Discovering doTerra and Essential Oils

Recently, I won a jasmine touch roller and rollerball clutch from doTerra. For some of you, that sentence makes very little sense. However, when you enter the world of essential oils you learn a new vocabulary, as well as a new way to improve your life.

Starting with a Love of Scent

I started buying essential oils years ago for the same reason many other people do; they want their home to smell nice. Yet, as I’ve experimented with different oil combinations, I’ve realized that scent is much more powerful than I initially thought.

It really does affect how I feel. Citrus essential oils (e.g. lemon, grapefruit, orange, etc.) tend to put me in a happier mood, as well as increase my level of alertness. Other scents, like lavender, help me to feel calmer and more relaxed. These feelings aren’t unique to me, as these oils are known to have these effects when inhaled.

Relieving Back Pain and Migraines

Now, before I begin discussing how I’ve derived health benefits from essential oils, I need to establish that I do not ingest them. Some people do and find that they feel a lot better as a result. Others argue that this is an unwise practice. I can’t comment either way, so I’m simply going to focus on what I’ve experienced aromatically and topically.

doTerra makes a product called Deep Blue rub. It provides a warming sensation when massaged into the skin. I’ve found it gives me tremendous relief when I’m dealing with my chronic back pain. And yes, I’ve tried remedies my doctor and physiotherapist have recommended. However, they were either ineffective or caused skin irritation. Deep Blue, on the other hand, really works and doesn’t have the usual medicinal smell of conventional creams.

I have migraines several times a month. Sometimes, they go away after a few hours, and other times they can last more than a day. To temporarily deal with the pain, I often apply peppermint and lemongrass oil to my temples and back of the neck. They don’t make a migraine disappear, but they can help me get through a bad hour or so until I’m able to take my medication. And sometimes, getting through that hour is really important.

Learning to Just breathe

My final chronic health problem is sinus- and indoor allergy-related. For this, Breathe, another doTerra product has been very helpful. The product is available in various formulations, including a vapor stick, roll-on, and essential oil blend. The vapor stick is similar to Vicks VapoRub. I find both products equally effective when I’m very congested or have a cold. However, I reach for Breathe because it simply doesn’t smell so medicinal. Diffusing the essential oil blend definitely helped me to sleep better and breathe easier, and I ultimately prefer it to the roll-on.

Finding the Fun in Essential Oils

The biggest surprise for me on my essential oils journey has been how much fun I’ve had experimenting with these products. I love discovering new oil combinations that I can diffuse or make into rollerballs. When you join doTerra, you get access to a very active, supportive online community of people. They share diffuser blend and rollerball recipes and online resources that convey important information. For example, which oils are safe to diffuse around pets, which ones shouldn’t be applied before going out in the sun, etc.

So, I’m excited to try my jasmine touch, and continue learning about essential oils. It’s awesome to discover something new that brings you joy, calm, pain relief, and a sense of fun. For me, that’s truly a unique combo.

Flor de Caña Rum Party Prize

Flor de Caña: The Taste of Summer

I was fortunate enough to win entry for myself and three friends to the Hot Nica Nights Fire and Ice celebration. We arrived at the North Vancouver Shipyards and made our way to the outdoor venue. We could smell the burning tiki torches and hear the music long before we actually arrived at the Flor de Caña rum party.

When we did enter the outdoor venue, the first thing we noticed was the view. The blue sky and the blue inlet merging together, almost making

North Vancouver Inlet view

us forget we hadn’t suddenly taken a plane to a more exotic locale. I think I might have appreciated it even more, had I known that these beautiful summer skies would soon be replaced by a smoky haze.

 My Rum History

In any case, we were here primarily to try some Flor de Caña rum. This rum comes from Nicaragua, and has a 125-year heritage. Now, I’m going to be totally honest here. Prior to this event, I had never heard of this particular brand of rum. I tend to drink Appleton Estate’s Signature Blend and really enjoy it in various cocktails. However, I have tried other kinds of rum, including Bacardi, Captain Morgan, Havana Club, and Lamb’s. Also, I should mention that this was my first experience at a rum tasting too.

We each received two tickets at the door: one for a glass of the 12-year-old Flor de Caña and one for the 18-year-old. We could also have unlimited tastings of the seven-year-old rum, either straight or mixed.

