Life Lived Well

Loving Your Body At Any Age

What would you change about your body if you could?

Would you change your height?  Your hair?  Your eyes?

Do you love your body just the way it is?

Loving your body is not automatic.  It doesn’t usually come easily.  But loving your body at any age is possible.

In my 20’s I probably had a laundry list of things I would have changed about my body.  That list is gone now.

Now I’m in my 40’s, and I can honestly say that while I may not have chosen to look the way I do, I wouldn’t change anything about my body.

My hair, for instance, has always driven me crazy.  It’s stick straight, thin, stringy and my natural color is a lovely, mousey, dishwater brown.  (I left the brown behind years ago.)  I have always had “hair envy”.  The hair I always wanted was curly.  I’d even keep my natural color if it was just curly.

My hair doesn’t curl worth a darn.  In my teens, I permed, curled, applied cans and cans of mousse (remember mousse?) and hair sprayed it to the heavens just like all the other girls in my school.  It didn’t help.  The curls fell out within hours.  But, I know plenty of women who have curly hair and hate the fact that straight is never an option for them.

If I woke up one morning and my hair was suddenly curly, I would probably complain that I couldn’t put it behind my ears anymore in an effort to get it out of my eyes!!

My father has curly hair.  Did I get his curly hair?  Nope.  I got his feet and hands.  For years I wore shoes that covered up my toes.  My feet are not “lady-like” at all.  I only started wearing flip flops and open-toed sandals in that past 10  years or so.  Now when I look at my “ugly feet” I laugh and think about my dad and thank God that I’m able to walk. That’s a luxury some people don’t have.

As for my skin, I swear I have the oiliest skin on the planet.  I’m constantly dabbing my forehead with a tissue or paper napkin.  Occasionally, my husband will see me and ask “are you sweating?”  How embarrassing.  And of course, with oily skin usually comes acne.  Oh, joy!!   I had to wait until my 40’s to get the acne under control, but I’m still oily.  The upside is the commercials, ads, and articles about how to care for dry, cracked, tight skin don’t apply to me.  I save a lot of money by using fewer creams, lotions and beauty products.

For years I painted my fingernails religiously.  This was before everyone was getting acrylic nails.   I would spend hours either painting or waving my hands and blowing on my nails waiting for the polish to dry.  Only to have the paint chip 2 days later.  So frustrating!!  All that waiting and waving for only a couple of days of pretty nails.  I tried fake nails and had a horrible reaction to the acetone.  Now when I look at my naked nails and my dad’s fingers, I remember how much I cried from the blisters and the burning from the reaction to the polish remover.

At 40 something (50 is just around the corner), my weight isn’t what it used to be.  When I joined the military, I was below the minimum weight for my height.  That’s certainly not the case now.  It was easy to take being thin for granted.  Now I have the menopause belly and the days of eating whatever I want, whenever I want, are behind me.  (Read more about My Body After 40).   And, don’t get me started on the bloating!!!!

There are women who have medical conditions or have battled with weight for years.  They would probably love to weigh in at the weight I hate!! Everyone has something and I need to be grateful for being healthy.

Loving your body at 20 is about excepting yourself and not comparing yourself to others.

Loving your body at 40 is about recognizing the alternatives.

Loving your body at any age is not about perfection, it’s about loving the sum of all your parts.

Remember, if there’s a part of your body you hate, there’s someone out there who would love to have what you have.







Loving your body at any age is not easy but you can learn to love your body.


5 Books That Will Transform Your Marriage

Even the happiest couples and best marriages can use a little boost from time to time.  A little “pick me up”.  We’ve all been there.  Maybe not a marriage counselor, but time to learn a little more about ourselves and our partner and what makes them tick.

Marriage books are a dime a dozen.  Whatever the reason, whatever the issue, there are books out there.  Even if you’ve picked up one or two of them in the past, put these 5 books on your list.  They will transform your marriage.

My husband and I have had a little “experience” when it comes to marriage.  We are not experts, but we know that it takes constant focus to keep our marriage in the best possible condition.

Not long after we got married we watched the movie Fireproof.  We stumbled across it while trying to find something to watch one Saturday night. Wow!!!  It really struck a cord with us.  We weren’t experiencing any issues like the characters in the movie, but it reminded us how easily things than can unravel when you’re eyes are not fixed on what really matters.

