Let’s Talk About Sunscreen

Mineral Sunscreen is best!

Let’s talk sunscreen. More isn’t necessarily better. Yes, you need to protect yourself if you’re spending the day on the beach, but you can and should take steps to shield your skin from the sun IN ADDITION to using sunscreen. 

Why? 

Because most sunscreen contains chemicals that help it to absorb into your skin quickly. Which also means that your absorbing ALL the chemicals (contained in sunscreen) into your skin. And many of the chemicals in sunscreen mimic thyroid and sexual hormones and this confuses your body and messes with your body’s ability to produce its own hormones. 

Did you know that sunscreen enters the bloodstream immediately and can be found in breastmilk for a full 24 hours after use?! Ugh. 

When you’re buying a sunscreen, look for a mineral, rather than chemical barrier. The mineral sunscreens don’t rub in as easily as the chemical ones, and they will leave a white sheen on your skin, BUT they are SO MUCH BETTER FOR YOU. 

And don’t forget about the other non-toxic approaches to protecting yourself from the sun: wear a wide brimmed hat, consider wearing a rash guard tee shirt, and try sitting in the shade as much as possible. 

These are my 2 favorite mineral sunscreens. Of course I use and love Young Living but there are 7 of us—we can go through a tube sunscreen quickly—so my 2nd choice is Think Baby! because it’s still a great low-toxic option with natural ingredients, comes in a larger tube, and can be purchased at Amazon or Target. 

And if you want a complete list of mineral sunscreens on the market, head to https://www.kitchenstewardship.com/natural-mineral-sunscreen-reviews/ for a comprehensive list.

HOW TO CREATE A GALLERY WALL IN 6 EASY STEPS

We have lived in our current home for almost 4 years. And how many pictures had I hung in that time? About 5.

That’s sad.

BUT we have been renovating this house from top to bottom. When we moved in there were holes in the walls and ceilings. I just couldn’t bring myself to hang pictures when I knew I would have to take them down again due to dust and renovations.

In April we FINALLY fixed the holes in the ceiling of the entry hall so I decided it was time to start hanging pictures.

I was overwhelmed because I had too many pictures to hang! But I decided that I had to start somewhere, so here are the steps I took to create my gallery wall.

Gather ALL your items in one spot to begin figuring out what to hang on your gallery wall.
  1. Gather ALL the items that you want to hang on your gallery wall.
    1. Go through old pictures.
    1. Pull memorabilia from other locations in your home.
    1. Gather everything in one space and start going through your items. If you immediately love an item or a photo, it goes into the YES pile. If you don’t love it, it goes back into a box.
  2. Determine what you need to buy.
    • YOU WILL NEED TO BUY A TON OF COMMAND STRIPS. Buy more than you think you need! You will usually need at least 4 Command Strips per photo. (Sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the size of the frame that you’ll be hanging.) SPOILER ALERT: Because you will be using Command Strips, you will NOT need to put nails in your walls!
    • Maybe you need more frames? Order frames. (I bought almost all my frames from Target and Amazon.)
    • Maybe there’s a photo on your phone that you really love but you don’t have a physical copy? Order prints.
    • Maybe you want to add some type of memorabilia to your wall (like a plate, which you will see on my wall) but you don’t have a way to hang it? Do the research, find out how to hang it, and order what is needed.
    • Buy or order a roll of butcher paper and painters tape so that you can create a template for your wall (see #4 below).
    • This process will take a couple weeks as you wait for items to arrive. That’s ok. Because while you’re waiting on your orders, you can move on to Step #3.
  3. Figure out a theme.
    • I had SO MANY PICTURES that I felt overwhelmed with how to organize them. My initial thought was to have the photos flow up the stairs, like a rainbow. See this blog for an example of what I’m referring to. But when I began to look closely at my photos, I realized that I would not have enough of each color to pull off the rainbow idea. So I started brainstorming and decided that I would divide the photos into seasons. I grouped all the spring/summer/fall/winter photos together and I also made a pile of miscellaneous items/photos that were not specific to any season. (This way I would have some flexibility to fill in spaces that seemed sparse.) Once I decided to move forward with seasons, I realized that I had more or less grouped similar colors together because each season tends to have it’s own unique colors.  
  4. Create a template
    • Choose a starting point. I decided to start with my spring photos so I grabbed about 10 photos and started tracing. I used the butcher paper to trace and then cut out a few 4×6, 5×7, and 8×10 frames. I also traced and cut a template for any frame or image that was an irregular size/shape.
    • Lay the cutouts on the floor so that you can start to get an idea of how different sizes and shapes look when they are next to each other. Rearrange as necessary.
    • Lay the actual photos on top of the cutouts so that you can see how the photos will look when displayed. You will be able to quickly see that you need to rearrange again. It might be because you have too many similar photos, or maybe you need to mix in some black and white photos, or maybe you realize that you have too many pictures of the same person and you need to break that up a bit.
    • Keep rearranging until you have a look that feels “right”. There are no rules for this, it’s a gut feeling and a personal preference!
  5. Clean the frames!
    • Now that you’ve been tracing and rearranging frames, you will notice that they need a good cleaning. I took all the frames apart and cleaned both sides of the glass (Can you tell that I am an Enneagram One?) Most of the time a quick wipe with a damp cloth will be enough to clean the frame.
    • Wait for the glass to dry and then put the photographs back into the frames.
  6. Start hanging
    • Grab your supplies: your templates, painters tape, command strips, a pencil, a level (if you have one), and a pair of scissors. Congrats, you’re ready to start hanging your pictures!
Gallery Wall Template
Gallery Wall Template

