Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Life Lately + Christmas Prep

Hi! Just popping in to catch up and say hello. We've been having so much fun decorating and prepping for Christmas this year- Will is really 'getting' the whole concept, from the Nativity story to Santa to his daily advent calendar chocolate to decorations to his grandparents coming to visit at Christmas- the whole shebang, and it's cliche but true that it really IS magical to experience holidays though the eyes of your child (and Disney, too;)

He met Santa (didn't hate it, tolerated it, but was kind of ehhhhh the whole time, which you can totally see on his face in the picture haha) and told him he wants presents, red and blue specifically. (We'd better make sure to have red and blue wrapping paper lol). We got him a handful of items:

  These next two presents are for me and John. Being a grown up means buying household goods for yourself for birthdays and holidays, right??! I'm excited to finally get an Instant Pot after having our air fryer for a year (which we love and use quite a bit); let me know some of your favorite recipes and tips and tricks if you have one! (Can I be honest that one of the features I'm looking forward to the most is the ability to toss in FROZEN chicken breasts and have them cook within a half an hour?? Whaaaaa?? It's that stinking thawing time that always thwarts me when I don't plan ahead for dinners. Can't wait!) Also this stick vacuum has been the bomb especially during pregnancy- lightweight and cordless and effective.

Speaking of Christmas, I've been enjoying a few Trader Joe's holiday goodies this month. I like to add a splash of the Chocolate Peppermint Almond Beverage to my afternoon decaf coffee (I'm turning into my parents haha!), and these waffle cookies are yummy; they're made to sit on top of your cuppa and soften from the heat, making the thin layer of caramel inside nice and creamy. Mmmmm! I've been enjoying these sweet treats in moderation, though, since I have another glucose tolerance test coming up at the end of the year. One of the joys of being considered 'advanced maternal age' at 37 is going the glucose test twice- once early at 20 weeks and another at the usual 27 weeks. I had to do the four hour follow up test after the first screening, which sucked, so I'm crossing my fingers this next one comes back okay.

Besides that, this pregnancy (knock on wood) has been really smooth and going QUICKLY!! This bump be bumpin' more and more each day, and we still don't know what the gender is. We have the results in an envelope in our desk drawer, but I want to wait and be surprised at the birth. It's been a delicious little secret brewing in my belly and I love the mystery. I wanted to wait and be surprised with Will, but John had to know, so we obviously found out. So this round, it's my pick and we are waiting (at least for today)!

I've also been using my doTerra oils this pregnancy, and really loving the natural and effective options for everything from digestive issues to immune support to emotional balance. The whole family battled a cold a few weeks ago, and my arsenal of oils helped us a lot.

Other than that, we've been popping in to the Disney parks and resorts to enjoy the cooler weather and soak up all the holiday decorations before it gets too crazy busy for Christmas and New Year. The train is currently parked permanently at Main Street Station due to track maintenance and Tron construction, and Will LOVED getting an up close look at the engine and tracks. He even got to ring the bell on the train! Will has also been enjoying meeting 'face characters' lately, specifically Elsa from Frozen. He's a tad smitten.

We celebrated Mickey's 90th birthday with a small celebration hosted by our local library. We celebrated MY birthday on Thanksgiving weekend with a group at the Melting Pot. My mom and I also made the short drive to Gator Lilly's, a FABULOUS Lilly Pulitzer-only consignment shop near downtown Orlando. We bumped into on of my Instagram Disney/Lilly friends, Theresa, who was down visiting from Maryland! My friend Krista also gave me the surprise of a lifetime when she invited me to the newly opened Club 33 in Walt Disney World. It's pretty hush-hush as far as social media goes, so I'm limited in the pictures I can share, but trust me when I say it was a crazy awesome experience.

We've been having lots of fun with our wonderful mommy group. For a mom's night out, we rented a party bus and tooled around Celebration checking out the beautifully decorated homes for the Celebration Holiday Home Tour. We also had a cookie exchange where we each brought two dozen cookies to share and took home a mixed bag of treats.

Will went to my mom's during Destination D weekend (D23's fan club bi-annual event held at Disney's Contemporary Resort) so John and I had a couple date nights, including a ride on RetroWDW's Lake and Lagoon boat tour with lots of our friends.

Will and I recently went to my mom's house in Melbourne to spend a few days, the highlight being Santa coming around in his decorated fire truck. It's an event the local Indian Harbour Beach volunteer fire department puts on every year, and it is so sweet.

I'll leave you with some of my favorite oil blends I've been diffusing during the holiday season. I'm sharing a different blend each day over on my oil-centric Instagram page (suit.essentials) if you're interested in following along!

If I don't post on here again before then, have a Merry Christmas and a happy new year! As always, thanks for reading. 

XO, Ashley 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

My Two (Official, Paying) Jobs

Well hello. Long time no see.

I found myself up early today and with a few extra hours on my hands combined with a persistence to FINALLY WRITE SOMETHING on here and, well, here we are.

Today's post may not be what you're *hoping* to see after a few month hiatus, but it's what's on my heart right now. Trust me, I've got a juicy, doozy of a post that's been sitting in my draft folder for a few months, so the intent to share is there, but at the end of the day sitting down to write takes a back seat to everything else. Which leads me to the topic of this post...

In addition to being a full-time stay at home Mom (which, come on, we know encompasses pretty much every job title under the sun and if we actually got paid in $dollars$ for the hours we put in we'd be rich), I'm fortunate enough to have two paying jobs that I can do from home. One is brand-spanking new to me, the other I've been doing for a few years now.