We immediately went out and got the *book The Love Dare from the movie (Fireproof).  The book takes you on a 40-day journey toward closeness and unconditional love for each other.  You can go thru the book by yourself (as it was done in the movie), but it can easily be done together.  We chose to do it together.  Each day there is a small task for you to complete that makes you think about your spouse in a different way while opening your eyes and your heart.  There is also a daily devotional based on The Love Dare book.  Click here to see the daily devotional.


The Love Dare

The Love Dare

We loved The Love Dare so much, we couldn’t wait to read another book together.  The next one we picked up was The 5 Love Languages.  This one truly transformed our marriage!!!   We all know that women and men think differently.  But this book showed us how to demonstrate love based on the other’s needs.  You definitely find out that saying I Love You is more than flowers for women and sex for men.  We learned so much about each other and ourselves.

My husband enjoyed The 5 Love Languages so much, he is always looking for opportunities to tell other couples about it.



The 5 Love Languages

The 5 Love Languages


When Couples Walk Together

When couples walk together


Our next book was a good read.  Less about learning and more about growing closer and appreciating each other’s strengths.  When Couples Walk Together was easy to read, with great stories and it led to some very interesting conversations.  I really recommend this if you have children and have forgotten what it’s like to be “a couple”.  We often get this book out and just read a chapter at random to remind us what we loved about it.

Love and Respect

Love and Respect

The next book we picked up has a completely different, but interesting perspective.  It breaks down the bible verse Ephesians 5:33 in a way most of us have never heard.  Love and Respect will shed a new light on what men and women need most from their partners.  You can read it with your spouse.  But if you read by yourself, you’ll find yourself saying things out loud like “that’s so true” and “I do that”!!

31 Prayers for my Husband

31 Prayers for my Husband


Finally, Thirty-One Prayers for my Husband and Thirty-One Prayers for my Wife are both incredible for praying transformational prayers for each other.  The words in these prayers were things I didn’t even know I wanted to pray, but every prayer is amazingly written and thoughtful.

Whether your marriage is solid or in a place where you can use a boost, these books can transform your marriage in ways you can’t imagine.







This post contains affiliate links for products I may receive a profit from if purchased.  I would never recommend a product I didn’t use or believe in.  These links help me cut down on all those yucky ads we all hate.  Thanks for your support. 

Marriage books are a dime a dozen. These 5 books will truly transform your marriage.

Dressing Your Best

Secrets To Dressing Your Age NOT Like Your Mother

If you’re over 40, and hear “dressing your age”, it sounds like we should be dressing like our grandmothers. But, when I say “dressing your age, not like your mother”, I mean that difficult place between realizing we aren’t 20 and trying not to dress like we’re 75 either.

It’s not always an easy task.  I don’t feel 40-something (most days), but when I look in the mirror I’m very aware that I’m also not 27 anymore.

It’s a balancing act.  I can’t wear the things I used to wear, but I don’t want to look dowdy and “buttoned up” all the time either. I wouldn’t categorize myself as super trendy.  If you’ve been on my Instagram Page, you’ve seen several of my outfits.  Not overly conservative, but I’m not showing everyone “what I brought to the party” either.

I have a few secrets I use for dressing my age, but NOT like my mother.

I love Jeans.  Dressed up or dressed down.  The darker the denim, the better.  The lighter the denim the least flattering they tend to be.  And, under no circumstances will there ever be bling on my butt.  If you’re the least bit self-conscious of your behind, OH MY GOSH, please, avoid sparkles on your rear end!!

High-rise jeans (buttoning above the belly button) can tend to make it look like you have a pooch and low-rise can create “overflow”.  It’s usually best to go for “mid-rise” for the most flattering look on the belly.

Let’s talk about hem for a minute.  Unless you’re wearing Capri length (and then, please don’t wear socks), your hem should come almost to the floor.  The bottom of your pant leg should almost cover your shoe with a straight-leg or a boot-cut jean.  If you want to make your legs look longer, wear dark denim boot cut jeans and pointy toe shoes.  You’ll look thinner and taller.  I love this look here.

Yes, I wear skinny jeans and you can too. Really.  If you don’t like your behind (and, we are all there with you), wear a flowy top that covers it up.   Tuck the skinny jeans into boots or wear a pretty flat shoe or sandal.  You’ll be gorgeous.