Notice that the title of this post is 6 Steps to CREATING a Gallery Wall. Hanging the photos on the wall deserves it’s own post, so stay tuned, I’m working it!

I’d love to see pics of your gallery wall and I’m sure you have tips that I didn’t even think of, so shout them out and link your pics in the comments!

Young Living International Grand Convention

Headed to the Young Living International Grand Convention in Salt Lake City from July 17-20?

I’ve got some tips for you!

MEALTIMES
You’ll find that trying to grab a meal along with 30,000 other convention-goers means crowded restaurants and long lines. Stock up on healthy snacks (Whole Foods) and foods that you can eat-on-the-go for the times when you can’t find a place to eat. If you’re staying at an Airbnb, consider eating your meals there instead of trying to dine at a restaurant.

PRO TIP: When you’re downtown, consider walking over to Nordstrom to dine at the Café. It will take you a few minutes to walk there but it’s considerably less crowded than restaurants closer to the convention center AND the food is good. Win-win.

NEW PRODUCTS
Young Living releases new products each year at convention and you’ll have the opportunity to buy them while you’re there! Typically, you need to wait in line and order from a kiosk (that may or may not change this year) and you can choose to pick-up your products at convention or have them shipped to your home for free.

If you REALLY want to get your hands on the new products, be prepared to wait in a LONG line, and be prepared to bring an extra suitcase so that you can transport your products home. For me, having the products shipped to my house for free was a no-brainer because I didn’t want to wait in line to pick-up my products, nor did I want to pay to check a second bag when flying home.

FARM DAY
You’ll want to visit the farm because it’s amazing, but you’ll want to get there as early as possible to avoid the heat and the crowds. (Young Living provides bus transportation so line up as early as possible to be on one of the first busses.) Once you’re at the farm, be sure to check out the tent where you can buy food and drinks (the lavender lemonade slushy was DELICIOUS!!) and then head over and grab lunch earlier rather than later. Lunch is included with your farm ticket and it does not disappoint! The food tastes homemade and almost all the food items include essential oils in the recipe so you’re in for a treat!

PRO TIP: It gets REALLY HOT at the farm. Consider wearing a wide brim hat to provide some shade, and when you happen upon a shady spot at the farm, take a few minutes to relax and enjoy it before moving on to see the rest of the farm.

