Summer Essentials

Summer is here! Finally! While summer brings warmer weather and longer days, perfect for spending time with family friends outdoors, it also brings with it some unavoidable nuisances. The first that comes to mind are bugs! Warmer weather brings out mosquitos and other creepy crawlers that can ruin an otherwise pleasant experience. There are many products on the market that promise to keep bugs at bay. Unfortunately most of them contain ingredients that’s are harmful to you and our environment. Instead of reaching for those products, concoct a simple, all natural alternative using essential oils.

There are several combinations that work wonders against bugs. Choose the one that best suits you or try them all! Using water as your carrier, add 40 drops of oil from the blends I’ll list below to a glass spray bottle. Shake well and spray body as a healthy, natural method to keep bugs away so you can enjoy these long summer days.

• 20 drops lavender and 20 drops citronella

• 15 drops lavender, 10 drops geranium, & 15 drops cedarwood

• 10 drops lemon, 10 drops eucalyptus, & 20 drops lavender

• 10 drops lavender, 10 drops geranium, 5 drops patchouli, 15 drops spearmint

• 10 drops geranium, 10 drops citronella, 5 drops patchouli, 2 drops eucalyptus, 3 drops lemon, 5 drops lavender, & 5 drops spearmint

• 20 drops citronella, 5 drops lemon, 5 drops eucalyptus, 5 drops patchouli, 5 drops lavender

If you are reading this and the bugs have already gotten you, don’t fret, there an oil blend for that too! To soothe and heal bug bites, use tea tree oil to reduce itching and infection and lemongrass to prevent bacterial growth and to keep bites clean.

Help your pets stay healthy this summer too by concocting an all natural flea and tick repellant. Some essential oils that are effective in keeping fleas and ticks away include lavender, lemon, citronella, sage/clary sage, bergamot, cedarwood, lemon eucalyptus, lemongrass, peppermint, geranium, sweet orange, and rosemary. Make a spray using a combination of any of the above mentioned oils with water in a glass spray bottle. Shake well and spray generously on your pets fur. My favorite is 15 drops of lavender, 15 drops cedarwood, and water! I love that I’m not using toxic chemicals on my dog-better for him and the entire family.

Another struggle many face in summertime is the painful sunburn. It’s true, a fresh summer glow undoubtedly makes you feel better, look more refreshed. But getting it gradually is key. Slow and steady my friends!! Of course there are many out there, my oldest daughter included, that want that deep golden tan RIGHT now! Unfortunately, even though you may typically tan easily, that first exposure to seaside sun can leave your skin scorched if you don’t take the proper precautions. Apply (and reapply) that spf! I love sunscreens that contain simple ingredients such as zinc oxide. My go to, especially for my little ones, is babo botanicals. I love that I know exactly what I’m putting on their sensitive skin and I feel confident that it will keep them protected while out in the sun. If you happen to be one of those who occasionally suffer from sunburn, there are some natural remedies that can speed the healing process and make you feel more comfortable. Lavender essential oil is one of those oils that needs to be on hand at all times! It can do so many things! It’s amazing for the skin, so when you find yourself a little overcooked from the sun, pull out that lavender and let the healing begin!

To make an after sun spray, combine 10 drops lavender, 10 drops peppermint, 1/2 cup witch hazel, and 2 tbsp aloe vera in a 4oz glass spray bottle.

Summer sun, salty sea water drying out your hair? Adding a couple drops of EOs to your shampoo or making a hair treatment spray can help combat dry hair leaving your hair soft and healthy this summer season. Lavender is amazing for hair. Lavender oil is known to sooth dry scalp. Rosemary EO is also quite good at preventing dry scalp and dandruff. Combine olive oil and 5 drops of rosemary to make a hair mask. Massage scalp with mixture and leave-on for 3-5 hours. Wash hair as usual. You’ll find your hair is soft and silky post treatment! Other essential oils that help keep hair healthy include camomile, clary sage, lemongrass and peppermint. In addition to keeping scalp nourished, camomile has lightening properties so if you long for those beachy blonde locks, camomile is for you! Another benefit of peppermint is its ability to prevent lice infestation. If you have kiddos heading off to day camp, make a peppermint hair spray to prevent lice.