Skirt length is tricky.  Too short and you’re back to trying to look 27.  Too long and you’ll look eighty-five.  A good rule of thumb is no shorter than 1 inch (2 inches max) above the top of the knee cap.  If the hem of your dress comes to the middle of the kneecap, that’s a safe length for any occasion. Here’s a great visual for skirt length.

Wear leggings.  Yes, you!!  Some of the knit dresses you see everywhere are just too short for most of us.  However, you can still look super trendy when you add leggings and boots.

Stitch Fix is great if you need to step out of your comfort zone.  If you’ve never used a subscription service, this one is great.  You just fill out a style profile and tell them what kind of clothes you like and don’t like and a stylist picks out items for you.  They have everything from dresses and boots to purses and jewelry.  Keep what you want, send back what you don’t like.  Click here for an affiliate link to check out Stitch Fix.  This is my Pinterest board of some of the pieces I’ve received recently.

Stitch Fix has really helped me try different things I normally would not have bought for myself.

Last Tip – Don’t go shopping with your mom.   If you’re shopping for clothes with your mom, you’ll either walk away frustrated or you’ll end up buying clothes you both can wear.  Let’s be honest, that defeats the purpose.

Don’t, for a moment, think that you can’t be trendy and look great in your 40’s and 50’s.  You can be gorgeous at any age.







Dressing your age not like your mother means striking that gorgeous balance between not trying to look 25 but not looking 75 either.



Secrets To Making Your Life As A Mom Easier By Next Week

Life as a mom can be hard.  And hectic.  And exhausting!!  Whether you work inside or outside the home, there is a never-ending list of things to do as a mom.

Secrets to making your life as a mom easier are invaluable.

I only have one child at home and sometimes I’m overwhelmed.  I can’t even wrap my brain around all the wonderful moms out there with 2, 4 or even 6 (or more) kids. Especially when mine is having a tantrum or dealing with tweenage drama.  I bow down to those moms with 2 or more kids, especially if you have girls!!!

I know a few women who have more than 6 children and every time I see them they have showered and put on clothes that match.  To me, that’s astounding.  I think it would be impossible for me to shower, get dressed in decent clothes and form complete sentences all while having 6 kiddos at home.  But, they do it and make it look easy.  I am not worthy!!!

We can all learn a lot from each other on how to make things simpler at home.

Here are some secrets to making your life as a mom easier by next week:

Delegate  If someone offers to help you, LET THEM!!!  Even if it’s something seemingly small, it may save you time.

Delegate to your husband errands he can do on his way home from work.  Have him bring home dinner, a prescription or even milk.  Have him trade cars with you for the day so he can take yours for an oil change or fill it up with gas.  That’s one less thing on your plate.

Hand Over The Reigns – Let the kids do more to take care of themselves and the household.  I’m getting better about having my 10-year-old daughter do more around the house.  I have to remind myself that while she may not do things exactly the way I would do them, the job will still get done.   And since Southern Living hasn’t called yet to photograph my house or document the cleanliness of my bathtub, I need to be ok with the way she does the job.

Another thing I need to remember when it comes to getting my daughter to do chores is that she will protest, but she can do far more than she lets on.  We had an issue one day about her putting clean sheets on her bed.  She DID NOT want to do it herself.  She cried and had a fit and I just walked out of the room and let her wallow.  Ten minutes later she was singing and the bed was made. Surprise surprise.

Some of her other chores include:  packing her lunch for school, taking out the trash, taking the can to the curb, clean and vacuum her own room (I DO NOT pick up dirty clothes), scrub her bathtub and put away her own laundry.  I know she is capable of doing more, and in some households, kids are responsible for more.  I for one, have to learn to hand over the reigns and actually let her do more.

We recently put an alarm clock in her room.  She only gets up 5 minutes earlier than we do, but she feels more empowered and “grown up”.  Also, we’re not arguing in the morning about her running behind.  Bonus!

Don’t fight the fight When we assign a new task to our daughter we usually do it under the guise that we need help.  She loves to help.  “Can you please help me for a minute by unloading the dishwasher?”  Before she knows it she’s unloading the dishwasher on a regular basis and doesn’t realize it’s now her “responsibility”.