TAKE A BREAK
The crowds + the hectic pace of convention can frazzle even seasoned travelers. If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed, take a break! Walk over to Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City and walk around the grounds of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It’s a nice break from the frenzy of convention and there are usually multiple weddings being celebrated on the grounds and you’ll find yourself smiling right along with the bride and groom because their joy is contagious.

Or, consider taking a trip to Park City. (If you have a rental car, this is a quick 45 minute drive.) It’s scenic, somewhat touristy, and best of all, it’s about 20 degrees cooler in the mountains than it is in Salt Lake City.

I won’t be at convention this year, but I can’t wait to hear about everyone else’s convention adventures!

Summer Citrus

Summer Citrus oils: grapefruit, lemon, lime & orange.

A friend contacted me to ask if there was a way to get started with essential oils without buying a starter kit? She said that the number of oils in the starter kit seemed overwhelming and she wanted to know if she could get started with fewer oils, and if so, which ones?

After thinking this over, I decided it would be fun to offer a Summer Citrus set of oils for the month of July. You buy the oils through me, and along with the oils you will also get my Summer Citrus Wellness Guide that contains information on the oils and how to use them, as well as recipes for incorporating the oils into your home and life.

Option #1
$35 + $6.99 shipping
4 oils: grapefruit, lemon, lime & orange
Summer Citrus Wellness Guide
Access to a private Facebook group on essential oils

Option #2
$120 + $6.99 shipping
4 oils: grapefruit, lemon, lime & orange
PLUS a Desert Mist diffuser
Summer Citrus Wellness Guide
Access to a private Facebook group on essential oils

Option #3
$150 + $6.99 shipping
4 oils: grapefruit, lemon, lime & orange
PLUS a Desert Mist diffuser
PLUS a 30 minute FaceTime call with me to walk you through how to use the oils
Summer Citrus Wellness Guide
Access to a private Facebook group on essential oilsWant in?! Email me at rachel.langan@verizon.net to grab your Summer Citrus oils!

How to Keep Your Sink White

Using natural cleaning products to keep your white sink looking white.

We had a farmhouse sink at our last house and I LOVED it for a variety of reasons: I could bathe multiple toddlers at once, it was big enough to bathe the dog when needed, and most of all, I loved it because I could fit a whole bunch of dirty dishes in the sink for those times when the dishwasher was already full and/or running. This allowed me to keep the countertops uncluttered, and created a holding station for the dirty dishes until I could get them into the dishwasher.

When we moved to this house and decided to take on a kitchen renovation, I knew I wanted a farmhouse sink, and since our kitchen was going to be white, it made sense to get a white sink.

What I wasn’t thinking: white sinks stain and almost always look dirty. However, I’ve found a couple ways to keep my sink looking white:
1. Clean the sink every day. I cannot emphasize this enough. The sink needs a thorough cleaning (using a whitening product) each and every day.
2. Rinse the sink immediately after use. This is especially important when you’re working with food or drink items that are prone to staining: coffee, tea, red wine, tomato sauces. A quick rinse of the sink prevents stains from getting a stronghold on your sink.
3. Use a whitening product. I make my own sink-whitening product. It’s plant-based, 100% natural, and works amazingly well!

Natural Sink Whitening Scrub
1 c baking soda
1 capful Thieves Household Cleaner
15 drops essential oil (I use orange, lemon or citrus fresh, or a combination of all 3!)

Mix ingredients together using a whisk until a powdery paste forms. Add more Thieves Household Cleaner if mixture is too dry. Add more baking soda if mixture is too wet. Store in a glass jar. Scoop out a tablespoon or two at a time and use the rough side of a sponge to rub mixture into sink. Rinse.

Do you have any tips for keeping your sink white? If so, share them in the comments!

PS: If you need to get yourself some Thieves Household Cleaner and/or some essential oils, send me an email and I’ll get you hooked up!

Don’t Give Up

When we moved in 4 years ago, this hillside was filled with scrubby ground cover that was ugly and plagued with weeds. 

All the growth that we ripped out.
(I forgot to take a BEFORE picture of the hillside.)