Age Matters

Flor de Caña rum

I began by trying the 12-year-old rum on the rocks. It had a nice spicy, yet mellow flavor. I liked that it wasn’t overpowering and that I could enjoy it on its own.

Next, I went for a cocktail made with the seven-year-old. It also contained simple syrup, lemon juice, and hibiscus tea. Absolutely fabulous! Hands down, one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had, and I do claim some prior imbibing experience in the cocktail department! It had just the right amount of sweetness, which was key, so that I could enjoy the rum itself.

Finally, I tried the 18-year-old. That packed a powerful punch. Too much of a punch for me. At this point in the evening, one of my companions questioned whether we should be drinking rum straight at all. In his words, “What are we, pirates?” A difficult question indeed.

Will I Be Buying Flor de Caña?

Yes, I think so. At least, I’ll alternate between it and my Appleton’s. I’m not sure, given that I do drink rum only in cocktails, that I would spring for the 12-year-old, though. I feel like the seven-year-old definitely did everything I’d like a rum to do.

What I really want is the recipe for that hibiscus tea cocktail. Flor de Caña does have some great concoctions on their site, but my favorite libation is nowhere to be found. If you can track it down, my loyal readers, please leave a comment, send smoke signals, whatever you can to help me solve this truly first world problem.

A Salute to Creativity and the Makie

My Makie Heritage

Makies, aka artists, crafters, and creative types, are amazing people. My mother is a potter and creates everything from bird baths to buttons to dinner sets out of clay. My grandmother painted, and I wake up daily to her artwork on my walls. Sewing, cartooning, and graphic design are what fuel my own creative sensibility. So, I was very happy to win a prize from another makie, Dipsy Doodle Designz.

Art and Upcycling

My prize from this Surrey-based crafting business consisted of a compact, paper weight, magnet, and two prints. In keeping with the hipster trend of the moment, the entire prize is succulent-themed.

succulent cactus

However, what I’d like to focus on is the paper canvas for these prints: old dictionary pages. I’m a big fan of this kind of upcycling. Vintage encyclopedias, dictionaries, trashy novels, and more can all be transformed into something beautiful. Here are some great ideas if you’d like to try your hand at book upcycling.

The Olde Farmhouse Market

Dipsy Doodle Designz was one of the exhibitors at The Olde Farmhouse Market. It was through this market’s Facebook contest that I won this prize. Plenty of upcycling is on display at the market, as well as, new items, and original, intact vintage pieces. However, I especially love finding new uses for previously loved items. For example, I have my vinyl collection in a Valley Canadian Apples box and stash my coupons in a Player’s cigarette tin.

By choosing vintage and upcycled, items I’m rejecting the disposable and over-consuming mindset of today’s culture. Simply put, we have too much stuff. Thus, if we can try to get the most out of what we already, rather than continually producing new things, I think we’ll be moving in the right direction.

My Winning Streak

Well, this is my second prize of the year, so I’m off to a great start!  I’ve also already won a third prize, but I will tell you more about that one once I pick it up and taste it (that’s the teaser for you!).

The Adventures of a Shutterbug

The Dawn of Digital

I’ve always loved taking photos. I took one course in high school and one in college, and enjoyed snapping away. However, I despised developing in claustrophobia-inducing darkrooms. Fortunately, digital has put an end to all that. I’ve also received an injection of new motivation recently. I was fortunate enough to get an iPhone 6 for Christmas. Now, I have an easy-to-carry lens with me wherever I go and no excuse not to take photos.

My Photo Made It To The Finals

Back in August, I went to Cultus Lake Adventure Park and took this photo:

Cultus Lake photo

It’s one of the many rides I went on that day. I even braved the roller coaster for what may have been the first and last time. The amusement park is a photographer’s dream, as there is an array of colours, lights, and the interesting juxtaposition of man-made whirling machines and the serene natural surroundings.

As I mentioned in my last post, my photo made the finals in the Cultus Lake Adventure Park contest. It garnered some very kind votes from friends, family, coworkers, and strangers, but lost out to a photo of a cute child. My niece and/or nephew will have to star in some future photo contest entries!