Life is a journey. Typically, I find comfort in planning ahead and packing wisely for trips. But for some ventures, it's essential to allow a certain amount of free spirit and trust in what you already know to achieve the outcome you dream of. This is my essential journey.
When it comes to daily life, I like a good balance of both organization and flying by the seat of my pants. As a mom of three kids, it's essential to adapt to situations. Last winter presented us with health situations that forced us to adapt. We were nailed with a combination of the kindergarten-petri-dish of spectacular viruses, nasty flu shot reactions, and then we contracted a flu-like virus. It was passed around between 4 out of 5 members of our immediate family. From November until March. It was a rough winter.
We like to think we are healthy parents and try to raise our kids to make healthy choices. We lead by example with healthy eating, exercise, mindfulness and by taking a daily vitamin. We prefer a home cooked meal, rarely eat out and tend to limit things filled with excessive sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and processed food items. We eat organically, mostly. We grow our own food, raise backyard chickens and LOVE TO BE OUTSIDE in nature. Therefore, it was unusual that we couldn’t overcome the plague that hit our house last winter. At one point we relied on our 6-year-old daughter to fetch necessary items from the kitchen, take the dogs out, feed the chickens, and manage the basic household so the rest of us could lie quietly around the house miserable in our own stupor of sicknesses. We thought we'd kicked it or finally had someone healthy enough to return to school or work and it would rear its ugly head and another person would come down with a sore throat, body aches or some weird symptom. We were at the pediatrician numerous times. We had throat swabs, x-rays, blood tests and various labs and it usually came down to a virus that was not going to be affected by antibiotics so we were sent home. Having paid yet another co-pay, and with no more advice than take in fluids and make the afflicted person more comfortable with Tylenol or ibuprofen, we were frustrated. Enough was enough. I had to find what else we could do to get healthy.
Mommy sleuth took over. Health books, internet research, and polling friends and family about their regiments that helped them stay healthy was on the docket. It was a rough winter for many families but we HAD TO add something and change our game. Numerous friends had posted, offered ideas, or even gave me advice on what essential oils (EO) to consider. I knew I wanted something natural and from the earth to help us heal and stay healthy.
Clearly, antibiotics (yes, only for bacterial infections), prescribed OTC meds, and the typical vitamin routine weren't cutting it. I had received a set of big-box-store oils as a Christmas gift that was nice to diffuse but to apply topically, I wanted to know what was in my oils and that it would be safe for us and the kiddos. After a significant amount of company research, detailed digging and educating myself on the history and information about EO's, I was on board to try topical application and complete home diffusing.
I decided and invested in an over-priced starter set from a large, well-known MLM company. They were recommended by a friend and distributor and I was willing to try so I bought myself a $160 set with a pretty diffuser and began the mommy-guinea-pig-testing. I knew that with an older son with asthma and two younger kiddos with asthma and allergies that I did not want to aggressively and inappropriately apply or diffuse anything that would cause a reaction or an adverse reaction. I started small and simple. Lavender was easy. It offered a great olfactory calming to our household and I was comfortable diffusing it for all of us. I began exploring lemon in my kitchen diffuser (because at this point I began the diffuser hoarding-game that requires a diffuser in multiple rooms of the home!). The day I had a massive headache I tried peppermint on my favorite EO bracelet from Bella Leaf Boutique. I began blending. I was intrigued by the soothing effects and the identifiable response my body had to some oils. I educated myself on thieves, saw the historical insight to its uses and ordered my first glass roller-ball bottles. After an obscene amount of time spent on research, I used various tools to create my first roller of oils I felt connected to. I used what I knew and created. I LOVE TO CREATE THINGS so this was easy. I adjusted the recipe for greater lemon in my allergy blend. I tested thieves with lavender and eventually found MY BLEND that takes me to a place of focus, calm and healing. Only then, and with the thumbs up of our awesome pediatrician and asthma/allergy specialist from Children's Hospital of Wisconsin and a lot of educational prompts for my partner did I explore the use of applying EO's on our kiddos.
Usually, 72 hours is ideal to watch for any reaction (as simple as a dislike of the smell of the oil to actual skin irritation)…but like most things, I like a plan of action and we tested basic oils for 7 days on each kid. We determine what they liked: oldest son dislikes lavender but loves thieves and frankincense as calming support, youngest son likes peppermint, daughter likes lemon. Rollerballs were found in every room, blends got created on a whim when kids asked for something new or when situations arose: dentist appointments that left a sore jaw, bee stings that needed soothing or when cranky kids needed love. We found what EO's became soothing healers and we felt better about what we were using on our bodies.
Until this past week, we hadn't been sick since May. You better believe our thieves blend is flowing on every surface, the diffusers are churning and beaded essential oil bracelets are being worn. We are using lavender for stuffy and sore ears and a cold/cough blend because, of course, Mom has gotten it the worst. I've ditched crappy store bought soaps filled with chemicals we couldn't pronounce (even though the kids already used organic and mostly safe soaps due to allergies and eczema). We dove in further and make our own hand soaps, wallflower room refill blends and various cleaning products. I began to talk to friends and family about their ailments and situations. Random airplane seat-mates struck up conversations about EOs and my lava stone bracelets. I made a blend to offer support to my bestie as she prepared for the birth of her first baby, sleep support blends for my parents, and even convinced my mother in law to get her own diffuser. Yet, I wanted more! I LOVED IT.
Early this spring I began exploring with my boss, Jen, who had her own oily journey and is a successful, local, small business owner of Bella Leaf Boutique. We began discussing a partnership. We had our favorite lava stone bracelet creations and an already thriving customer base. We wear our own designs around our wrists, necks & ankles because we love our minimal jewelry line and adore creating wearable art. But we had a component of this journey we had to trust in. We had been brought together to create distinctive aromatherapy jewelry, signature oil blends, and a positive journey with every customer we encounter. We had a vision for our oily future. A bridging of handcrafting and purpose to create healthier options for customers.
We have now decided to incorporate essential oils to our business. We wan to do it better than box-store packs and synthetically blended essential oil companies but also don't want to break the bank of sensible customers, budget-friendly buyers, or moms like us. Identifying quality essential oils is our priority. Essential oils need to be accessible, feasible and supportive to all that want to use them. So our BELLA LEAF ESSENTIALS journey has begun. We are trusting what we know, expanding our horizons, planning for A BIG WEEKEND announcement, packing our amber bottles, and are headed out on this oily journey. Want to come along for the ride?