Mark and I worked together to rip out all the old growth so that we could start fresh. I had a vision of how I wanted this hillside to look. I’ve spent hours planting, weeding, and tending to this space. And now, 4 years later, that vision is a reality. 

Starting with a clean slate.

How many times do we approach something in life and get discouraged when things don’t do as planned? What if we started something new (job, exercise, relationship, etc.) and decided to work diligently for an extended period of time and THEN decide whether or not our efforts were worthwhile?

Sometimes we need to pursue something long term before we can see the fruits of our labor.

Whatever it is you’re thinking about starting or changing, go for it! But don’t give up after a day, a week, a month, or even a year. Stick with it and you might be amazed at your progress!

Top 3 Essential Oils for Hormonal Balance

If you’re a woman, you should be using essential oils to help support your hormones. If you’re a woman with PCOS then you REALLY need to get on the oils train because your hormones need all the help they can get!

1. Progessence Plus. A drop each morning and night on your inner ankles (because your ankles are  a touch point that corresponds to your ovaries) or rubbed over your abdomen (uterus). 

2. Endoflex. Put a roller ball on top of this oil and roll it over your thyroid each night. Your thyroid is the engine of your body. If a car’s engine isn’t functioning, the whole car will stop working. It’s the same with your thyroid! Your thyroid regulates hormone production so if your thyroid is malfunctioning, your whole body will be off balance. So if you are experiencing hormonal issues, it’s likely that your thyroid needs some additional support. 

3. Dragon Time. This oil could also be named Shark Week. Use a drop or two each day (inner ankles or over abdomen) throughout the month and you’ll be surprised at how balanced you feel during the week leading up to your period. And you might just find that your period is one of ease, rather than something that disrupts your days. 

There are lots of other ways that I support my hormones but these 3 oils are how I first got started in supporting my body naturally, rather than relying on prescription meds to do it for me. And honestly, those meds were more of a band-aid fix, masking the problem rather than actually balancing my hormones. 

What are your top 3 ways for handling hormonal imbalances?

Kids & Summer Chores

Chore Wheel for delegating summer chores.

I remember being a kid and loving the feeling of freedom when school ended for the summer. 
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Now that I’m an adult, I still love the freedom that comes with summer, but I also feel a little bit like I’m a prison warden in charge of a bunch of hungry inmates.
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My kids have daily household chores during the summer months and each year that looks a little bit different, depending on the age of the kid, and depending on which kids are working outside of the home. 
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We had a family meeting a couple nights ago to discuss the Chore Wheel and how it works. The conversation did not go well. I ended up threatening consequences for non-compliance: everything from literally cutting the cable cord, to removing all TVs from the house, and I even threatened to take a sledgehammer to their cell phones. (We don’t even own a sledgehammer.)

We implemented the Chore Wheel yesterday, our first official day of summer vacation.

It was not smooth sailing. I ended up locking up the TV remotes and cell phones and there was a lot of discussion regarding various chores and how I expect the chores to be accomplished. I ended up doing a lot of the work because I wanted to demonstrate how to properly load the washing machine and fold the towels, as well as how to REALLY clean the bathroom. It will probably take a couple weeks for everyone to settle into the new system but hopefully we will all get used to the new way of doing things around here. 
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Over the years I have come to realize that no matter which chore system I choose, the hardest part is setting expectations, forcing compliance, and following through with consequences when kids fail to do their part. 
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In the meantime, you can find me at Home Depot, shopping for a sledgehammer.

4 Tips for Going Gray

4 Tips for Growing Out Your Gray Hair

Making the decision to “go gray” was a controversial one—not for me, but for people in my life.  Quite a few people (my kids, my college roommate) tried to talk me out of it, telling me I would look old, people would think I’m older than I already am, etc. But I was the one who had to live with the frequent dye jobs, the roots, the time, the expense, the toxic chemical load, and I was ready to go gray.

I started coloring my hair when I was in college, just for fun, and continued coloring throughout my twenties. But then the Baby Years arrived, and I was on autopilot: sleep deprived, overwhelmed, with no time to think about my hair. So when my roots would start to show, off to the salon I would go. I kept this up for another decade.