Sibling Double Check – I have a friend who assigns tasks to her kids and each kid has a “checker” (a sibling) that comes behind them and makes sure the chores have been completed.  If mom sees that Johnny didn’t do a good job cleaning the toilet, guess who has to redo the toilet?  Not Johnny, but his brother Alex because it was Alex’ job to double check the chore.  Genius!

Cleaning Schedule – This simple thing has helped me soooooooooo much.  If you don’t have a cleaning schedule, it’s pretty simple.  Basically, you’re not cleaning the entire house (which takes hours) at one time. Unless of course, you actually get the call from Southern Living.  Until then make life easier on yourself.

First, look at your monthly calendar (the entire month at a glance).  On  your busiest days of the week, do simple household chores, or a “once over” in one or two rooms. Then, find the days that you have the most time at home, those are the days for the bulk of the cleaning.  Bathrooms, scrubbing the floor, etc.  Break down all chores into bite-sized tasks that can be divided up and done on different days throughout the week.  One day you do only bathrooms.  One day is nothing but vacuum and dust, etc.  You get the idea.

The reason it works for me is I know I don’t have to do everything all at once.  If the bathrooms look bad and it’s Wednesday, it’s ok because Thursday is “bathroom day”.

For more help with a cleaning schedule, here is a great pin I found with printables you can use to get you started.

These are just a few ideas to make life easier by next week. If you have a super idea that works for you,  I’d love to hear it.  Please leave me a comment so we can help each other make life simpler.







Secrets to making life easier as a mom are invaluable. Here some tips to make things easier by next week.

Life Lived Well

Have You Outgrown Your Circle Of Friends?

Have you outgrown your circle of friends?  Is it time to “move on” from certain people?

We all have friends we’ve known for years.  Some of them we’ve known for decades.  You probably follow them on social media and send them Christmas cards.  But, how many of those friends do you actually see on a regular basis?  Do you talk to them regularly?

Here’s the million dollar question – do you WANT to talk to them regularly?

There are phases of our lives where certain friends are invaluable to us.  But, that doesn’t mean they will always be our “go to” friend.

We have people in our lives during stages or events that we can’t imagine going thru with anyone else. Those people will undoubtedly be special to us forever.  They supported us, lifted us up or even cried with us. But, is it possible we’ve outgrown some of those same friends?

Then, there are people we become very close to because quite simply they are very close.  Like your college roommate.  You can’t imagine how you survived your Freshman year without her.   Would you have been friends had they not “assigned” her to your room?  What about that awful job you had a few years ago?  You probably had a co-worker you could commiserate with about the work conditions and your old boss.   You may never have started up a friendship with them had they not been sitting at the desk next to yours.

Life changes are inevitable.  When those changes come, you will have new people near you.  A move to a different house, the start a new job or hobby or attending a new church.  Some of those people will become great friends, life-long friends, and some won’t.

Those same life changes also mean you will no longer be close to people you once saw or spoke to every day.

Sometimes friends move away from each other and only get to talk once in a while.  When they do talk it’s as if nothing has changed.  You pick up right where you left off.  No matter how long it’s been between phone calls or visits, you jump right back in step with each other.

But, there are others with whom you’ve shared experiences (college, work, your old neighbors, etc) that you’d rather just keep the memories and not really stay in close contact with them. Not because you don’t like them or don’t care about them.  It’s just that you’ve matured or your life has changed in such a way that you don’t see eye to eye like you did in the past.

Give yourself permission today to move on.  Let go of the guilt. 

I talked to someone recently who met up with an old college friend for dinner.  After she met with her friend, her comment to me was “It was so nice to see her.  She looked great and I’m really glad I went. But, we really don’t have anything in common except old memories.”

There’s nothing wrong with feeling this way.  Part of getting older and maturing is realizing that while we need good friends (read more about that here), not all of the old friends are going to be a comfortable fit in our current lives.  That doesn’t mean we don’t want the best for them or wouldn’t give them the shirt off our backs if they needed it.  It just means we’re going in different directions now.  By all means, keep them on the Christmas card list!!

Life brings changes, sometimes those changes show us that we’ve outgrown our circle of friends.  Maybe now is the time to surround ourselves with new people that will make us better versions of our current selves.






Have you outgrown your circle of friends? Is it time to move on from some relationships?


