A daily mind vacation ... why I love my new habit of Meditation

Let's face it - I am like a squirrel running around all day trying to get #allthethingsdone. People who know me can testify that! And let me just tell you, it's not working out well. I end up doing 5 things at once (seems productive at first, right?) and never end up finish even one! Super annoying! 

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Early this year I listened to an audiobook called 'Miracle Morning' and they recommended meditation as a method of focusing your mind daily and to continue that focus throughout the day. It also helps see things clearly and instill a feeling of peace and gratitude...so I searched for the best app and tried a few. 

I finally came across 'Simple Habit' and I freaking love it! I try to now meditate at least once a day for 5-10 minutes. It seems counter productive to take time out of our busy schedule to literally sit still and do nothing but listening and breathing - but soon you'll notice that the opposite is true - you gather your mindfulness and focus and you actually function better and more balanced for the rest of the day - it's practically magic. Still squirrel but not as bad, and believe it? I ACTUALLY get shit done these days (like this blog post).

Since I am more than grateful for having come across this simple change in my daily routine I had to share! I try to get my meditation in as part of my morning routine right before I write my gratitude journal = it's an amazing combo to start your day out on a super positive note!! 

When I feel the need, I do another practice during my little one's nap time - it brings my focus back on a crazy day and just gives my mind a timeout - so needed, right, Mamas?

My part of the app is actually a little wheel that touches all areas of your day that you might need a meditation for and you can pick from 5 - 20 minutes depending on how much time you have. 

I sooooo want you to try this out - you will see a difference in just one or two practices.

Check here what science says about meditation:

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You can explore many different series of meditation practices and save them to your favorites so you can continue them daily. It's an amazing way to address any area of your life that you'd like to improve! 

Are you ready to meditate too? This is the app I use and LOVE!!!! Click here to get 2 weeks of FREE premium!!!!

Let me know in the comments what you think about it? 

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Our usual Chaos - How to get back to taking pictures of your kids

Do it with passion or not at all

When my husband got me my first camera about 6 years ago his intention was for me to learn how to use it right and then take some really good pictures of us and the kids to keep in albums, scrapbooks and slideshows! Time was fleeting so fast, he wanted me to capture what I could and have fun doing it. 

Most of you know that adventure took a totally different turn when I realized how passionate about creating memories I had become! I launched my own photography business in 2011 and it was my absolute dream come true! 

Over the years though, as I was filling my calendar with my wonderful clients, I found myself getting more and more away from capturing my own kids and us as a family with my big camera - it was just too much to lug around that heavy thang wherever we went...just wasn't feeling it, you know? At the same time I missed it...

I tried every year as a New Years resolution to take a daily picture and post it....like I had seen so many others do - but I failed miserably!! Like a week into it I already forgot the pictures or had no time to edit and post them...and gave up :( #fail 

This year was different. I decided to really make this a priority and also change up the concept a little so it works better for me!

I now store my camera in the kitchen where I see it often and take a snap of something that sparks my interest, is funny or just comes up in daily life around our house. I only edit once a week - set a timer for 25 minutes so I don't wander off into Facebook or other time sucking activities...and focus on getting a few good images finished! 

I am so excited that it's been a whole month now and I have not fallen off the wagon yet ha! I truly feel like I am connecting to my original passion and what I always meant to do! You can do this!

One year Cakesmash Session - Sneak PeeK

Cakesmash sessions are one of my favorite sessions ever! You never know what happens and they are always uber cute! 

This little cutie's family pointed me to a new to me location and I am in LOVE with it! It's beautiful, right on the Potomac and has an old lighthouse plus some gorgeous overgrown woods! A dream! 

cakesmashsession in old town alexandria

So he started out as a super happy camper but each time his little hand touched the frosting he screamed - it was hilarious (see outtake below). 

cakesmash session in old town alexandria

So we cleaned him off a few times and put him right back into the action. I was able to get some lovely shots and I am so excited to be able to give these keepsakes to this lovely family to forever remember their little buddy on his 1st birthday!

