Keeping Up

Fabulous Finds

For Every Woman Out There

I want to tell you about my personal (but amazing) experience with the Women’s Health Kit from DoTerra. To put is as delicately (and least TMI) as I can, I am going to use weather as the reference guide to my lovely monthly cycle. Not trying to gross anyone out.

I am always regular, no issues there. Once a month, for an entire week, it storms. Now the first two days of the storm it is painfully lightning, thundering, and raining cats and dogs. Shoot, it’s a darn near typhoon! For the rest of the week it just rains and rains and then the last two days of the whole week its lightly drizzling. 7 full days of no sunshine. Cramps, bloating, pigging out on sweets and comfort foods, the whole bit.

Last month, on the last day of my stormy, dreary week, I got my order of Phytoestrogen pills in the mail and began taking them. Truthfully, I was a bit skeptical and didn’t foresee my having a huge change in things. As I said, I am always so regular and never more than a day off from beginning my stormy week again that I assumed things were normal. I did however have some other issues that made me want to begin the Phytoestrogen pills (weight gain, hair loss, etc – all pointing at hormonal issues)

The very next month, two days prior to my next stormy week to begin, I got my next order in the mail of the full Women’s Health Kit, which includes the Phytoestrogen pills, the Bone Nutrient Pills and the ClaryCalm Monthly Blend (which smells HEAVENLY). So for two days before my cycle was to begin I had been adding in the Bone Nutrient Pills (preserving your bone mass and density is critical starting early) and the ClaryCalm on my pulsepoints. The first thing that I noticed was that my storm wasn’t thundering and lighting or raining cats and dogs. It was just a normal storm, like my typical days 3 and 4. No cramps and no desires to munch on everything in sight. I still had a little bit of bloat the day prior to the storm beginning and the day of the storm beginning, but nothing terrible. I thought that was awesome! But to top it off, it was going to get better. My storm only lasted for 2 days! Two full days later, I had no rain. Not even a drizzle!.

If you have PMS, horrendous cramping, irregular cycles, hormonal issues, are pre-menopausal, basically if you are a WOMAN, this kit will be a godsend! I even joked with my friend saying, although I can totally wait, I’m almost excited to see how my next month goes. If it is this easy again I am completely sold and telling every single female friend I know about it!

“Normal hormone levels influence a woman’s good health and emotional well-being from her early teens to her transition through menopause. doTERRA Women gently supports a woman through the menstrual cycle and helps to diminish the normal symptoms of menopause.* doTERRA Women supports healthy bones and heart as women age, while the essential oil blend provides temporary relief from heightened emotions related to regular hormone cycles in women. The doTERRA Women line of products provide natural support throughout the different phases of life.”

This kit includes: Phytoestrogen Lifetime Complex, Bone Nutrient Lifetime Complex, and Clarycalm Monthly Blend for Women. For more info on each item, click on their name. Or to view the whole Kit at once, click here.

Fabulous Finds, Fun With The Fam

In our Dance Bag

We are headed out first thing tomorrow morning to our first competition of the year, Showstopper Regional competition in Sandusky,OH. We have had conventions, master classes, and busy dance schedules all year long with extra weekend practices here and there. But this weekend (and nationals in July) is what we have worked SO hard for all year round! As usual, when heading out of town on any kind of trip, I stress out about what I need to pack and if I will forget something vital. Dance trips are even more stressful.

You have all the costumes and their pieces, dance shoes, headpieces, hats (for some of my son’s classes), rack and rolls, makeup, glitter, jewels, endless hair products, safety pins, super glue, extra tights, clear nail polish, needle and thread, lotions, snacks, waters, studio jackets/gear, warm-up items, Bloch booties, and I am sure I am missing some other vital items. All of that on top of your normal travel items like: clothing to out to eat, swimsuits (since we are competing at the awesome Kalahari Resort and Waterpark, toiletries…you get the gist of that.

See what I mean? Super stressful. I always have to make a list of items as I think of them about a week before we leave because I know if I don’t write it all down, I will forget what I need to grab. The rack and rolls have been a lifesaver with storing most of their dance needs all in one place, especially since I have a dancer of each gender which means they are in completely separate changing rooms and areas. If you haven’t already invested in rack and roll for your dancer, I highly suggest you do. They were the “big” Christmas gift from their grandma this year and have been extremely helpful. I honestly couldn’t imagine this year without them since my 6 year old went from 4 costumes to 7 this year. Gamechanger!

