cotton pads placed on pantry selves to keep critters away 😉 Bugs hate peppermint!

Thieves

Mixed in a spray bottle with distilled water for a multi-purpose cleaning spray- add lemon for extra gunk fighting power.  A drop in hot water for an immune-boosting tea.  A drop under my tongue and on the bottom of my feet when I feel sickness approaching.  Diffused in my home during the colder months to keep germs away and the apartment smelling festive.

Lemon

A drop in my water for a detoxifying, fat fighting, and hydrating beverage- super tasty too.  I’ll never cut another lemon again (at least for my water- ha!).  A drop on anything sticky for goo-gone fighting power without the awful fumes and hormone-disrupting chemicals.  Diffused with peppermint and lavender for an allergy-fighting combo.

If you’re interested in learning more about how I incorporate these oils and products into my daily life, follow me on instagram @leah_oliver.  I post my favorite diffuser blends, cleaning tricks, and plan to share recipes for facial serums and cleaning sprays.

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I hope this post was informative and non-threatening.  There is SO much to learn and it can be overwhelming but I tried to provide you with the basics.  I am amazed daily with the number of times I reach for these oils and I cannot wait to continue exploring the other products Young Living has to offer.  Please feel free to ask any questions you may have- I will do my best to answer, or refer you to another member from my team who has more knowledge to offer.  I hope you all enjoy your week and stay cool- I know I will thanks to my trusty peppermint essential oil 😉 Cheers! xx

-Leah

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