The super cute cake was made by my talented friend Cynthia from Cynthia Ann Desserts in Waldorf, MD! She creates the most delicious treats! 

Why you want to stay away from scented candles, wax warmers and air fresheners this Fall (and forever!)

"We live in a highly chemically infused environment where people use tons of products, just because it's on the supermarket shelves doesn't mean it's safe."

It's that time of the year - leaves are falling, air is getting crisp, we cannot wait to whip out those boots and cozy sweaters!! The one thing that CANNOT be missing is yummy fall smells (Hello, Pumpkin Spice!). So most of us go for a scented candle...I used to as well and loved it! 

Little did I know that though they seem safe, regular scented candles are a huge source of indoor air pollution and they put off chemicals that are considered just as dangerous as second hand smoke. Woah! (Source: Daily Mail UK and CNN)            


I learned this about 2 years ago and I was NOT happy!! I had used scented candles for years and years and had no idea that I was putting us at danger! 

perfect alternative to scented candles

When I started using essential oils I threw out all my candles...but when Fall comes around I still want that yummy spicy cinnamony orangy smell in my house that I love so much! Thank goodness there are diffuser blends that can give you the PERFECT alternative to those yucky candles with even better smells! 

The best part? The oils that you diffuse do not only smell amazing and are non toxic, nope! They even have health benefits when diffused into the air - so you are not only ditching the toxic air pollution, you are in fact cleaning your air and making you and your family healthier all in one (see more benefits below and google each of them as well - you will be so amazed!)

Below is my favorite Fall diffuser blend - so so good! 

Clove Essential Oil: Use For Antioxidant Support, Digestive Support, Physical Discomfort
Nutmeg Essential Oil: Nutmeg has a warm, spicy aroma that is energizing and uplifting. Nutmeg blends well with other oils such as Orange, Clary Sage, any Eucalyptus, and Ginger.
Cinnamon Bark: 
Cinnamon Bark has a hot and spicy fragrance that is said to unlock feelings of abundance. Many use it aromatically for its warm, inviting tones.
Orange Essential Oil: 
Orange essential oil, cold-pressed from the rinds of oranges, has a juicy aroma reminiscent of the fresh fruit.
Ginger Essential Oil: Use for Muscle Tension, Digestive Support, Stamina

Source: Young Living

If you feel like you are ready to start your own oily journey to better wellness and health, this month is a great one to start! Young living is giving a *free* laundry detergent to each person that grabs their Premium starter kit this month. you will basically be getting a $370 value of oils/diffuser/detergent for $160 - it's such a steal! More details are here!

Fall diffuser blend with Young Living Essential Oils

super limited Fall Availability for Photography Sessions

This year is going by even faster than last one. We have a home renovation, 2 trips in the summer, one weekend for Silver Retreat and other stuff on the calendar already for the upcoming months. 

When I was booking a cakesmash session for September the other day and we were having issues finding a Saturday that worked I realized how full my calendar is getting. 

So here are all 3 (yes, 3) dates that are still available on my calendar for family sessions in 2016! Get yours booked now to be sure to grab a spot! (of course I do have Fall Family Minis planned already - most likely for early October- keep checking for those to be released in mid Summer)

Oil Facts Thursday - Mind Blowing Fact #5

ESSENTIAL OILS ARE ADAPTOGENIC.

Adaptogenic means that essential oils can change and adapt to what your body needs, because it’s a natural substance. It does for my body what MY body needs, and for your body what YOUR body needs.

mindblowing facts about essential oils

Oils are a natural, living thing used to help your body work better. To work AS IT SHOULD.

Let’s say that we open up a bottle of Lavender together. For me, it might calm me down and make me want to take a nap. You might get a little burst of energy! This happens because the oil is adapting and doing what your body needs it to do for you.