Making Intimacy AH-Mazing after 40

The rumor is; intimacy after 40 is either boring or nonexistent.  That’s simply not the case.  You can make intimacy AH-Mazing after 40!!

I think the overall belief is that you’re going to have the best sex of your life when you’re in your 20’s and 30’s.  Then, in your 40’s and 50’s your intimate life will come to a screeching halt!!  Don’t believe the hype.

The truth is when you’re over 40 you’re more mature.  You know what you want. And, you’re not afraid to ask for it!!

But, intimacy is more than sex.  Intimacy is being close to a person with whom you’ve built a great connection.  Someone you can talk to and confide in.  They love all of you.

Real intimacy comes from looking into someone’s eyes and knowing you can trust them with your soul. When you have that someone in your life, intimacy is more than just what happens in the bedroom.

Having said that, even when you have that person, intimacy (sex) can occasionally take a back seat.  It can be put on the back burner because well…… “life happens”.  Life gets so busy with jobs, kids, etc., that you both are just too tired to give more of yourselves to anything or anyone else.  Even your partner.

They say (no, I don’t know who “they” is) “when your intimate life is good it’s 20% of your marriage when it’s bad, it’s 80%”.

Here are a few ways you can make intimacy AH-Mazing after 40

Intimacy after 40 can be AH-Mazing after 40. Great tips for making intimacy a priority in any marriage.

Talk.  Speak up.  Use your voice.

Tell your partner what you want.  Do you want more time alone together (like a night out)?  Do you want more time in the bedroom?  Do you simply want some quiet time with your spouse?  Sometimes all I want is a little face to face time with my husband with no distractions.  Not necessarily in the bedroom.  It could be as simple as a walk in the neighborhood while we hold hands.  Remember, even that one-on-one time can lead to great bedroom time.  But, it has to start somewhere.  So, call your spouse, text him, or leave him a love note, but make your requests known.

Spice things up.  

If it’s time in the bedroom you’re looking for, find a way to spice it up.  As long as you both agree and it’s just the two of you, try something new.  Use your imagination, but make sure you’re both on the same page.

Change your surroundings.

Go away for the night or even a weekend.  Rent a hotel room or just “make use” of another room in the house.  New surroundings with none of the usual distractions (aka kids) can be just the boost you both need.

Read a book together.  

You could, of course, get a “spicy” book, but what I really mean is sitting next to each other and reading a novel. There have been several times my husband and I have gone to the bookstore and picked up a mystery or a book on growing our marriage.  When our daughter goes to bed we snuggle up and one of us reads to the other.  We enjoy just sitting next to each other.  My husband will say that reading some of these books has made all the difference in our marriage.

Need a libido boost?  


You may have seen me mention this before, but I love love love this* for helping give my libido a kick in the pants. There are times when your hormones change as you reach 40 or 50 and your interest level isn’t what it used to be.  I have had excellent results with this product*.  Truly, I can’t say enough good about it.


Making intimacy AH-Mazing after 40 (or even 50) doesn’t have to be difficult.  It just takes the two of you connecting and making it a focus.







*This article does contain an affiliate link.  I love this product and wouldn’t recommend it otherwise.

 I may receive some compensation from this link.  Thank  you for your support.

Life Lived Well

Is This REALLY my body after 40?

I didn’t appreciate being thin in my 20’s.  I didn’t know how lucky I was to be able to eat anything I wanted and not gain weight. There were a lot of things about my body I didn’t appreciate in my 20’s.

Then a few years ago, not long after my 40th birthday, I stepped out of the shower and caught of glimpse of myself naked.  I gasped!!  (I would have screamed but I would probably pee.)  I was shocked seeing myself in the mirror.  My initial reaction was “WHO LET MY MOTHER IN HERE?”  Once I realized I was alone and naked, (thank God) I said to myself “is this really my body after 40?”

Is this really my body after 40? When you're headed toward menopause, you have to laugh otherwise you'll cry.

In my 30’s, I can remember noticing women in their 40’s and 50’s and most of them seemed to have a little “pooch” or menopause belly.  I used to think, “how did they let that happen?”  Well, now I know.  They were crazy enough to have 40 or more birthdays and one day it’s just there!  Like an unwanted present from a relative.  It just shows up and it won’t go away.

