Supercharge your Moisturizing Cream

Because I’m a card carrying member of The Sharing is Caring Tribe, I have an obligation to share this post today. I know not all of you use essential oils but I hope the more I share their benefits, the more you learn how awesome they are. I’m a huge proponent of living clean (food, beauty products, environment, etc) and love that I can also incorporate essential oils in order to support healthy skin.

I wish I had done a better job of caring for my skin at a younger age so for all of you young ‘uns–get those facials now and use the good face creams so you  keep ahead of the aging process. Because once it goes, it’s a hard road ahead. I figure I’ve got another 45 years of this face so I’ve got to do all I can to keep it from falling off the cliff.

With winter ALMOST here, I’ve definitely noticed the change in moisture in my skin. I do my best to drink my four bottles of water (around 100 oz) and use the Hydrating Cream from dōTERRA every day. While it does a great job, I had this idea to supercharge it to see what might be possible.

I’ve had this bottle of Blue Tansy essential oil since I purchased it at convention and had yet to really use it. After digging into its properties and benefits, I realized I should be using this one every day! I think my initial hesitation in using it has been that it is blue.  Like blue blue. It initially turns your skin blue until it is absorbed. It was so trippy when I first saw it. It’s blue because when the oil is extracted from the Moroccan Tansy plant during the steam distillation process, it turns from clear to blue.

This oil is actually in one of my family’s favorite dōTERRA products called Deep Blue which we use for sports injuries, as a pre and post workout muscle soother, bruises, shin splints, and overzealous husbands who think they can still play softball like they are 25 years old. <eye roll> It’s also included in another favorite blend of ours, Balance, dōTERRA’s Grounding Blend.

But as I read more about it, I learned this oil helps reduce the appearance of blemishes, is soothing to the skin, and acts as an anti-inflammatory to the skin. Therefore, I decided to add a couple of drops to my hydrating cream to see how it worked. 

Wow! It took my skin cream from great to UH-freaking-mazing! My skin feels so soft all day long. I used to feel like I had to add a little serum or moisturizing cream later in the day but now I’m good until I cleanse my face for bed! I also added few drops of Copaiba which has so many benefits (top two for skin: collagen boosting and emollient properties) it will make your head spin. Um, hello? This essential oil will forever be in my life. I wish I could order a gallon!

I’m loving the results and plan on doing more with these two oils for my skin health. I’m going to add some drops of Blue Tansy to my daughter’s face lotion as well since she has a touch of rosacea  on her cheeks. I know she’s self-conscious about it and often uses make-up to hide the redness. I can’t wait to see how this works for her, too.

Because of Blue Tansy’s anti-inflammatory properties, this would also be a great oil to use for eczema and dermatitis as they are often the reflection of major inflammation happening in our bodies.

And if you’re the type of person who needs a little more validation before jumping in, here’s an article in Vogue discussing a skin line who is also using Blue Tansy in their products as well as another at InStyle.

I would love to see you jump on this Blue Tansy train with me so you can supercharge your favorite skin care products, also. I will always recommend going as clean and natural as possible when it comes to your skin because it your skin is the gatekeeper as to what goes in your body. What goes on eventually goes in.

Side note: We are in the Information Age, people. Everything you need to know is within your fingertips and I highly recommend you learn as much as you can about toxicity, the effects on your body and the lasting damage that happens to not only you, but your children and your children’s children. It disrupts our genetic makeup so don’t turn a blind eye to your future generations. It’s not too late to make healthy changes. Sorry if that comes across a little guilt trippy but I’m a mom and it’s my job.

********

If you aren’t using essential oils as part of your health plan, I encourage you to read up about their health benefits. We use them for physical and emotional support in our home and now my kids are well-versed on what and how to use them. It’s just how we live. As a mom, this is huge win in my family’s health and I’ve never felt so empowered. It’s not scary nor is it difficult. You just have to start and if that means starting with just one oil or one health issue, then so be it. I promise it’s worth the effort.

If you’d like more information on how to get started or would like to chat one-on-one about what oils to look into, leave a comment indicating below and I’ll be in touch very soon.

in health and happiness,

~Hallie

 

 

 

 

Places to Visit in Kansas City: The Elms Resort and Spa, Smithville Lake and Liberty Square

This is the follow up to last week’s post about my 20th wedding anniversary because I want to share some of the awesome things we did, saw, and ate on our staycation. While we were #NotinNapa, Kansas City is a pretty neat place to spend time as well. Let’s take a little drive, shall we, and explore what’s just down the road.