But the reason I really started this post was to discuss some of the items I have begun taking with us on busy weekends and to conventions, and now to our first competition this year. Some of these items are things that you would not consider in the hustle and bustle of remembering those vital items that we talked about above. That list alone seems endless, right? But the below items have become essential to my kids to have with us, and they love using them. Our health during these trips is vital too, right? So read on to figure out what else you might want to consider packing for your busy little dancer and why you would need it. And at the bottom I will share a link to where you can find these items.

First off, the most important thing to me and my family is that all of the items discussed below are completely all natural, safe, purely effective, and therapeutic-grade essential oils. They can be used in place of the items we tend to grab at the store full of chemicals and fillers that are terrible for our bodies, especially our poor little growing kiddos. So here we go:

Deep Blue Rub Packets – This one is my favorite to talk about. Our Deep Blue Rub is amazing for before and after workouts for sore muscles. It is blended in a base of moisturizing emollients that leave your skin feeling soft, not greasy. And is a top choice of massage therapists and sports practitioners. If provides a comforting sensation of cooling and warmth to problem areas. I keep the big bottle at home for us to use throughout day to day for my basketball playing husband and uber-active children. Works on growing pains too! But these sample packets are perfect for a weekend getaway. They come in a box of 10 single-use packets that won’t leak in your travel bags! They are essential for your dance/gym bag or bathroom! Enjoy sharing the soothing blend with others at sporting events, the gym or on the go with these sweet little packets! And again, having two kids in different areas, I can stick a pack or two in each rack and roll and off we go!

On Guard – I love this protective blend to help kill the germs around us, and at dance the germs are ALL around us. I swear our entire studio came back from Tremaine Dance Convention with illnesses. Some were vomiting, some had terrible colds. Just too many kiddos in one area to not pass the germs around! On Guard is a powerful blend that contains natural and effective cleaning properties, protects against environmental threats and supports healthy immune system. The wonderful thing about On Guard is that it can be used topically, internally or even in our favorite household tasks such as laundry detergents, dish detergents, and counter cleaning, with no preservatives added! But my most favorite way to use On Guard on trips like this is to pack the On Guard Sanitizing Mist into my purse and both of their dance bags. They can continually mist their hands and sanitize all day long, as well as aromatically take in the beautiful, uplifting scent, all while preventing the spread of bacteria!

Breathe – Breathe is our respiratory blend, clearing airways and maintaining the feeling of easy breathing. This was not initially one I had thought of, but a dear friend told me how she used it on her daughter before their big cheer weekends and sporting events. She claimed that her daughter felt as though she was able to give more during her performances due to breathing better. My favorite way to incorporate this blend into our weekend is with our Breathe Vapor Stick. I just rub it on their chest, costume on, and onto the stage they go!

Cheer/Motivate – These two, in the touch roller-balls, are my most favorite scents to just wear throughout any day, so I always have these handy. During the days of competitions and conventions, rolling these on their pulse points and back of the neck, or taking deep breaths of these blends in can really promote feelings of optimism, cheerfulness, confidence, courage, belief and happiness. These counteract any negative feelings and doubt. Which, obviously, I do not need to explain why these would be beneficial to our awesome dancers before, and during, their stage presence.

Balance/Serenity (lavender) – I make a roller-ball, which I call Antsy-Pants, consisting of both Balance and Serenity. For dance weekends, these items are two-fold for us. IF you have an anxious or nervous dancer, these two will evoke feelings of balance and tranquility, calming their emotions, and lessening feelings of tension. If you do not have a nervous nancy, these are pertinent for a restful and tranquil nights sleep before their big day(s)! During the day for the nervous dancers I would suggest rubbing on the pulse points and back of the neck. For the best nights sleep I would suggest rubbing on the bottoms of their feet and putting socks on. And Goooooood Night!

Wild Orange – this last item supports healthy immune system and is uplifting to the mind and body. I suggest using it internally with just 1 drop in 4 oz of water. It also acts as a really nice flavor to their boring water bottles when they want a taste of something. Just be sure they are using a metal or glass bottle to drink it out of, because the oils don’t mix well with plastic bottles. Ello is my favorite brand of rubber-protected glass bottles (so no worries about shards of glass if you drop it!)

I hope that I gave you some ideas for items you might want to start bringing with you on outings or trips. These are all kid-approved and most importantly – safe! If you have any questions about these items or any other items from the website below, please feel free to shoot me a message or reach out via text/email. I am happy to help you find a natural and therapeutic-grade option for the issues that ail you or your family members.