Maybe for my body, I need extra support in normal estrogen delivery. And maybe your body needs to regulate and support the adrenal glands. Guess what? We can potentially use the SAME thing because the oil adapts!

 

Now here’s the other part of adaptogenic!

The essential oil you are using is not going to go past what the body needs. If you are supporting a certain organ in the body, imagine a vertical line that represents NORMAL. Maybe you are to the right of that line. The oil is going to do what it needs to do to bring you back to center. Maybe you are to the left of that normal line. It will do what it needs to bring you back to center.

It’s like a really nice friend guiding you through a maze with a blindfold on. Not the mean kind of friend that crashes you into things for their own entertainment.

Once you are on your NORMAL line, it just stops! You are not going to artificially drive the body in a bad direction. Because they are a natural substance and the frequency has done all that it needs to do, the body will stop accepting it.

Unlike this unfortunate scenario…

 

 

 

 

Oil Facts Thursday - Mind blowing fact about Essential Oils #4

4. ESSENTIAL OILS WORK OFF OF FREQUENCIES.

Did you know??? Every single living thing has a different vibrational frequency. Every plant, tree, even water. Every cell in your body: your stomach cells, your liver cells… they ALL have a different frequency and they are all literally vibrating.

oil facts thursday mindblowing facts about essential oils

NOW, there has been a ton of scientific research done on plants and essential oils, so Young Living knows the vibrational frequency of each plant/oil. They ALSO have researched how the body’s cells function off of different frequencies. SO, they match the plants that help to stimulate and support that part of the body to create specific changes. Based on that, they use oils and create blends to help your body to operate exactly as it was supposed to!

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That’s why you can have an oil called JOY. Because they know that the frequencies of these specific plants/oils in that blend work with the right parts of the body to:

  • support emotional well-being
  • give a feeling of happiness
  • promote a more joyful outlook
  • calm down
  • reduce normal daily stressors

Scientifically, the oil is helping your body to experience joy! This is so, so fun for me to understand! Are you loving this??

The cells oscillate, hit another cell, and pass it on down the line… this is what’s happening! It’s literally vibration. And it’s PHYSICS. Nothing crazy or spooky or woo-woo is happening here, friends. It’s just physics.

Source: Dr. Jim Bob Haggerton, YouTube

Oil Facts Thursday - Mind Blowing Fact #3

3. ESSENTIAL OILS CROSS THE BLOOD-BRAIN BARRIER.

The blood-brain barrier is a literal barrier, or coating, around the nervous system and around the brain, to keep toxins and junk out of it. It works HARD to keep the yucky things from reaching the most important part of your body – your brain. You can NOT live without the nervous system (your brain and your spinal cord), so we’ve gotta’ protect that bad boy!

(PS: in case you missed Facts 1 and 2, find them here and here)

Now, get this! The cell particles of essential oils are SO TEENY TINY and SO VERY POWERFUL, that they can cross right through the blood-brain barrier, through the blood vessels and capillaries, over the river & through the woods, and drive themselves right into your body quicker and more completely. This. Is. WILD.

There is an outer wall that keeps attackers out (it’s called your skin! Or your mucous membrane, like around your eyes). This wall fights off any invaders, until… something gets through that first line of defense. Then comes the next layer of warriors that are there to protect you. At each layer, the defending army of your body moves back to the next layer and continues fighting off the invaders.

Now the army that’s trying to attack narrows down further and further, giving the defenders more time to weaken the attacking army. This happens ring upon ring until the VERY LAST layer. That’s where the king (your brain & spinal cord) stays, hiding in that central tower behind all the layers of defense. If the attackers are trying to get through each layer, they better REALLY want that king. Because, the whole way in, they’re going to be beaten down, weakened and damaged by your defending army as they fight to get that king.

Let’s say a specific foreign invader gets into your body and you get sick. So you start showing symptoms. Once you have the symptoms, that foreign invader is WAY weaker than it would have been had you not had all those layers of defense!