Our first stop–hiking at Smithville Lake. My husband and I love to hike but we never think to do it here in the midwest. We love hiking in the mountains and we tend to compartmentalize it into “things we do on vacation” only.  We love getting out in nature so we did a little searching on the site AllTrails and found some fun looking trails on the north side of town by Smithville Lake. They were the only ones labeled moderate because most of the trails in a 100 mile radius are listed as easy. The Smithville Lake Trail (in Camp Branch Park) like a really fun walk in the woods but fun nonetheless! It took me right back to when I was a kid and I would explore the hills outside Homer, Nebraska where we would go to get firewood for the winter.  Maybe that’s why I love fall so much–the crisp air, the scattered leaves along the path, and the bluebird sky–it’s the perfect time travel combination for me.

The next stop was food. By now it was about 2:30 p.m. and it was definitely going to be a late lunch. I had researched places to eat between Smithville and our final destination, Excelsior Springs, and the choices were pretty limited. If you know anything about small midwest towns, it’s either fast food or Grandma’s Greasy Spoon. The healthy choices are few and far between, however, historic downtown Liberty, also known as Liberty Square, came up with a winner. I found a little diner called Morning Day Cafe that the perfect place for post-hike sustenance. First off, the place is colorful, eclectic and exudes major personality. It features local artists work along the walls with mismatched and colorfully painted furniture and exposed brick walls. We bellied up to the bar and while my husband ordered a microbrew, I enjoyed an iced chai latte.

Pulled Pork Poutine

The menu was perfection. A little bit of breakfast and a little bit of lunch mixedwith lots and lots of flavor. We learned from our bartender was that it was a one cook kitchen and the ingredients are all locally sourced. It was not all necessarily considered super-healthy, like the pulled pork poutine (made with sriracha lime fries) but it was fresh, delicious and all made in house. If you find yourself there, the poutine is a must. It’s a large portion and almost wish it came in a smaller bowl because it’s so good you’ll have a hard time pushing it aside to save room for the main course.

Garden Grilled Cheese with side salad

I chose the Garden Grilled Cheese (caramelized gouda cheese, house-made walnut pesto spread, tomatoes, avocado & spinach on a torta roll, topped with microgreens) and Kipp got the Bohemian Wrap (Vegetarian sausage, cremini mushrooms, roasted red peppers, avocado, quinoa and breakfast potatoes, wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla and grilled.) They were both amazing but we had to save half of our food because the poutine was too hard to put down. Sorry not sorry.

Bohemian Wrap

After lunch as we walked to our car, we saw a little coffee shop, Hammerhand Coffee,  just down the street and being  that we are suckers for locally owned businesses so we strolled down for a visit. We ended up get a couple of cups of half caf’s which were pour overs and worth the wait. The space is very cool and there is even a loft space available for rent. If I lived in Liberty or near the area, I would totally be a regular.

Our next stop was our hotel, The Elms Hotel and Spa. We bought the “Fall Into Relaxation package” which included a night stay in a suite, two Grotto (the spa) passes, two hydrotherapy baths, and two Ghost Tour passes. I’m not sure how the Ghost Tour falls into the relaxing part but I’m a fan of the paranormal so we went with it. Excelsior Springs is a small town a few miles to the northeast of Liberty and we took the more scenic county road H into town. It’s a slower go to get there but very scenic! The Elms Hotel has been around for 125 years and has burnt down twice (they finally rebuilt it with limestone the last time around!). Many famous guests have stayed here from Al Capone to Harry S. Truman. You can read more about its history here.

The hallway leading to the Grotto in the spa.

We checked in around 4 and quickly made our way to the spa. The Grotto is part of the spa which includes a dry sauna, steam sauna, hot tub, cold plunge shower, exfoliation bar, and steam shower. It’s co-ed and but we basically had the whole place to ourselves because it was a Tuesday afternoon. There were curvy lounge chairs which we took fool advantage of before we went back up to our room. The spa offers lots of services like facials, manicures/pedicures, massages, body treatments and much more. Our hydrotherapy baths were scheduled for the next morning so we could take advantage of the Grotto again after our baths.

Representing 20 years of mehwidge!