And, if you are headed out to a competition this weekend too, or any other fun event – have a blast and break a leg!

Find the items listed above and more here.

Book Club

For Better and Worse – Margot Hunt

“For Better and Worse” by Margot Hunt was a fantastic book involving a couple, consisting of two lawyers, who are struggling with the burden of morality and ethics while dealing with tragic news in regards their son.

Mom is a defense attorney, defending the innocent and guilty alike. The shocking situation concerning their young son causes both mom and dad to act a little out of their element, never being in this kind of position.

The book is split into two parts. The first part is from the perspective of the mother, the second part picking up from the husbands perspective, but always in a forward moving motion. This was a nice break from the books I have read of late, bouncing back and forth between lapses of time.

Each dealing with the news in their own ways, the mother is seemingly left alone a lot to deal which may cause her to let her mind run wild and make some decisions on her own that could affect them both. She might even involve past criminal clients if her husband won’t help.

On top of it all, what is up with her husband? Is he cheating? What are with all those late night business meetings? Can they trust their instincts on the situation? Are others involved lying? Can they protect their son from further victimization? Will they make the right choice? And will they get away with it?

I enjoyed this book and it was a wonderful, quick read. Let me know if you enjoyed it as well!

Book Club

A Killer’s Mind – Mike Omer

“A Killer’s Mind” by Mike Omer was a tantalizing read about Zoe Bentley, forensic psychologist and FBI consultant, and Tatum Gray, FBI agent who has the tendency to go rogue.

Zoe has been mesmerized by the instincts and actions of serial killers since she was a young girl, living in a small hometown of Maynard with one. She has always had the skill set to get inside of the killer’s mind and study them, in turn creating a spot on profile.  

Tatum Gray comes to town, after burning his bridges at the LA office, just in time to take over a new case in Chicago. He quickly flies out and decides he needs the assistance of the highly commended consultant to help him profile the killer.

Once he has Zoe flown out from Quantico to assist him, you find they mix like oil and water with a dash of sexual tension. Over time they learn to work with one another as they attempt to catch this terrifying serial killer, all the while Zoe’s history haunts her and discounts her from clearly profiling the Chicago killer.

Is there a connection of the Maynard and the Chicago killers? What about the clues being sent to her?  Let me tell you that this book ends on the very last page with a spine-tingling open ending – cannot wait to read the next book – “In the Darkness”

Book Club

The Devil Crept In – Ania Ahlborn

“The Devil Crept In” by Ania Ahlborn was a little bit out of my wheelhouse. It was a creepy, gory, and thrilling horror story fit to be told around the campfire. Based in a sleepy town, focused around an intimate family with two young boy cousins who were nearly inseparable. A town where there are entirely too many strays and a lot of missing pets. A town where, once upon a time, even a sweet young boy went missing too.

Young Stevie and Jude are typical boys who play games, sometimes fight and trek through the forest behind their homes quite a bit for entertainment. The tree house they have spent much of their childhood building is their very own fortress of solitude. Stevie, having the abusive stepfather, and Jude’s father having passed away. Losing his father has hardened Jude in many ways, sometimes even towards his best friend and cousin Stevie. But Stevie has always looked up to Jude and finds Jude as the one person he can confide in regarding his home life.

Stevie has had some deeper issues in his past. Sometimes he sees things that aren’t there and he has a difficult time getting his words out due to a speech impediment. Because of this he is found to be insane, or at the very least incredible, by most. This comes to be troubling when Jude disappears one night. Stevie scours the woods and sees something at the old farmhouse they always found eerie and vacant during their forest treks. He tries to help the town find clues as to where Jude has gone. But because Jude has had anger issues and acts out, he is immediately written off as a runaway. Stevie knows that cannot possibly be the case. And then, just like that Jude shows back up. But he isn’t acting anything like himself. He is still angry and mean – but all the time now versus sometimes before. And his health and appearance seem to be continuously getting worse. Of course, Jude is also not speaking about what happened or where he has been.

With the help of Mr. Greenwood, the small-town General Store owner, Stevie digs up clues. But without the belief of his family and the town, he knows he has to do this all on his own to prove something is not right with Jude. Somehow the strays, the pets, and the quiet house in the woods owned by the late town doctor all have to do with what Jude has gone through.

