Essential Oil Guide: 21 Drops Review


I am always on the hunt for new essential oil products and brands. Essential oils are a fantastic way to naturally improve our well-being on a mental, emotional, and physical level. 

I most recently discovered 21 Drops, and was immediately intrigued. When asked what set them apart from other essential oil companies, their response was what sealed the deal! 
  1. All of the essential oils used in our blends are therapeutic-grade, 100% natural, sourced from artisan distillers, organic or wild-crafted, and GC-MS tested to ensure their upmost purity and effectiveness.
  2. We focused on the molecular chemistry, so you can focus on the physical. Our remedies are pre-blended to treat some of the most common conditions, allowing you more time to spend time with your partner or try that new yoga class.
  3. All of our essential oils are safely diluted in 100% jojoba carrier oil.
  4. Our bright, colorful rollerball packaging makes our blends easy to toss into a purse, place aside your bed or at your desk at work. Basically, they're way more fun and simple to use.  
What's not to love? Unable to narrow it down to just one oil (how can you choose between 21 amazing blends?), the wonderful folks over at 21 Drops were kind enough to send me over the Let's Celebrate Trio to review, and I am in love!

The Let's Celebrate kit includes three 3ml oil blends: Invigorate, Passion, and De-Stress. Each blend is formulated specifically for inhalation and topical application, and every one comes with a fantastic affirmation!

Invigorate (#01) is a combination of black pepper (enlivens & motivates), cedarwood (maximizes endurance), juniper (energizes & invigorates), and rosemary (stimulates the mind). The affirmation that comes with this oil is "I initiate. I act. I deliver." This has been my go-to oil for early mornings and mid-afternoon for when I need a pick-me-up! Caffeine never seems to agree with me (if you ever see me with super shaky hands and looking a little grey, its likely the barista accidentally switched my decaf for something higher octane), so coffee is usually too strong for the usual slow-moving moments. However, one whiff of this blend is enough to get me moving, and once I put a little on my wrists, I am getting things done! I've started keeping this one on my desk so that whenever I feel myself loosing steam, I can have it within reach so I can get back in action! 

Passion (#06) is a combination of cardamom (enlivens & refreshes), jasmine (diminishes fears & inhibitions, rose (invites feelings of love), and sandalwood encourages self-acceptance. The affirmation that comes with the blend is "I am open. I am playful. I am inspired." If sunshine came in the form of an essential oil, this would be it. When wearing Passion, I feel radiant and goddess-like. The floral aspects make it a great date night scent, but I love wearing it anytime I want to feel sunshine-y and special!

De-stress (#11) is a combination of frankincense (quiets the mind), German chamomile (reduces tension), lavender (reduces anxiety), and ylang ylang (helps ease panic attacks). The affirmation is "I accept. I bend. I release." This oil is my new signature scent, hands down. I usually have an affinity for similar blends (as an old flame once proclaimed: "You always smell like tea... It is a good thing, I swear!"), but 21 Drops De-Stress takes the cake. Every time I put on this essential oil, I can feel all of the tension in my body melt away, and I am left relaxed and smiling. 



After the success of these three blends, I cannot wait to try their others! The next ones I have my eye on are #03 Strength, #07 Equalize, #12 Uplift, and #17 Digest, not to mention getting bigger sizes of what I already have!

Have you tried 21 Drops yet? Check them out on their website, and enjoy!

Super Duper Easy Paleo Pancakes



Since switching to a (mostly) paleo diet last year, I have been two variation of a paleo pancake recipe for breakfast that I absolutely love. Unlike most recipes that you can find online, this recipe has minimal ingredients and takes just a few minutes to whip up. Plus, these pancakes are little energy pucks fill me up and get me ready to take on the day. Either variation is delicious, and I usually decide between the two based on what ingredients are more readily available!


Super Duper Easy Paleo Pancakes

Using an electric mixer, stir together:

Variation A: 
one egg
one banana (the fresher the banana, the better it will hold together... if you use a ripe banana, add a spoonful of coconut flour to help hold it together)
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup almond flour (different brands will absorb differently)
a dash of cinnamon
a pinch of nutmeg
a itty-bitty pinch of clove

Variation B:
three eggs
2 bananas
1/4 cup - 1/2 cup coconut flour (add 1/4 cup, mix, then see if more is needed to thicken)
a dash of cinnamon
a pinch of nutmeg
a itty-bitty pinch of clove 

Heat a nonstick pan to medium high heat. Add a spoonful of coconut oil, and once melted, scoop batter into pan into small pancakes. I have found it easier to flip the pancakes if they aren't much bigger than my spatula. Cook until you can easily slide a spatula underneath and see a nice golden brown, then flip!