Then one day I realized that I was starting to schedule life events around my need to color my hair. Vacation? Gotta choose a week where fresh color won’t be tinted by the sun, but also choose a week where my roots are not yet showing, and also need to choose a week where I’m not scheduled for color. See where I’m going with this? My life was being dictated by my hair!

After thinking about it for over a year, I decided to take the plunge and go gray in 2012 at the age of 42. I talked with my stylist who told me that I wouldn’t be able to do it; she said lots of women try it but hardly any succeed.

Challenge accepted!

I had a hard time finding resources to prepare me for the journey. (Remember, this was 2012.)I found a book about one woman’s experience going gray and I read it from cover to cover. I made a list of every woman I knew (or had known) who had gray hair . . .  it ended up being a VERY short list! Even though I googled endlessly, I found very few personal accounts of those who had gone gray. So then I started looking for gray-haired women when I would be out and about, and sometimes I even worked up the courage to ask about their journey to going gray. 

Gray hair, don’t care!

I was determined to do this and to see the process through to the end. I made appointments at two local, high-end salons that are known for their work with hair color. Each salon had a “specialist” in gray hair, so I visited with each in an effort to formulate a plan for blending my gray roots. (I discovered that this is not as easy as you would think, but I cover this in #3 below.)

Next, I bought baseball caps, hats, and hairbands in preparation for growing out my gray. I was putting so much energy into being prepared that I was actually unprepared for how powerless I would feel while the gray was growing. There was nothing I could do, I just had to be patient and wait for growth.

It took me a total of 21 months to fully grow out my hair to gray. I am SO GLAD I persevered because I have gained WEEKS of my life back, and saved thousands of dollars in the six years since I stopped coloring. (I was spending 2-3 hours every 3 weeks coloring my hair. Add in the cost of coloring, plus tip, and you can see how going gray has saved me time and money.)

Here are 4 tips that helped me to go gray and maybe they will help you too.

  1.  Be 100% committed.  People will certainly have opinions (both positive and negative) about your journey. DO NOT BE SWAYED by those who try to talk you out of your decision. You need to make the decision that is best for YOU.
  2. Be prepared. The first 2 months are the hardest.  Looking in the mirror when you’re growing out your gray can be tough because your eyes will look towards your very unsightly roots every time you look in the mirror.  Your impulse will be to call and make an appointment to color your hair. PUT DOWN THE PHONE AND STAY STRONG. After a couple months you will start to look expectantly in the mirror, eager to see new growth, curious about the shade of your undyed hair, and you’ll stop cringing every time you see your roots showing.
  3. Have a plan. Choose to cut your hair short. Or don’t cut it at all. Some people cut their hair short, cutting off all the color, and start from scratch, allowing their gray hair to grow in.  This was not something I wanted to do. I have never found a short haircut that worked for me, so I was reluctant to start over with a new haircut AND gray hair. It seemed like too much change all at once.  In the meantime, I invested in a few wide headbands that I could wear to cover the “line” where my gray hair met my colored hair. About 10 weeks into the growing-out process, I made an appointment at a local salon to have some highlights and lowlights cut into my roots to help blur the line between my dyed hair and my roots. THIS WAS PURE MAGIC. It made all the difference in the world between walking around looking like a skunk vs gracefully growing gray. (Note: it did take longer to grow out my color due to this highlight/lowlight process, but I felt that it was worth it.)
  4. Use the “growing out” process as a time to reassess your skin tone, makeup, and wardrobe. Once my gray hair had grown enough that it framed my face, I noticed that a lot of my clothes made me look washed out and it seemed as though my make-up no longer looked as good as it once had.  I had always colored my hair a reddish/auburn and chose my makeup and clothing accordingly. But suddenly I was finding that I looked better in vibrant blues and maroons and discovered that these colors brought out the green in my eyes. I started experimenting with cool, rather than warm makeup and was shocked to discover that I have cool tones to my skin! I had always considered myself to have warm undertones, but it turns out that my dyed hair was tricking me into thinking I had warm skin. Take the growing out process as a time to get to know yourself, your skin, your hair, your clothes, your preferences.  It’s a long process, you might as well dive in and make the most of it. 