Was Stevie just seeing things when he saw a monster on the porch of that quiet farmhouse in the woods? Will he ever be brave enough to face it? Can he even trust Jude anymore? Enjoy this chilling spine-tingling tale for yourself and let me know your thoughts on this read.

Book Club

Second Life – S. J. Watson

 

Second Life” by S.J. Watson was by far one of my favorite books to have read lately. This story has it all: lust, affairs, lies, blood money, murder, mystery, cybersex, family issues, addiction, and even stalking. The twists and turns in the book kept it very intense and made it extremely hard to put the book down. It is a lengthy novel but I read it within a couple of days! There were moments so suspenseful that when someone approached and spoke to me while I was reading I literally jumped out of my chair! Hate to say, but that happened on multiple occasions during this read!

Julia has it all: a family with a top surgeon as her husband, money is not an issue, she does what she loves for work, and she has close friends. But when her sister Kate suddenly is murdered, Julia seems to risk everything she has to try and figure out what happened – her sobriety and her life. She considers placing herself in her sisters shoes to make contact online with people from some of the multiple websites her sister visited, wondering if one of those virtual relationships had a real world connection.

The possibilities are endless. Kate could have met a violent stranger from her online contacts. She could have come across a bad situation at the wrong time. Someone from her past could be seeking revenge. She could have gotten mixed up in the wrong crowd of friends which, with her history, is likely. Julia just wants to figure out what happened to her baby sister. But will Julia go too far? Will she risk everything? And who all could be involved in this? Maybe someone even closer than she thinks. Which path will she choose? And will this second identity she creates to do her online “research” end up jeopardizing her real world?

Let me know if you enjoyed this read as much as I did! In the book club we have read some S.J. Watson books previously, but this has to be my favorite by far!

Book Club

The Last Time I Lied – Riley Sager

 

Have you ever played two truths and a lie? It’s one of those fun games where you tell three facts, two of them true and one a lie, and the others playing the game have to guess which one was the lie. Sometimes these lies can be dangerous or hurtful. And sometimes they can change someone’s life. But the truth of the matter is that while playing this game, you can generally learn a lot about someone. Deep dark secrets, fears or hopes they may have.

“The Last Time I Lied” by Riley Sager takes place on an expansive, yet secluded, campground for the prestigious young women, mostly of New York. There are many tales told around the campfire, some true and some made up. Some of these tales may even cause a few campers to disappear. And some of the lies may pave the road for revenge. Poor Emma Davis is in the center of a scandal when her world comes crashing down around her without any clues as to why. Her first year at this RB camp for the summer and she gets to tag along with one of the prettiest and most popular girls at camp, Vivian. Emma comes to find just how manipulative Vivian truly is, and then Vivian and the other girls from her cabin vanish in the night, never to be seen again.

When given the opportunity to return to Camp Nightingale, Emma at first refuses. But tempted with the possibility of figuring out what happened to her cabin mates so many years before, she accepts. A lot of the same players are back at the camp for the summer as well, causing suspicion at every corner. And the campers of now are not much different from the girls years ago. This book has some twists and turns in all the right places. Will Emma solve the mystery? Will she come out alive? Will you be able to tell the difference between the truths and the lies?

Book Club

I’ve Got My Eyes On You – Mary Higgins Clark

 

“I’ve Got My Eyes on You” by Mary Higgins Clark is a story of a young teenage girl, Kerry, found lifeless at the bottom of her pool after a party at her parents home while they were away. There was a witness to the murder, her next door neighbor and life long friend Jamie. The problem is, Jamie has a disability and is unable to tell the story in a way that won’t implicate him for the crime. And the other problem is that Jamie was in the pool as well. The question is – was Jamie a murderer?

As usual, the boyfriend in the situation is always the first to be questioned, and rightfully so as he (Alan) and Kerry had a very public fight at her party. Not to mention, a history of arguments and breakups. It was also found that his alibi was a lie and that he had asked his friends to cover for him. Suspect #2

For some reason neither of the potential suspects really fit the crime. The sweet neighbor next door and the passionate Princeton-bound boyfriend. Somewhere there are clues that will tell the true tale.

There are other connections Kerry had made along the way. Other people she had upset. And maybe even secrets she knew about, that could have cost her life. As the suspect list gets longer and the clues keep coming in, her sister Aline is back in town and now a guidance counselor at her and her sister’s old school. The perfect position to help dig around and try to solve her sister’s case.