To be honest, I typically cook this while multitasking, and don't measure exactly or keep a watchful eye while it cooks. The result is darker, less "cute" pancakes (alright, slightly burnt), but they still taste delicious! (However, if "pretty pancakes" is what your after, try Variation B.)

Once you get the hang of either variation, try mixing it up with added fruit! I love to add blueberries into the pancakes, and next I am going to try a few small cut up pieces of apple.

Try at first not to add additional sugar to this; it has plenty of yummy flavor all on its own! If you want a little extra, try frying a few banana slices in the left over coconut oil and putting those on top. Or keep a tiny dish of pure maple syrup on the side. Also, I like to fry up some turkey bacon as well for a real breakfast feast!

Happy cooking!

Hydrate and Heal with Vitajuwel


As I am sure you have figured out by now, it is a safe bet to say that I love the potential of crystal healing. I use crystals for elevating my home, my health, my meditation, even my yoga practice! So when I learned there was a safe way to use crystals to enhance my drinking water, I jumped at the chance!

Enter VitaJuwel, the solution to all my problems. Well, maybe not all my problems since crystals have yet to pay off my bills, but I digress.

Vitajuwel creates beautiful glass vials filled with different crystal elixirs that you can place in your normal drinking water so you can enjoy all of the wonderful crystal energy without having to place gemstones directly in your water. Most recently, they created a water bottle, Via, so that you can take your crystal elixirs on the go! I'm in heaven!

The idea of creating gemstone-charged beverages has been around for centuries, dating back to when the ancient Greeks used amethyst with their wine to keep them from getting too drunk and enhance the flavor. (PS: VitaJuwel makes a wine decanter that is absolutely gorgeous!) Nowadays, we know that it can be harmful to place crystals directly in what we consume due to the potential for toxic substances to be released (copper, lead, etc.). By encasing different blends of gemstones in sealed vials, VitaJuwel lets you enjoy that beneficial energy goodness without the potential toxic nonsense.


VitaJuwel was kind enough to send me a Via to review, and to be honest, I have been addicted to it since it arrived! They sent the Five Elements bottle, which features amethyst, chalcedony, petrified wood, rose quartz, ocean chalcedony.  The description that accompanies it states: Traditional Chinese medicine has developed over 5,000 years and recognizes health as a harmonious balance of five elements: Wood for growth, water for reflection, earth for grounding, metal for strength and fire for passion. Every person is a unique blend of these elements. Following this ancient philosophy, we have included one kind of gem for each element in this blend to reflect each attribute. Get your life in balance. Experience this ancient wisdom. It is extremely beautiful... I've certainly never had a water bottle that looks like a work of art! All you have to do is fill your bottle with regular tap or filtered water, allow the water 7-10 minutes to charge, and it is good to go!

Once the water is charged, I notice a palatable difference from normal tap water... the texture and taste seems smoother and softer. (I even heard that using your VitaJuwel with juice can change the taste so that is not as acidic, and I can't wait to try it!) Sometimes people have trouble understanding the power crystals can have, so I like giving them a comparison taste test so they can taste the evidence for themselves.  I make sure I always have a full bottle of Vitajuwel water ready, and it always gets so many compliments. 

The only downside to this amazing bottle is that it is relatively fragile, so it requires a bit more thought than the typical water bottle you can just throw in your bag. It is a piece of art, so treat it like one! I like to either keep mine at my desk, beside my bed, or set aside for after my yoga/meditation practice, as to limit the risk of breaking it. If I absolutely have to pack it, I put a drink coozie on each end to protect it!
 
Drink coozies on either end before it goes in the purse!

All things considered, however, I would highly recommend purchasing one yourself and for the whole family! (There is a kids Vitajuwel that is adorable and is sure to help your kids drink more water as well! Who needs sugary drinks when you can have beautiful crystal water?)

Many thanks for the folks over at VitaJuwel for sending me a Via to review and enjoy, and keep doing the wonderful work you are doing!