With summer officially here, so are beach days, pool parties, cookouts, camp outs and hiking, and boating. Keep yourself and your family happy and healthy this summer the natural way! Happy summer friends!

Naturally, Coco

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The great green spring clean

Spring has finally sprung after a long, cold, snowy winter. With May a day away, I feel like it’s pretty safe to say we are done with snow til next winter. While I have to admit I did enjoy it, i am so ready for warmer weather and all that green that comes with it.

Spring brings trees back to life; their brown and yellow leaves replaced by new green ones and often flowering buds. The birds begin to chirp melodies in the morning as if to beckon you to start your day. I love driving around in the spring time and seeing all of the new life, from the trees and flowers to the baby animals being brought into the world. It’s so magical to witness the transformation from season to season. I often dream about living somewhere else; somewhere warm. But then I think about how much I love this time, the evolution from winter to spring and summer to fall. I know I would miss that.

There is something about spring that makes me want a clean slate, a fresh start. I like to rid myself of things I don’t need and declutter. I have finally realized in recent years that less is definitely more. Along with freeing up space in my home, donating our unwanted items to those in needs teaches a valuable lesson to our children. Once I get my home decluttered, I feel the need to do a thorough spring cleaning. That top to bottom cleanse to set you and your family up for many relaxing months ahead. Cleaning this spring means relaxation this summer!

There are so many different cleansers and products on the market that promise to get your space sparkling. Many of them live up to their promise but at what cost? Many of the cleaning products out there are made with harsh chemicals and materials that put you, your family, and our environment at risk. This spring, make a change. Choose to use products that are eco-friendly and free of added toxins. Choose to clean green!

My go-to for cleaning, you may guess, are essential oils. Many essential oils are known to be antimicrobial and there is research to support this claim. A study I read proved lemongrass essential oil to be effective against a multitude of different bacteria. I’ve been using lemongrass EO ever since as an everyday surface cleanser. Other EOs that are effective against bacteria include lavender, tea tree, peppermint, and thieves. Combine (in a glass spray bottle-found on Amazon) distilled water with 15 drops of essential oil of choice.

Young Living makes it easy by selling thieves cleaner which is combines Thieves, Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Rosemary essential oils. You can get creative and mix whichever antimicrobial fighting EOs that suit you. I love lemongrass and lavender. It makes a highly effective all natural cleaning agent and you get to enjoy it’s amazing scent all at the same time!

Another amazing task that lemongrass can conquer is getting sharpie off of surfaces and out of fabric! I came home from work one night to find white sharpie scribbled all over our chalkboard wall in our kitchen! My three year old had mistaken a sharpie for a chalk marker, in turn, permanent scribble was sprawled all over the chalkboard. I tried lemon essential oil first because I had heard that it was effective against sharpie stains but when that didn’t work, I pulled out the lemongrass. Within minutes of application the sharpie ink began to drip off! It took a few applications but sure enough, the sharpie came off completely!

Tea tree not only has antimicrobial properties, it also is a great anti-fungal. Try combining tea tree oil with a alcohol based carrier to a glass spray bottle to rid surfaces of mold and mildew. This works great in the bathroom on tile, tubs, shower curtains, anything that might be prone to mildew buildup.

Let’s talk floors. Ditch your commercial floor cleansers and concoct an all natural floor cleanser that will do the job just as good if not better and one that will most certainly be less harmful to your floors. For hardwoods, fill a bucket with water and white vinegar and add several drops of lemon essential oil. This combination kills bacteria and is gentle on your floors. Feel free to switch up the EO you use; tea tree is another great choice for floors.