We had dinner at 88 at The Elms, which was dark and perfectly suited to the vibe of the hotel. I had an amazing plate of salmon served with brown rice and chargrilled salmon. My husband had the stuffed avocado (smoked salmon, dill cream cheese, asparagus tips, and egg sunny side up). Both items were from the Spa Inspired Selections section of the menu. We ordered the sweet potato cheesecake (all about the balance!) for dessert but saved it for after the ghost tour!

The ghost tour commenced at 9 p.m. (actually 9:15 because of a tardy guest which turned out wasn’t me!) and was led by a former Elms maintenance worker turned Ghost Tour guide. Jay has worked for the hotel for over 10 years and has seen and witnessed lots of incidents. While he could use a little training in storytelling, he had lots of experiences to share. The downside of the tour was the intoxicated guest who was responsible for the late start of the tour. He kept trying to make jokes and was distracting to the guide. It was only us and another couple so by the end, we basically ignored him and he finally got the hint. While we didn’t experience anything during the tour, I do believe I may have had a little encounter the next day at my hydrotherapy bath.

I chose Juniper essential oil for my bath for it’s detox and soothing properties and Kipp chose eucalyptus. I really wanted the Moroccan but they were out of some of the ingredients for that particular treatment. Next time! So these baths are basically giant one person tubs with jets and bath salts. The instructions on how to run the tub were a little complicated, like turn the knob this way for more water, this way for hot, that way for cold, lights, no lights, how to let water out…lots of things to remember. I just wanted to relax in a warm tub of bubbling water. However, my water wasn’t warm enough. I had to turn on the light to see the knob, I managed to get it hotter but then it was filling up too much. Then I had to let out water and I was nervous that the water was still turned on and I kept watching the side of the tub. So basically not relaxing at all. This is where my ghost story comes in.

Exhibit A: Only a few minutes into my tub experience, my plastic glass of water slid into the tub. It was placed on the edge of the tub near my right shoulder and initially I assumed the condensation on the glass caused it to slide down. However, that side of the tub was flat and my tub water was nowhere near hot enough to cause condensation. So my luke warm tub was now even colder. This is when I tried to turn the water on and get it hotter. I was able to lay there for a bit, always one eyeball on the side of the tub and adjusting the temp on the knob to the best of my ability.

Exhibit B: After a little bit, I heard a knock on the door which is what the concierge said she would do to let us know our time was up. You know how when you are having a spa treatment and you swear it felt like only a few minutes rather than 60? Well, in this case, it was. Right after I heard the knock, my tub started draining. (Exhibit C) I thought, “Damn, I was just getting comfortable!” I assumed that the drain was on some sort of timer so I got up, dried off, and went out to the quiet room to wait for Kipp. I happened to look up at the clock, and sure as shit, my tub time had only been 15 minutes! It was supposed to be 30! I went to find someone and told them my tub drained too early. The concierge explained to me that I must have bumped it (the drain is controlled by the knob on the side of the tub) but I distinctly remember having my arms in the water relaxing. I wasn’t moving at all. The knock happened then the drain went. I was going to lay there as long for a few more moments before getting out so I know I didn’t bump anything.

The concierge said I could refill it and finish my time but it took about 15 minutes to fill it so it was completely a waste. I was a little pissed but we went to the Grotto and blew it off. Later, as we were checking out, the concierge found me and gave me a jar of juniper bath salts to take home with me as an apology for the short bath. The glass and the shortened bath may be my clumsiness or it may be a ghost but I like the ghost story better. It just didn’t add up to be completely my doing unless I’m a complete hydrotherapy tub ignoramus who is in denial of my lack of fancy tub skills.

Before we headed home, we stopped by Morning Day Cafe again for breakfast. Again, it was spot on. I had the Farmer’s omelet and had her add the vegetarian sausage (it’s homemade and I have no idea what was in it but it was soo good) and topped with microgreens along with a matcha frozen smoothie. Kipp had the egg sandwich with a greens smoothie. Again, spot on! All of these places are within 30-60 minutes of the Kansas City area, depending on what part of town/suburb you live in.

It was a great 24 hour getaway and highly recommend visiting these Kansas City spots when you get the chance!