Want your own? Head over to VitaJuwel's website! Or if you are a local Bozemanite, check out the amazing selection of VitaJuwel goodies at the Dari Rasa Trunk Show downtown. 

Do any of you have a VitaJuwel? Do you have any experience with gemstone elixirs?

Holistic Cold Care


Let's face it.... you can do everything "right" by taking care of yourself, and you can still come down with that dreaded bug... a common cold!

Since it seems this cold currently kicking my behind is making its way around town, I figured I'd share a few of my go-to cold remedies. Having a cold is the pits, but being loopy off of drugstore cold medicine is also pretty awful, so why not do everything you can to get better quickly and naturally?

When I start feeling run down and sick, I take a high dose of Vitamin D3 Extreme for three days (make sure to consult your doctor about what proper dosage is right for you). If I take this as soon as I start noticing symptoms, I typically don't even have to take it the second or third day. (You do not want to continue taking a high level of D3 past three days due to toxicity risks.) In the case I don't get the vitamins in quick enough and my cold progresses (like the bug I am experiencing right now), there are some back up methods that are both comforting and healing.

Umka Cold Care, which can be found at your local health food or grocery coop, is a life saver. Taken three times a day, it will whoop your cold's butt! Unlike the usual drugstore cold medicine, this natural cold medicine will help you feel better without leaving you drowsy and loopy.

In between doses, stay plenty hydrated! I think Yogi's Echinacea Immune Support tea is delicious because, in addition to all of its other yummy and healing ingredients, the licorice root in it soothes your throat without being an overpowering flavor (which I have found to occur in similar tea blends). I alternate drinking tea and water all day, and I make sure that my water includes a drop or two of Young Living's Theives essential oil, which is a fantastic immune system booster.

Although it usually has zero appeal when you don't feel well, I have found that getting a light amount of exercise can sometimes help clear the sinuses and that dreaded brain-fog. If my cold is not terribly severe, I usually try a very gentle yoga routine and/or go for a walk with the dog (if it isn't as cold as it has been lately). Getting your muscles moving and your blood pumping a little harder than they would be just parked on the couch can work a cold out of your system a little faster, as long as you make sure not to push yourself too hard, you bundle up, and you don't dehydrate yourself.

Personally, I find that I am more susceptible to illness when I am stressed or overworked. Common colds are my body's way of saying "Whoa there, how about you calm down and put your feet up? Oh, you're too busy? Too bad, I'm going to make you put your feet up whether you like it or not!" So rather than get frustrated and repeat "I'm so sick. This is awful.", which can just make you feel worse, take a minute to give yourself permission to take care of yourself. Give yourself permission to put your health as a priority (which can be extremely difficult for people to do while the hectic world swirls around you). That way you will not only bounce back with a healthy body, but a healthy relaxed mind.

When it is time for bed, while I put on one of my favorite mellow albums, I put a little more Theives oil mixed with jojoba oil on the bottoms of my feet and cover them up with some thick wool socks. A homeopathic remedy I found at my local coop, Nighttime Cough and Bronchial Syrup, combines a variety of cold and flu specific remedies with a relaxing, mind-calming remedy is a great nightcap so I can drift off to sleep and wake up refreshed and renewed!

Alright, well I'm crawling back into bed in hopes that some more rest will have me back up and running in no time!

Do you have any cold remedies that you swear by? 

Crystal Spotlight: Labradorite


Today, I'm shining the crystal spotlight on one of my absolute favorite stones: labradorite! Isn't it ah-mah-zing?! I wear my labradorite Joyful Jewelry pendant all the time (have you checked out her incredible jewelry yet?!), and have a few other beautiful pieces in my home.

Its name comes from Labrador, Canada, where it was first discovered in 1770. However, labradorite can be found in a variety of places all over the world. In Finland, it is referred to as spectrolite, but typically has a larger range of colors than most labradorite.

At first glance, it may seem predominately grey or black with a shimmer of blue or green. When you rotate it slowly, however, it flashes amazing iridescent sparkles of bright blue, gold, red, and orange. Flattering in every light, it is one of my favorite stones for jewelry because it goes with everything and gives you an alluring glow.

Given its transitioning colors, it shouldn't be surprising that it is a wonderful crystal to help you navigate life's changes and transitions! Sometimes called a power stone, labradorite is the perfect stone to help you with the transition towards positive growth and higher consciousness.