Want sparkling windows to let the spring sunshine flood your home? Use a blend of lemon essential oil and white vinegar to get your windows and mirrors shining bright! You can even add lemon EO to your washing machine (once water fills) to get your whites super bright! I have also replaced chemical filled dryer sheets with natural wool dryer balls enhanced with a few drops of essential oil of choice. Lavender, Citrus, or Geranium are great oils to get your laundry smelling amazing!

The possibilities are really endless. You cannot go wrong. Experiment and pick what works best for you. Take comfort knowing that your cleaning products are not harmful to your family (pets included) and our great planet. Choose cleaning tools that are earth conscious as well. Feel good about those choices and feel good all around! Get cleaning and stay green!

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Winter Skin

It’s that time of year when extreme cold begins to wreck havoc on your skin. This winter has been especially brutal. Exposing ourselves to the elements can take a toll on our skin. Even walking from your house to your car without gloves can begin to dry them out.

December and January in the Philadelphia area have been crazy cold! Colder that any winter I can remember in recent years. So cold that the hose for my washing machine froze and cracked 😬! To make matters worse, it’s been cold but we have not gotten too much snow. I’m the type that is like “if it’s gonna be cold, bring on the snow!”. I’m a beach lover but I have to admit I love the magic of winter. There’s nothing quite like being snowed in with the fam, watching the fresh flakes falling from the sky, hot chocolate in hand (or more likely coffee for me!), getting warm next to a crackling fire, snuggled up with the babes under a cozy blanket! It’s simply the best-pure magic! <
nfortunately along with that often comes something not so magical-extremely dry skin! Luckily I have discovered some ways to significantly reduce the occurrence of dry skin for myself and my kids. Number one tip, moisturize! There are a number of products out there that promise relief of even the driest of skin. They may work but most of them contain harsh chemicals that present other dangers to your family. My go to is lavender and cedarwood! I combine a couple drops of each oil with a couple pumps of fractionated coconut oil (I use Ellie’s Best, found on amazon (Ellie’s best) and massage over entire body. It leaves skin silky smooth and smells amazing too! I even add a couple drops of lavender to bath water to keep skin from drying out from hot water. It also is a great way to get the babes relaxed before bed!

Another negative impact of winter on the skin is, believe it or not, acne. I was so surprised to learn that acne was just as common in winter months as it is in the summer. I figured, hot temperatures mean excessive sweating, hence greater incidence of breakouts. The fact is, the wind and the dry, cold temperatures of the winter months dehydrate the skin causing it to produce extra oils as a result, making it more prone to bacterial growth and breakouts!

Essential oils are a great natural remedy for acne. My teenage daughter kept getting bouts of acne. It was painful and the appearance bothered her. Tea tree to the rescue! We applied tea tree essential oil neat (undiluted) to her face each night. After one treatment the acne improved. Within three days the acne was totally gone! To keep things in check, she applies a blend of lavender, tea tree, and coconut oils on her face daily. So far, so good! No more breakouts!

Since we are on the topic of skin…Penn developed a horrible rash last night. It covered his back, belly, neck, and face. He had been on an antibiotic (5th ear infection😬, remember?!) for three days. Viral rash? That was my first thought considering he had been on this antibiotic before and not developed a rash of any sort. Then I remembered, sometimes it takes 2-3 exposures before developing an allergic reaction. An emergency visit to the drs this morning, we learned it was in fact likely a reaction to the antibiotic. Luckily his ears are good so no need for another antibiotic. Management of his symptoms is all that is necessary at this point. The doctor offered me steroid cream but I turned it down. I wanted to keep it natural if possible. It was oatmeal baths and oils only for this babe! After his oatmeal bath he seemed much more comfortable. (We use Aveno Oatmeal bath and gentle baby soap by Babo Botanicals) After bath, I used a combination of lavender, geranium, and coconut oil to rub down his entire body. Lavender and geranium are known to sooth skin rashes; control itching and help heal. 🤞🏼 With a couple more winter months still to come, remember using essential oils on a regular basis can help prevent skin issues. Don’t wait, go get some NOW! You will thank me! Starter kit
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