You can actually get rid of the pooch.  All you have to do is eat less and exercise more.  (Tired of hearing that yet? ) The exercise part is no problem when you’re racing toward menopause because you have all the time in the world for it.  Since you’re not sleeping, you can exercise in the middle of the night.  These days, I’m exhausted at 830.  Sound asleep between 930 and 10 and wide awake at 230am.  Yeah me!!!  See, exercise problem solved!!

Overall, I have to say I’m pretty happy with the way I look at least 6 days of the month.  The other days, I’m either bloated waiting for my cycle or bloated during my cycle.  And, I never know when it’s coming, so I can usually “plan” on being surprised just as I’m going out to dinner or leaving for vacation.

Not everything is “thicker” though.  My lips and hair are thinning.  That’s a plus, right?

Don’t believe the rumor that intimacy is a problem over 40.  It doesn’t have to be.  I love this* for keeping my hormones balanced and giving my libido a kick in the pants.  My husband says he’s noticed a big difference since I have been using it.  So much so, he has it waiting for me on the kitchen counter every morning.  He’s so thoughtful!!

I have heard that for some women intimacy can be painful during menopause.  There may be times when something you used to be able to do in the bedroom, doesn’t quite do it for you now. I have to say my husband is pretty agreeable to “changing things up a bit” or trying something new.  That’s probably because my emotions are so up and down, he’s not sure from one minute to the next if I’ll bite his head off or cry.  So, he’ll agree to just about anything to keep the peace.

You do have great “accessories” to look forward to when you’re over 40.  I’m rocking the readers now.  You can get them in every color and they are really handy for plucking those chin hairs.  I usually do my plucking in the carpool line.  The way I see it, I’m giving those 20-year-old moms a glimpse into the future.  When they stare, I just want to stick my head out of the car window and say “go ahead and laugh.  This is your future.”

On the bright side, I’m perimenopausal and my tween is about to start her journey into “womanhood”.  Soon, I’ll be able to hand over to her all those lovely, delicately wrapped items filling up my bathroom drawers.  And then, God Bless my husband.  With her starting and me finishing, he won’t know whether to wind his butt or scratch his watch.

If you’re asking yourself “is this really my body after 40?”  The answer is “yes” and you’re normal.  So, grab your tweezers and your readers and enjoy the ride.  You are among friends!!

For more thoughts on turning 40 (or more), please check out this article here.







*This post does contain an affiliate link.  I may receive some compensation from this link.  I would never recommend a product I haven’t used or don’t love.  Thank you for your support.

Health and Beautiful Living

The Most Effective Essentials Oils You Are Not Using

Essentials oils are a great way to support your overall health naturally.  They have been used for centuries, even in the bible, to help with everything from arthritis and boils to bruises and lice.

Whether you’re just getting started with oils or you’ve been using them for quite a while, I’ll bet there are some super effective essential oils you are not using.  We all tend to have our “go-to” oils and then there are always some we’ve never even heard of before.

I’m always discovering new oils either by way of my own research or the recommendation of friends.

I put a short list together of some of the most effective essential oils you are probably not using.  If you are using them, you might find a new way to use them.  Plus, I’m sharing my favorite diffuser.

Lemongrass – This is one of my favorites for flea and tick repellent on my dogs.  I put a few drops in my hands, rub my hands together and rub it down the back, legs and tail of my dogs.  Since good quality oils can be very concentrated, I don’t apply them directly to the animals skin.  I usually apply the oils once a week.  It’s cheaper, works great and less toxic than what I had been using.

Several studies have shown lemongrass inhibits the growth of MRSA.  Here is just one study.

Lemongrass essential oil has also been shown to help with circulation.

Rosemary – Highly antibacterial.  A great way to reduce bacteria and viruses in the home is to diffuse rosemary.  It can be pretty strong so I usually diffuse rosemary with lemon.  It’s very refreshing and makes the air in the house clean.

We have used rosemary to help with poison ivy.  My husband gets poison ivy every year.  When we have used rosemary, we were pleasantly shocked at the results.

Lemon Myrtle -According to the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine Lemon Myrtle can help with sinus infections, bronchitis, fatigue, depression, the common cold, and flu.  It has been shown to be highly antiseptic and helps wounds from being infected with sepsis and tetanus.  Read more here.

