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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June Favorites

HAPPY Monday beauties!

How crazy is it that we’re already nearing the end of June?   Does anyone else feel like the warm weather months fly by in the blink of an eye?  I spent this past weekend enjoying a super low- key 25th birthday with Mark, exploring a few restaurants in our new ‘hood.  We ate Thai on Friday at the cutest place called THEP, then enjoyed a lazy Saturday afternoon followed by Sangria and tapas at Boqueria.   If you find yourself in the Upper East Side, I would highly recommend both!

To round out the month of June and welcome July, I want to share a few of my recent favorites with you.  You know the drill- the numbers below the photo collage and the titles above each product description are all shoppable links.  I own and genuinely adore each of these items and hope you will too! 

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1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

1| Capri Blue Volcano Candle

If you don’t know, now you know.  This candle, oh the love I have for this candle!  It’s Anthropologie’s signature scent- it smells like Summer and happiness and pretty much everything good in the world.  The site’s description hints at the magic that lives inside this beautiful jar- “tropical fruits, sugared oranges, lemons and limes, redolent with lightly exotic mountain greens.”  That’s more like it.  It burns beautifully, comes in all kinds of jar sizes and design options, and the jar doesn’t get hot so I don’t have to worry about it leaving a mark on our wood coffee table.  Each time I open the door to our apartment, I’m greeted with a scent that makes me smile.

2 | Acure Clarifying Shampoo

Prior to adding this clarifying shampoo to my regular hair care routine, I was having an issue with excess oiliness.  Immediately after a fresh wash and styling, my hair was looking oily at the roots which is incredibly frustrating.  After two washes with this product, my problem was solved.  I was always afraid of clarifying shampoos because I thought my hair was too dry for them, but they are such an important component in a balanced hair care regimen.  Using this helped rid my scalp of excess product buildup, which is what was causing the oiliness.  Not to mention, it smells divine,  is super affordable, and it’s free of all the crap we should stay away from like parabens and sulfates.

3 | Young Living Rose Ointment

This is the product that opened my eyes, my heart, and my wallet to this fantastic brand.  The Rose Ointment is like a magic balm.  It is safe to use just about anywhere- cuts, scrapes, dry skin, lips, blemishes, feet, hands- you name it!  It has cleared up multiple problem areas on my face which I swear were the residual effects of a long, cold, and dry Winter.  If you are a Young Living member and haven’t tried this, add it to you ER order right away!  If you aren’t a member, no worries- you can purchase it at the wholesale price.  A Young Living blog post is in the works- I will explain what I have learned so far and how I incorporate therapeutic grade essential oils into my daily life.

4 | Aerie Raw Hem Sweatshirt

This sweatshirt is light, cozy, and flattering with an oversized fit.  I have it in the light heather gray color in a size small.  If you like the oversized look, get your usual size but if you like a more fitted sweatshirt, I would suggest ordering one size down.  This is perfect for those chilly, breezy Summer nights and looks adorable with just about anything you pair it with.  It is currently 50% off and is fully stocked in six colors!

5 | Travel Steamer

Okay I’ll say it- I definitely saved the best for last in this post.  OMG it’s good you guys.  I purchased it from Amazon for the sole purpose of bringing it on vacation with us.  I had never used a steamer in my life- and I was skeptical that one this size (just shy of 8.5 inches) would actually do much.  So we put it to work on the some of toughest garments to tackle- Mark’s balled up button-downs obviously packed with meticulous care.  The look on both of our faces when it effortlessly transformed deep set wrinkles into a perfectly crisp, smooth shirt- I swear I could have outsold some of the best sales women on QVC.

It works like freaking magic and it could not be easier.  A few things to keep in mind, it is very hot (obviously) and steam rises- so be careful of hand placement.  Do not fill past the “max” line, and avoid tilting the steamer forward or some water might spill out.  We have found the best way to steam something is to put it on a hanger and place it on the closet or shower door so it’s not far from eye level.  Mark uses this every morning to steam his work shirts since they are hanging in a rather tightly packed closet 😉  And yes, this travel steamer totally deserved two paragraphs.

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Well, that’s all for now folks.  Happy Summer- I hope its filled with adventure, grilled food, ice cream, smiles, laughter, bike rides, swimming, corn on the cob, and open sunroof drives.  Stay tuned for a blog post on Young Living Essential Oils and please let me know if you have any questions in the mean time!  

Cheers friends, xx

-Leah 

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