20 Years and Counting (#NotinNapa)

Photo by Laurie Kilgore/Formafoto

Today is our 20 year wedding anniversary. I know, it’s totally weird. Getting married at 12 was probably not a great idea but we made it! 😉 I kid, I kid but we were one of the first of our college friends to get married which basically means we had absolutely no clue what we were doing besides letting our mothers completely plan our weddings. The one thing we did right was get married on a Friday night which we did for two reasons.

  1. Many fees were half-priced if we chose Friday. The reception rental was the biggie so it took a half a second to choose Friday over Saturday. We were helping foot the bill for our wedding so we cut corners where we could.
  2. The other reason, or the real reason, was because it was the only safe way to plan a wedding in the fall in Nebraska.

When you live in Nebraska, fall Saturdays are for football games, not weddings. Kipp and I love fall and we love our Husker football so it was a no-brainer. We both attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the 90’s when the Huskers were a powerhouse football team. Let me tell you, it was a glorious time to be in Lincoln.

We got engaged in December of 1995 but we wanted to wait until Kipp was closer to graduation before we got married so that put us into 1997. We loved the fall but, truth be told, we knew that if we tried to plan a Saturday wedding without knowing the football schedule yet, we would most likely have a wedding reception that included lots of televisions or a very thin crowd in attendance. It’s just the way it was back then. So we opted for the Friday night to be safe and then when the ’97 schedule was released, the Homecoming game was scheduled for the day after our wedding. It worked out perfect.

We decided that we wanted to go to the football game the day with our friends and that the opening of wedding gifts could wait until Sunday. It was a great weekend and would do it all over again except that we would watch the game from a beach in Mexico with our closest friends and family. I kid, sort of.

Being that we were one of the first of both of our groups of friends, we felt the need to invite everyone from our fraternity and sorority as well as my husband’s volleyball team and my co-workers. Remember back when cell phones didn’t exist and there were always disposable cameras left on every table for the guests to take memorable photos for the bride and groom to look back on year after year? Yeah, those photos were the equivalent of 99% of your teenagers Snapchat photos today. We’re talking foreheads and half-faces, most blurry as sh*t, with a cleavage shot or two thrown in for the grandkids someday. There may or may not have been a male crotch shot tossed in to make us really realize (a little too late) that we really should have thought a lot longer about that destination wedding idea.

So here we are, 20 years later, wondering how in the hell we got here and where our wedding video actually is. I don’t even remember if I’ve watched it honestly. Isn’t that horrible?! But wedding videos then were NOT the wedding videos of today. We may as well have hired Cousin Eddie to strap a camera to his shoulder and provided him with the two beer can hard hat to keep the creative juices flowing. I think we would have liked that video more, actually.

To honor this monumental feat of marriage, we almost, ALMOST, booked a trip to Napa (I KNOW!) to celebrate our 20th year of not killing each other over stupid stuff like money and making the bed but I’m not much of a drinker these days so it just didn’t have the same appeal as it did a year ago. So we let that idea fade away and we sort of put the plans on hold, not really knowing what to do. Around August we tossed around a couple of ideas of doing a four day weekend to Mexico or Chicago for a concert (you guess who came up with which idea) and we settled on neither. Life happens and then you have yet another oh, sh*t moment when your 20 year anniversary has snuck up on you and we have zero point zero plans. BUT we are parents of three children and we scrappy when our backs are against the wall. Plans have been made and we are sticking close to home. Yay! Yay…yeah.

We are traveling to the state of Missouri across the river and through the woods  to hike around Smithville Lake, eat lunch in downtown Liberty, and partake in the “Fall into Relaxation” package offered at The Elms Hotel and Spa in Excelsior Springs which includes an overnight stay in a suite, 2 hydrotherapy baths, 2 Grotto passes and 2 ghost tour passes. Honestly, that may make the whole damn trip.  I may IG Live it because what could be more exciting on your Tuesday night than watching a old married couple cuss each other out when the lights go out.

Clearly, if you asked me on my wedding day what my 20 year anniversary celebration would look like, I would bet my 25 year old self would have said in Mexico on a beach. And I would tell her that sometimes Mexico isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be as she had yet to be out of the country and when she did, she got Montezuma’s revenge on her honeymoon along with her husband. So screw that international beach vacation. We don’t always celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary but when we do, we celebrate what’s most important–being with my best friend. Even if that means in Missouri. With ghosts.

Follow along on my Instagram Stories for glimpses of our blissful day together.  My IG account is @Hallie_Sawyer.