Tangerine – A little sweeter and fruitier than one of my other favorites, lemon oil.  Orange and tangerine can tend to contain more of the active constituent limonene.  Limonene has shown great promise in studies to help slow the growth of cancer.  It also boosts immunity and helps reduce depression.  I love to diffuse lemon/tangerine/lime together.  It smells so fresh and clean.

Black Pepper – Great for digestion because it stimulates the whole digestive system and can help with gas relief and clean out the intestines like castor oil.  It’s antispasmodic and can help with cramps and muscle pulls.

Black pepper oil has analgesic properties and can be very helpful for rheumatism, and arthritis.

This is one of the favorites at our house for my husband’s sore muscles and back after work.  Read my article on Black Pepper Oil here.

Manuka – In studies, Manuka has shown to be more powerful than Tea Tree oil for it’s antibacterial and antifungal properties.  It’s shown to bring down fevers, be effective in eliminating fungal infections like ringworm and athlete’s foot, give relief to coughs, give relief to allergy symptoms and repel insects.  This is just one article about Manuka here.

Manuka oil has been used therapeutically for years for arthritis, muscle aches, and joint pain.  It’s also believed to help with foot and body odor.  There are also some studies showing Manuka may be effective against MRSA.

Diffusing oils is a great way help eliminate smells, bacteria, and toxins from your home.  My favorite diffuser is this one.

This is where I get my oils.  Did you now it’s uncommon (not impossible, just uncommon) to have an allergic reaction to essential oils?  I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but it bears repeating, not every oil company is created equal.  Do your research!!  This is where I get my oils.  I get them here because they grow their own plants, own their own facilities and farms, and do their own quality control.

Leave me a comment below and tell me about your favorite oil.  I’d love to hear from you.







*This post does contain affiliate links.  I may receive some compensation for these links.  However, I never recommend a product I don’t like or use myself.  Thanks so much for your support.


Some of the most effective essential oils you're not using. Plus, my favorite diffuser.

Favorite Recipes

Pumpkin Spice Chia Pudding

I love pumpkin spice anything.  I think it’s one of the best things about Fall.  Well, that and the fact that it’s not 157 degrees anymore.  Sweaters, boots and pumpkin spice.  Bring it on!!

I love pumpkin spice so much, it just made sense to me to pair it with one of my favorite healthy “add-ins”, chia seeds.

Chia seeds offer so much nutrition and a plethora of health benefits, I want to add them to everything.  And I usually do.  This time, I married them with pumpkin and wonderfully nutritious coconut milk for this super spicy, super healthy, super delicious treat.  Ta da!!  Pumpkin Spice Chia Pudding.

But, this IS NOT your ordinary pudding.  It has a bonus!  

First, here are some facts about the mighty little chia seed.  They are originally from Mexico and the name Chia actually means strength.  They are rich in antioxidants, calcium, potassium, and iron.  They can give you energy,  boost your metabolism, and since they have almost 11 grams of fiber per ounce they are terrific for your digestive health.  Chia seeds have 18% of your daily recommended dose of calcium and are one of the top plant-based sources of protein.  Read more here and here.

Unlike flax seed, chia seeds do not need to be crushed in order to be beneficial.  Just add them to your pudding, yogurt, homemade salad dressing, or your drink.  They will absorb some liquid, but you will be able to absorb all the wonderful nutrients.

In this recipe, if the chia seeds weren’t enough, I also included one of my favorite supplements, Grass Fed Collagen.  Collagen is great for gut health, bone and joint health, it’s pure protein, and helps your hair and nails grow like crazy.  Read my article about collagen here.


Pumpkin Spice Chia Pudding

1 can coconut milk (organic and full fat).  *I use this brand

1 cup canned pumpkin (organic)

5 Tbl chia seeds.  This is a great brand.

1 Tbl Grass Fed Collagen.  I use this brand

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp each ground ginger, ground cloves, ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg

1 Tbl local honey

When you open the can of coconut milk, if there’s any hardened coconut oil at the top, go ahead and scoop that off and discard (or save it and cook with it).  Mix all the ingredients together with a hand mixer just to incorporate.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.


Eat and enjoy all the spices and wonderful health benefits of this Pumpkin Spice Chia Pudding.