Although this book seemed to be written a bit juvenile – with the thoughts very brief, leaving little to the imagination, and the chapters very thin – the plot was a good one and kept us questioning. I and my cohort at the book club, Anne, both agreed that we thought a certain character was the killer all along and we were correct. But there are several players that could have been. And all the while you wondered if an innocent person would go down for the crime. I wonder if you will figure it out early as well. Let me know!

Fun With The Fam

Easton Christmas Lighting Ceremony

My family and I have found the perfect Christmas season starter tradition and want to share it with you. Every year we attend the Easton Lighting Ceremony. It was by chance that I saw it on the schedule of events on their website one year, it sounded like fun so we went. It was such a magical evening that we decided this was definitely our go to event each year to start off the Christmas season! And it has always been a hit ever since. Tonight is the night and, although it is last minute, I hope I can catch a few parents out there looking for some Friday night fun just in time!

Easton is a small town center of shops, both of high end and lower value, as well as both upscale and reasonably priced restaurants. Easton has beautiful grounds with fountains which, in the summer, children can play in. During the warmer months they also have free live Jazz and move nights on the lawn. My husband and I also enjoy going to the Funny Bone and dinner at any of the many restaurants as our favorite date night choice. Easton is a must when in Columbus Ohio! The source of our yearly school clothes and Christmas shopping.

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The Lighting Ceremony starts, in the dark, at 6:30 PM with one of the most energetic and fun parades I have ever witnessed. With acrobatics, stilts, nutcrackers, dancing ballerinas tucked inside clear globes, elves, huge blow up characters like Rudolph and Frosty (that look like they came straight from the Macy’s Day Parade) and at the tail end, an old fashioned fire engine with Mr. and Mrs. Claus themselves!

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The parade circles around the huge Easton Square, ending right in the center at the ginormous tree where Santa gets on stage, welcomes us all, and gives a small speech followed by a countdown to the lighting. At the end of the countdown, fireworks go off and the entire town center of Easton lights up with Christmas lights everywhere, all at once. It truly is a magical moment that you can’t just smile and laugh at, feeling like a child again yourself! The kids just love this moment!

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After this night, Santa and his elves are available throughout the rest of the season for photos and to share your Christmas wishes with. Stay after for carriage rides, continuing through the rest of Christmas season after tonight as well! The best part is that my children always write Santa a letter with their Christmas wish list at the bottom. Every year Easton Santa takes his time to not just snap a quick photo, but read their letters and talk to them. All the while you get to snap or video away and then you can go view the images their photographer took as well. The photos to purchase are a very reasonable (I think $5) cost for a 5 x 7, with other package options as well.

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The stores and restaurants even keep the party going after the Lighting Ceremony and if you text “easton” to 313131 you will be notified of specials and receive offers on your mobile device! Tonight is their 20th grand illumination or “Whobilation” as they call it – it is sure to be a great time this evening!

It is going to be a cold one tonight, but we really hope if you go that you will have as much fun as we always do! Bundle up warm and maybe we will see you there!

Another fun day that we always attend is Superhero Day. There is always something fun going on at Easton, check out their schedule of events here.

Book Club

The Broken Girls – Simone St. James

 

“Broken Girls” by Simone St. James was quite the terrifying read. Filled with murders, secrets and ghostly tales, this book is a mix of stories from the past to solve two completely separate crimes, but they all were committed on the same, spooky grounds of a private school for girls, Idlewild.
Each of four girls sharing a dorm at Idlewild have their own tragic story to tell as to why their path ended up there. They confided all of their secrets with one another and became inseparable, until one of them mysteriously goes missing. The girls left relentlessly search for their friend and roommate, to no end. It has consumed their lives.
Years after their friend went missing, another crime happens on the same school grounds. The sister of Fiona Sheridan, our main character, was brutally murdered and left on display. Fiona is a writer, as well as her father. So she has the ability to research and dig up dirt, which she devotes her life to, in order to prove that the person convicted of her sister’s crime was in fact the killer.
When the school is abruptly purchased and is being restored, Fiona takes it upon herself to dig into the backgrounds of the family taking over. As she researches and finds out about the missing schoolgirl, she digs into school files hoping to help solve that case along the way. In all of her research she comes across yet another crime that potentially ties to her sister’s. With the town hunky cop (Jamie) as her boyfriend, this dynamic duo attempt to solve all the crimes and give peace to so many that have been hurting and searching for answers for years, and even decades.