Let's start with the latter.

Wellness Advocate for doTerra essential oils

I know, I know, many of you will see that and roll your eyes and keep scrolling. I get it. We oily ladies (and men) are everywhere nowadays, but with good reason! These things actually work! So before you dismiss it as a pyramid scheme or snake oil or or or, please read on.

Here's the gist in a nutshell: essential oils are oils derived from plants and nature. Humans and animals have been utilizing the medicinal powers of plants since the beginning of time. Suddenly the market is saturated with essential oils, and that's awesome, because they can and have made a difference in so many lives, ours included (I'll get to specifics in a sec).

BUT here's where the scary part comes in. Not all essential oils are the same. Most of what you'll find in Whole Foods or health stores are diluted substitutes for the real thing. You may have a few drops of REAL lavender essential oil in a bottle that is topped off with synthetics, alcohol, fragrances, and more. Kind of like orange juice from concentrate or Aunt Jemima syrup; a dash of the real thing and lots of other crap. And tell me there's not a noticeable difference between fresh squeezed oj and real maple syrup compared to their mock counterparts?

That's how it is with essential oils! They may smell similar, but until you experience pure grade essential oil, you're missing out. Plus, you won't get the therapeutic benefits from fake oils, either. Lavender helps to calm and destress the nervous system AND the skin; you may have tried another brand in vain and don't think essential oils work for you, or that you're allergic to them (often what you're allergic to is the synthetic fragrances and chemicals), etc. These oils do work! There is scientific evidence and studies and research and publishing that backs it. It's *literally* a chemical reaction between your body systems and the compounds in the essential oils. Ok, I'm getting goosebumps just writing that because it's so FREAKING AWESOME!

Speaking of scientific evidence: let's say you've found a brand of essential oils that are pure (or claim to be); how are they tested for purity? Is the company open with their research? Do they have doctors and universities and hospitals using the oils and putting them to the test? Without this crucial element of testing and implementing in a real-world setting, how do you *really* know what you're getting?

Ya'll, doTerra does. We're the ONLY essential oil company that is researched and used in professional medical settings. We're the ONLY essential oil company that uses our Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade testing protocol, where we send our oils out to third-party companies who have no affiliate with or idea that these oils are doTerra, so they don't have a bias in the results. Either an oil passes as pure, or it doesn't. doTerra only markets the ones that pass, which is part of why our selection isn't as vast as others. We don't sell pasta or cookware or makeup because the goal is to focus on the purest, most powerful, most sustainable essential oils. Quality over quantity.
And lastly, speaking of sustainability, doTerra sources our oils from their native growing locations rather than greenhouses and the like because doesn't it just make sense that you'll get a better product from it's natural source? Again, oranges and maple syrup. Florida and Vermont. But what *really* makes that special is that doTerra partners with farmers and people living in these native areas and empowers them to make a living by growing our product. It's what we call Co-Impact Sourcing and ya'll, it is so amazing. I could easily write a lengthy post on all the good it's done, but I'll save that for another day. And this may be a little too hippy dippy crunch for some of ya, but think about this: the vibes or intention put into creating something has a huge impact on finished product. You've heard the phrase 'made with love.' It's because you can taste, smell, feel the energy that goes into a product or job well done. Our oils are lovingly grown and tended to because our growers are grateful for the opportunity to make a living providing the product. Plus we give back so much in our Healing Hands foundation.

(Ok, I've got to give a quick example that I just learned and find so cool. Our Green Mandarin oil comes from the unripe fruit of the mandarin tree, which is harvested for it's red fruit in Brazil. A mandarin tree needs to be thinned heavily while the fruit is still young and unripe; approximately 60-70% of the unripe fruit is removed in this process (the green mandarin!). What used to be left on the ground to decompose and become organic matter is now harvested and cold pressed to create our Green Mandarin essential oil. The income from this allows the farmers to cover the basic costs of farming for that season, which in turn leaves all of the income derived from their normal fresh red mandarin fruit sales to be 'all-profit.' Amazing! Win-win! Good juju and vibes, man.)

Whew, ok, you still with me? Thanks. I've been using doTerra oils since Will was an infant and honestly can't imagine our home without them. It can be daunting to know how to even start, since oils can help with health, cleaning, and more, but that's where I come in. I can help you narrow down your focus and get started on your journey, whether you dabble, go all-in, want to try the business side and make some income, whatever! I'm here for you.

Click here to take a look and get started, or please reach out to me!

For my family, this has been too good an experience not to share. (For the next few days, until October 1 2018, save 20% on select starter kits- the easiest way to get enrolled and started using essential oils!)

Disney Travel Planner with Believe Vacations

Onto the newest of my ventures! I am honored to have been invited to join Believe Vacations to help plan all your Disney travel needs!

Long story short, it's a free service to you- seriously, you'll pay no extra than if you were to sit at your computer or on the phone and book the trip yourself- but instead of Disney pocketing the commission, they kick a bit back to me. There's no trip too big or too small. Need tickets to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party but already have an Annual Pass and aren't planning to stay over in a Resort? I can do that. Want to book a long weekend at an awesome Florida Resident rate and have a staycation? I can do that. Globetrotting to Asia with Adventures by Disney? I can do that. Plus, I inject my love of Disney and sprinkle a little bit of history into my services.

So please, keep me in mind for friends or family or even better YOURSELF! I'd love to help.

Ok, that hour went really quick. Time to start my most important job of the day. Oh wait, nope. He's still sleeping (thank the Maker!!)

Have a wonderful day!