Natural Tick Repellent

Remember, what we put on our skin ends up INSIDE our body!  Our skin is the largest organ we are walking around with – let’s feed it quality substances.  When it comes to living a healthy and organic lifestyle, what we lather on our bod is just as significant as what we put in our mouths.  Here is a wonderful DIY essential oil blend that will work like a charm to keep those ticks off of you, your family and your pets!

Palo Santo


1 cup distilled water
2 drops geranium essential oil
2 drops palo santo essential oil
1 drop myrrh essential oil
4 drops grapefruit essential oil
1 drop peppermint essential oil
1 drop thieves hand soap or castile soap.

Place all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake. Spritz on socks, sneakers, boots, ankles and legs as well as any exposed skin.   Have fun on the trails!

*If your cupboard is bare in the essential oils department check out – great bang for you buck!




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     Image result for gratitude

      What cultivates our gratitude, or our lack there of, is our attitude toward whatever we meet as our daily lives unfold. How we approach our work, how we respond to interactions with family, friends, or someone we just met – the words and energy we choose to use in each moment immensely affects the way we are in this world. Can we slow down long enough to recognize the marvel in the small and quiet aspects of life, or are we too hungry for more, too distracted by what is coming next? In my humble opinion, gratitude = great attitude. When we slow down long enough to see that everything, like human existence itself, is nothing short of a miracle. Perhaps this awareness will teach us to mindfully respond rather than habitually react as we navigate each day.

Let’s remember that our minds were designed to repeat, our system as a whole likes routine and patterns. The beauty here is that we get to choose which patterns are helping or hindering our existing in a state of gratitude. I find it helpful to ask myself simple questions such as these:

1. How am I communicating with my family, friends and colleagues?
2. What have I contributed to the world today?
3. Did I align my thoughts today with material that I truly value and know is right?
4. Did I slow down and take look at myself today or did I fall prey to the temptation to judge others?
5. Have I organized my day in a way that allows me to be still for a moment and reflect on all I have to be grateful for?

These questions are not meant to overwhelm, but instead to serve as tools for making a change. The power lies in choice. I find that the more mindful I become in each moment, the more inclined I am to make a great choice. This encourages me toward a great attitude and we all know where that leads us. Yep, to pure Gratitude.


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Could it be Adrenal Fatigue?

What are adrenals? 

Illu adrenal gland.jpg

Our adrenal glands are endocrine glands that sit right on top of our kidneys. They produce hormones that aid our body in controlling blood sugar, burning protein and fat,  and regulating blood pressure. They as well produce hormones in response to stress – playing a huge role in the flight or fight response.  Two of the most important adrenal hormones are cortisol and aldosterone.

Living in these days of uncertainty causes much stress, which takes a toll on our adrenal glands. When these glands are overused, the body may experience several symptoms. Here are the most common ones:

  • excessive sweating with little activity
  • low pack pain
  • dark circles under the eyes
  • dizziness
  • muscle twitches
  • low blood sugar
  • heart palpitations
  • easily irritable
  • chronic infections
  • light headed feeling when you stand up
  • tired, yet wired.
  • cravings for sugar
  • dry skin
  • lack of libido
  • tendency to startle easily
  • negative response to thyroid hormone

If you are experiencing a handful of the above, you may have tired adrenals.  Get a saliva test right away.  Our adrenal glands are crucial to our immune function and as well support our thyroid in proper functioning.

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  • eliminate sugar and processed carbs.
  • eat clean animal protein foods, organic root vegetables, and mung beans for easy-to-digest protein.
  • reduce coffee intake, try an herbal coffee alternative like teecino (found at local health food stores)


  • Coconut
  • Olives
  • Avocado 
  • cruciferous veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc.)
  • Fatty fish (e.g., wild-caught salmon)
  • Walnuts
  • Seeds, such as pumpkin, chia and flax
  • Kelp and seaweed
  • chaga mushrooms
  • sea salt
  • free range chicken

HERBS: Ashwagandha, Schisandra, Holy Basil

Other tips: add lavender oil to your bath, avoid negative self talk as well as negative people, aim for a solid 8 hours of sleep every night, be sure to keep exercising (gentle movement, nothing strenuous), get at least an hour of fresh air daily.  

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Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself?

Love thy neighbor as thyself?

I think we can all agree this suggestion at times can be challenging as we race about our day, determined to complete the task at hand and focused on our individual path. We see reality through our perspective alone. So when we get thwarted by someone on their own trajectory, when things don’t unfold as smooth as planned, how easy it is to quickly judge, blame, assume, or become irritated. Perhaps we label these people as ‘difficult’ and we do so without hesitation. But what if we did hesitate, what if we were to pause and bring compassion into the equation. What would that look like?

This begs the question:

Are we willing to look at ourselves, really look, in any given situation and recognize that what we perceive almost always originates from right within ourselves? In other words, maybe it’s not “he, she or them”, but rather “me”?