We did a little research. We headed to CDC.gov and looked at several diseases. Almost every single one of them says “most commonly presents itself as a common cold.” You know why? Because your body naturally fought off something that could have been bigger and worse… and it fought so hard that the only thing those invaders had to show for themselves in the end was a measly little cold. That’s hardcore, and I love it.

Anyway, in the end, your king is safe!


Summary: Oils cross the blood-brain barrier so their wonderful power can get deep into your system neurologically, and affect every system of the body QUICKLY.


Oil Fact #2 {Oil Facts Thursday}

2. ESSENTIAL OILS ARE FAT SOLUBLE.

What the heck does that mean and why is it important? BECAUSE!

When you put a drop of oil on your skin and rub it in, it DISAPPEARS! You don’t see it on your skin, you don’t see it on your fingers, it’s. just. gone. Like magic, my friends.

Why?? Because underneath your skin, there is a little fatty bi-layer that soaks it right up (like our little friend who lives in a pineapple under the sea), and shoots it all into the bloodstream so it can get to work.

FUN FACT: It takes your body only 20 minutes to get oil: into your body, into your bloodstream, taking care of business, changing all the frequencies it needs to (whoa, whoa, more on that later!), and then out of your system. Twenty minutes, y’all!

9 awesome facts about essential oils that blow your mind

Now take note! If your body is battling, and you’re fighting to help it stay above the wellness line (aka: healthy and operating perfectly, as it should), this means that you may want to apply oils continuously throughout your day to keep everything in a good place.

Okay, and another good note to make: Essential oils, herbs, and supplements are NOT medication.

 

They are natural substances to help your body do what it was made to do. The reason you need to take some medications once a day or once every 12 hours… that’s because it’s an artificial fix to a natural problem. It artificially, synthetically changes the body in a direction that the body was not going to go on its own.

With oils, herbs, and supplements you are SUPPORTING the body and cheering it on to do what it was going to do in the first place!

There is no need to medicate yourself with essential oils. YES, they can help the body to work better! And if you help the body to work better, some things will go away naturally because that’s what the body is made to do. We were created to have 100% function. Essential oils help in pushing you, and keeping your body normal!

SUPPORT YOUR BODY SYSTEMS, y’all!


Source: https://www.youtube.com/user/drshaggerton

Momma's Chocolate - my latest favorite sweet snack

Everybody who knows me knows how much I love a good sweet treat! It has to be amazing for me to be worth the calories...you know! I am not going to eat something that tastes just 'ok' if it has a ton of calories...it better be really really good (maybe that is how I make myself feel less guilty? HA!)

Enter: All organic Momma's Chocolate

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A few weeks ago a friend of mine posted a recipe for a homemade chocolate - I was not exactly convinced at first I have to say. But I wanted to try it anyway because it had a bunch of ingredients that made me feel much less guilty about eating it....but I was worried it would not taste good and I would be eating calories for no good reason. 

Long story short - IT'S THE FREAKING BOMB, YOU GUYS!! I am making a new batch now every 2 weeks - and when I feel the need for sweet, I just grab a piece and melt it in my mouth....the very best! 

My favorite part about it is that I get to choose what goes in it and there is no unnecessary crap in it ;) so here you go .... I know your mouth is watering by now 😊

The recipe!! 

  • 1/2 cup organic Coconut oil
  • 1 cup (maybe a little more, depending on consistency) of unsweetened organic cocoa
  • Organic Agave nectar to taste  
  • Organic Vanilla extract to taste 
  • sea salt (optional) 
  • Peppermint or Orange Essential oil (optional) 

Melt the coconut oil and mix in the cocoa powder. Stir until smooth and shiny. Stir in the vanilla and agave. Add more cocoa or coconut oil if it's too liquid or too sticky.  

Add the essential oil (if desired).

Spread mixture onto a baking sheet, sprinkle with coarse sea salt (if desired) and freeze for 20 minutes. 

Break into pieces and store covered in the refrigerator- ENJOY! 💕