Some Inuit tribes believe that labradorite fell from the frozen fire of the northern lights and shines in a magical light that separates our world from unseen dimensions and realms. Labradorite is a powerful assistant in strengthening our intuitive abilities and stimulates spiritual awakening. Strengthening your natural energies from within, it aids in self awareness and helps us keep in touch with our highest self. On a physical level, it aids with eye and brain disorders, can lower blood pressure, boosts metabolism, and aids in digestion. Additonally, women find wearing it beneficial to balance hormones and relieve menstrual symptoms.
 
Here is my Joyful Jewelry necklace up against a beautiful rough piece of labradorite.
Hope you enjoyed learning a little more about labradorite! Now that I have shared one of my favorite crystals, what are your favorites? Do you have a crystal that you would like to learn more about?

Center Yourself with Alternate Nostril Breathing


For thousands of years, yogis have believed in the power of breath. To this day, yoga instructors even go as far as to say that if you lose track of your breathing during your yoga practice, you basically void the benefits of your asanas. Long story short: breathing is a crucial part of yoga!

Pranayama, or yoga breathing, makes you more connected to your breath. Although it is important to practice during your yoga practice, it can be beneficial to practice before meditation, right before you go to bed, right before you wake up, or when you just need to recharge. I have found that returning to my yoga breath can really help when I am stressed and need to reset my brain, like when I am hanging off of a mountain on a hard rock climbing route.

A technique that I love and have been using everyday is alternate nostril breathing (also known as Anulom Vilom). It is a great beginning pranayama practice, and can be done by everybody!

Alternate nostril breathing can be an extremely therapeutic and calming ritual. It cleanses your lungs and your mind, calms your emotions and your nervous system, encourages the flow of prana (energy), and can relax a restless brain and body. Doesn't that sound wonderful? Lets get to it!

Begin by getting into a comfortable seated position on your yoga mat. Sit up straight, with your neck, back, and tailbone stacked. Using your right hand, place your pointer and middle finger on your third eye (in the middle of your forehead just above your eyebrows). Take a few relaxed breaths until you feel centered and ready to begin.

Using your thumb, close off your right nostril. Slowly breathe in through your left nostril for a count of four. Hold breathe for a count of four.

Close off left nostril with your ring finger, and release your right nostril. Slowly breathe out for a count of four. Inhale though the right nostril for a count of four. Hold for four, then release through your left side as before. Repeat a few rounds of this alternate breathing and feel how your body responds to this gentle and nourishing practice.

Remember:
Never be forceful with your pranayama practice. If holding four counts is too much, try shorter increments until you can work your way up to it.
Health conditions, such as high blood pressure, might mean that you shouldn't participate or hold your breath. (Translation: Talk to your doctor.)
If possible, try to practice on an empty stomach or if has been a few hours since eating.

Do you practice pranayama? How do you use yoga breathing techniques in your everyday life?

Get Incredibly Smooth Skin with Homemade Natural Sugar Scrub


Next time you are at the store, pick up a tub of body scrub and check out the ingredients. I'll give you a preview: "chemical, chemical, chemical, artificial fragrance, chemical, chemical". Sounds like something you want to use on your body, right? Not!

There are some fantastic products on the market that are all-natural alternatives to chemical-filled body scrubs, but they can be pricey! So what is a girl to do?

Motivated both by my desire for an inexpensive body scrub and my weekend laziness keeping me from leaving the house, I whipped up a recipe for a scrub that you can easily make with ingredients you already have in your pantry! The result is a super cheap, delicious smelling, natural body scrub that leaves your skin silky and smooth!


Ingredients:
1 cup of cane sugar
1 cup of oil (coconut oil, light olive oil, and avocado oil all work great)
10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil

Mix the sugar and oil well, add your essential oils, and then mix a little more! Store in a glass container with a tight seal, and you're done! To use it, massage into wet skin and then rinse off. (Be careful as the oils can make your bathtub slippery, so make sure to wipe down the tub when you are done so the next person doesn't go head over heels!)

For my scrub, I used extra virgin olive oil and a blend of ylang ylang and lavender oil. As soon as I was done, I was so excited that I jumped immediately in the tub to use it! I have a feeling this batch won't last me very long with how much I love it, so I'm looking forward to trying other combinations of oils. I might try mixing in some coconut sugar in addition to the cane sugar as well!

Let me know what you think! What is your favorite combination of oils?