*This post contains some affiliate link.  I may receive some compensation from this links.  I do not promote any products I haven’t used or don’t personally recommend.  Thank you for your support.  

Pumpkin Spice Chia Pudding - clean eating recipe

This clean eating recipe is protein packed and nutrient dense. It’s perfect for fall. Pumpkin Spice Chia Pudding.



Life Lived Well

3 Secrets To Saying No So Your Friends Don’t Hate You

Some people make saying “NO” look so easy.  A friend or neighbor asks for their help and they say “no” without batting an eye.  It’s really impressive to watch.  They aren’t rude about it, but it seems as though saying no is second nature to them.

Have you ever watched those people and said to yourself “I wish I could just say no and make it stick”?

There are secrets to saying no, so your friends don’t hate you.  I don’t think it comes naturally.  I do, however, think it gets easier as you get older.  At this stage in my life, I can honestly say I know myself and I’m confident enough to say “no” and not feel a ton of guilt later.  It doesn’t bother me to tell people I can’t do something or I’m not able to help with this project or that event.

Here are 3 secrets that are important if you want to say “no” confidently and without leaving a bad taste in the other person’s mouth.

Know Your Limits –  I used to have a bad habit of “forgetting” my schedule.   A few years ago, before I started staying home full-time, my work schedule was a little slower around the holidays.  I was still working but my workload really picked up in the spring.  So, at the first of the year when people needed volunteers for something, I always said yes.  Since I wasn’t busy at the time, somehow I thought it would be like that all year. Inevitably, a few months later I would be in over my head and wishing I would have just said “no” .

You have to know your limits.  You can’t be all things to all people.  Only say “yes” to the things that speak to your heart.  You will make time for the things that matter.  If it doesn’t matter to you,  it will just make you mad or exhausted just thinking about it.   (Read more about cutting back here.)

At my daughter’s school, I always let the teachers know I’m available to bring in whatever they need on their “wish list”. I’m a good fetcher.  I have no problem running to the store for paper, crayons, cupcakes (store-bought, of course), or jump ropes.  Whatever they need.  Just don’t ask me to be Room Mom, or do crafts.  I stink at crafts.

I’m not spontaneous at all.  In order for me to be spontaneous, I need 2 weeks to prepare. If I volunteer to go on the class field trip, I can put it on my calendar. If I volunteer to bring in something for the class, I can add it to my errands and pick it up while I’m already out.  However, if I’m Room Mom, I need to be ready for whatever is needed, whenever it’s needed.  I know myself well enough to know that a last minute call from the teacher would make me anxious and I would resent doing anything at all.

Be Confident But Be Kind –  I’ve heard that “no” can be a complete sentence.  Maybe that works for some people, it still doesn’t feel good to me.  I don’t have a problem saying no, but I usually follow it up with “I’m sorry”.  I’m saying “I’m sorry” because I hate to think that someone might really need help and me saying no might leave them short-handed.  But I know my limits.   When I say “I’m sorry” what I’m really saying is “I will be absolutely no good to you if I say yes”.

I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or leave them in a lurch, but it won’t do me or them any good if I say yes only to back out later.

To me, an entire sentence is “No, I’m sorry, I can’t”.

Stop Talking – This is the most important step.  I was in sales for years.  There are people who train on this at meetings and conferences (I was one of them).  The theory is that when you’re making a sale you can have someone just about to make a purchase and then you keep talking, and talking, and eventually you talk them right out of the sale.

If you keep talking after “No, I’m sorry, I can’t” you will start listing all the reasons why you can’t.  Then, guess what happens.  You’ve just opened the door for the other person to “counter” all of your reasons.  They will tell you how they will do all of the work and you really don’t have to do anything.  They will tell you that it won’t cost you any money.  They might even tell you that you’re able to do it whenever you want, it doesn’t have to be at a certain time.  You get the idea.

You will end up walking away from the conversation having volunteered to be PTO President, watching your neighbors 4 kids for the weekend or baking 200 cupcakes for the fundraiser.

So, do yourself a favor.  The next time someone asks you to do something you absolutely know doesn’t speak to your heart, confidently say “No, I’m sorry, I can’t”.  And then, stop talking!!  You’ll be glad you did.






3 secrets to saying no confidently, so your friends don't hate you.

3 secrets to saying NO confidently, so your friends don’t hate you.

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