What questions do you have about going gray? What tips did I miss that you would add based on your journey? Let me know in the comments!

Anthropologie Inspired Diffuser Blend

Young Living Lantern Diffuser

Who wouldn’t want their house to smell like Anthropologie?!

Anthropologie Inspired Diffuser Blend
5 drops Grapefruit4 drops Orange
3 drops Northern Lights Black Spruce
2 drops Geranium

Grab your starter kit today or tomorrow and I’ll give you your own bottle of the Anthropologie Inspired Blend!  Diffusing makes your house smell amazing—but without any of the toxins that come with burning candles. 

BONUS: You will also get a FREE bottle of Thieves cleaner + a free glass spray bottle when you buy your starter kit by May 31st! (See my stories for more info.)

Who’s ready to jump in and grab a starter kit?!

Free to you when you buy a Premium Starter Kit by May 31, 2019!
Contents in the Young Living Starter Kit
Young Living Diffuser Options

Curly Girl Method

Curly Hair Don’t Care

Can a hashtag change your life?  Maybe. Back in August 2018 I came across the hashtag #curlygirlmethod and it opened my eyes to a whole new way of viewing myself and my hair. 

I honestly didn’t know that my hair was curly UNTIL I started reading about the Curly Girl method! I read an article that asked:

-Do you live in fear of humidity, sweating, or any weather or activity?
-Do you have your hair professionally blow-dried and then don’t wash it for a week (and use power or dry shampoo that dulls the hair?)
-Does your hair develop unwanted volume in humid, hot, or wet weather?
-Are you almost always unhappy with the way your hair looks?
-Do you worry about your hair before any big occasion, like a wedding?
-Do you almost always have a halo of frizz around your head?

I answered YES to each question and that is when I realized THAT I HAVE CURLY HAIR.

After some research, I realized that I have always had curly hair, I just never knew how to take care of it. I spent decades brushing, curling, and flat ironing, which distorted my curls and contributed to frizz. I was washing and conditioning too often and with the wrong products, and I was getting my hair cut when it was wet (curly hair should be cut only when it’s dry.) Suddenly I understood why I have never liked my hair. 

So I set out on a mission to get to know my hair.  I committed to:

-no brushing or combing
-no direct heat (diffusing is ok but direct blow drying, flat/curling irons are a no-no)
-washing my hair once a week
-using only “Curly Girl approved” products (no SLS, no silicone, no sulfates, etc.)
-learning how to wash, condition and dry my hair according to the Curly Girl Method by using a microfiber cloth to squeeze excess water from my hair)
-getting dry haircuts from someone who is trained to cut curly hair

There has been quite a bit of trial and error involved in this process because no two curly girls are alike (heck, there are no two curls on my head that are alike!) While I can read and watch videos about what works for someone else, that same process/product may not work for me or you.

9 months later and I am finally to a place where I like my hair enough to wear it down, instead of wearing it in a ponytail 24/7. After decades of struggling to beat my hair into submission, my hair does what it wants and I’m learning to be ok with that.

FREE Guide to Getting Started with Essential Oils

I’ve been using essential oils for 5 years and since then I’ve been passionately sharing my love of oils with others. But sometimes people aren’t sure what oils are or how to use them . . . Or maybe they have purchased a starter kit but they feel overwhelmed and aren’t sure where to start . . .

That’s why I created a FREE Guide to Getting Started with Essential Oils. You’ll get an overview of each oil and it’s uses, as well as diffuser recipes, and ideas for “kicking it up a notch” if you’re looking for ideas beyond the starter kit.

AND if you’re a part of my downline (if you don’t know what I’m talking about then you’re not part of it so you can skip this paragraph!) and you’d like your own copy of Getting Started with Essential Oils, let me know and I’ll customize it with your name and member number so that you can send it out to people who are interested in learning about essential oils.

Happy oiling!