Some things to ask yourself the next time you judge, become angry or annoyed:

1. Are you taking care of yourself?
When we are tired, malnourished, spread too thin, lacking focus or addicted our brains are not functioning in their ideal manner, our emotions are all over the map, we are depleted and it is much more challenging to look at the glass half full. For the next couple of days, make it a point to write down how you are physically feeling and aim to make shifts in your daily routine that will better serve you*. You deserve to be living in a state of exuberance and joy, not in exhaustion. Life is tough enough, let’s not make it harder for ourselves. (*happy to email you a complimentary document on Lifestyle Suggestions)

2. Have you thought about looking at everyone in your life through honest eyes of compassion?
Compassion means having a concern for – genuinely caring about – the well being of others. It means you are willing to be patient, to help and to attempt to understand others without judgment. To understand that we all have different strengths and weaknesses. What we focus on expands, if you hone in on someone ‘s weakness you are bound to exacerbate the situation. Rather, try tapping into your strength to help, not hinder, them. While we are all incredibly different, every single one of us knows what it is like to be human. It is not always easy. I’ve noticed that for myself if I start with kind thoughts, they become kind words and then translate into kind action. When my thoughts are not kind I know I need to PAUSE and look at myself.

3. Might you take a walk in their shoes?
“Never judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes”.
We are programmed to make snap judgments before we even know what it is like to be the person we are judging. How selfish of us to assume we know them or what they are going through! The key to putting on their shoes is to slow down, to step out of ‘your’ line of vision and really consider what they are going through. Then, we can have a better idea of how our actions impacted them and why they responded the way they did.

I wrote this blog today because yesterday I heard someone say the words “Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself” and I realized that in order to do that we need to:

TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES, EMBRACE COMPASSION AND BE WILLING TO LEARN.  The world can never get enough love, let’s help spread it…


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Sunday Soul Food- GOODNESS

What a different experience it is when you go through the day HONESTLY paying attention to how you are treating others… in every single encounter.  Looking more closely at how the reality you find yourself in might be perceived by those around you, and less closely at your own perception.  Naturally, this is challenging – as we are viewing the world from our own two eyes.  I woke up and read this quote today:

“Goodness is about character – integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage, and the like. More than anything else, it is about how we treat other people”

After doing so, I decided I would spend this day strengthening my goodness.   It really doesn’t take a whole lot to turn an ordinary day into an EXTRAordinary one.. all we have to do is slow down, and open our eyes and ears wide – so we can see and hear all the opportunities we have to really help out.

Something I was reminded of a lot today – CHERISHING others is key.  It brings out the best in them.  In any situation or in any person it is easy to find something to complain about, but what the heck good is that going to do?  What we focus on expands, so perhaps we can ask ourselves… what do I want to encourage in this life? the BEST or the WORST?



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Calcium! You gettin’ yours?

It is recommended that the average adult consume about 1,000 mg of Calcium per day. Women older 50 and men over 70 should consume 1200 mg. Why is this so important think about?

Calcium is needed for vital life processes (that support bone health, heart health, proper nerve and muscle function). Unfortunately, we naturally loose this mineral each day through our skin, hair, nails, sweat, and excretions. Because the body cannot produce calcium on its own, we must consume adequate amounts through food sources!

Taking in calcium without ensuring absorption won’t do the trick. It is essential to also take in other vitamins and minerals that are needed to properly absorb calcium.  These include: vitamins A, C, D, K and minerals magnesium and phosphorus.

Vitamin D:
We can get it from the sun, but chlorophyll acts as ‘stored sunshine’ because it will perform like vitamin D in the body to help with calcium absorption  If you are consistently inside, consider taking a liquid chlorophyll or greens supplement.  When outside,  know that your pores must be open (sweating) to retain vitamin D from the sun. Vitamin D transports calcium into the bone, helps rebuild the epithelial cells in the intestinal tract and is crucial in avoiding depression.

Magnesium stimulates a hormone that increases calcium in the bones and keeps it from being absorbed in the soft tissues (this is what happens in several types of arthritis).  A magnesium rich diet in conjunction with calcium intake might be enough to cure forms of arthritis and help keep bones dense.

Magnesium Rich Foods:

Dried seaweeds, beans (black, mung and lima), buckwheat, millet rye, rice, all chlorophyll foods, high quality chocolate.

                                                               Calcium Rich Foods:
Green Leafy Vegetables:
Collard Greens, Spinach, Turnip Greens, Broccoli, Beet Greens, Bok Choy, Mustard Greens
Dandelion, Parsley, Watercress, Barley Grass, Wheat Grass

Almonds, Hazelnuts, Brazil Nuts, Sunflower Seeds, Sesame Seeds

Sardines, Salmon, Oysters

Sea Vegetables:
Kombu, Hijiki, Oysters, Wakame, Agar Agar

Tempeh, Garbanzo beans, Black Beans, Navy and White Beans, Pinto Beans

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Physical digestion begins in your mouth. Your saliva contains digestive enzymes that begin to break down what you eat, helping to prepare your food into something your body can absorb (not just swallow!). The more thoroughly you chew your food, the more likely you are to achieve maximum absorption of all its vitamins and minerals.
Saliva not only assists in the digestion of carbohydrates, but it also makes food more alkaline, which reduces bloating and gas.

Image result for chewing


Like any good habit, proper chewing takes practice. If you are new to the idea of slow and mindful eating, start with the two tips below. Remember, big changes have small beginnings.

1. Chew each bite 20-30 times before swallowing
2. Put your utensils down between bites to slow down.

Bonus Tip:
Become aware of the conversations you are holding while eating, aim towards using language and words that calm you and those around the table down. We want to be in “REST AND DIGEST”, not “FIGHT OR FLIGHT” mode when we eat. If you are feeling stressed out during a meal, pause for a moment and focus on your breathing. See if perhaps you can take several abdominal breaths to help down regulate your nervous system into ‘chill mode’.

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