Monday, March 9, 2015

You Wash Your Face with What??

Once upon a time, I used harsh, drying chemical-laden face washes every single day, and I thought had I oily skin. These products left my skin feeling "clean" (read - dry) so I thought that they were working, except for the fact that I always had breakouts and oily skin.

Since I've been following a more natural, toxin-free way of life....I threw away all my face washes because I couldn't pronounce a single one of the ingredients and that kinda scared me. I bought several "natural" brands of face wash that seemed to work okay, but not great.

A few months ago, I finally looked into oil cleansing*. One day, I ran out of the face wash I had been using, and I was in a pinch. I've been using coconut oil to remove my eye makeup for awhile (hello - revolutionary), so I thought I'd just give the coconut oil a try on my entire face and see what happened. I know, I was a little behind on the bandwagon, but it sounded totally weird to wash your face with oil and I thought I already had oily skin, so I had kind of dismissed it. Since being into essential oils and learning more about different carrier oils, it made a lot more sense!

Oil and water don't mix, you know? We all know this. Our skin naturally produces oils to protect and nourish itself since it is the largest organ of our body. If you've ever looked at your bottles of lotion or washes, you'll probably notice that 2 of the main ingredients are Water and Alcohol. These, among other weird ingredients and fragrances, actually strip our skin of the natural oils leaving it damaged and very dry, leading to over-production of natural oil to compensate. This is why I thought I had oily skin my whole life.

Oil actually dissolves oil. This is one of the principles I teach in EO classes about carrier oils - oils bind together and combine (hence we dilute essential oils with coconut or olive oil so it will combine and slow down absorption, etc). So when you think about washing your face, you need something that will help to pull away the oil and the dirt and makeup that gets trapped on your face without being harsh or drying. Cleansing with an oil to bind with the oil and impurities on our face makes perfect sense! And since we are using an oil instead of a stripping agent, our skin is left undamaged and moisturized when we're done.

About 3 months later, I am still using coconut oil (with a few drops of Tea Tree oil in a little mason jar) to wash my face every night and I absolutely LOVE it. It moisturizes while it pulls makeup and oil off my skin, leaving it cleansed, but not dry! I don't have any flakey, weird patches on my face during the winter anymore. My skin feels conditioned and supple. And my breakouts are MUCH fewer and far between, and I know that they are tied to poor food choices rather than clogged pores oil build-up under the skin.

I moisturize my face after cleansing with jojoba oil that I have added frankincense, myrrh, lavender, and sandalwood to. 

I also apply a drop of Geranium and Vetiver to any blemishes or potential blemishes. The way those 2 oils work on blemishes BLOWS MY MIND. I have had multiple times that I have applied Geranium & Vetiver to a zit before bed, and woken up the next morning with it gone. The combination sounds (and smells) weird. I know. But seriously, when you find something that can zap zits this effectively, you use it no matter how it smells! Vetiver is also very calming (many people use it for attention issues!), so it's great to apply before bed. Goodnight, world! Goodbye, zits! 

I love the way my skin feels using this new routine instead of using harsh soaps and lotions. 

*The official oil cleansing method calls for castor oil, which apparently has amazing healing properties that are amazing for the body. I am excited to try castor oil whenever my coconut oil runs out!  

If you are interested in essential oils, click here to learn how to get started and receive a free gift! 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Paleo One-Pan Sausage "Skillet" Dinner

I am about to share what might be my best-kept secret.

This is my stand-by meal.
The one I make when I forgot to thaw out meat and don't have a plan for dinner. (which happens a lot...)
The one I ALWAYS keep the ingredients for stocked in the fridge.
This meal and taco salad are probably the only dishes I can say I make "frequently".

The prep for this is seriously so easy - chop, and roast. The chopping is really the only labor intensive part, but the best part is throwing it into the oven and forgetting it for 40 minutes while you go do something else other than fix dinner (hallelujah!).
photo cred: 4kowboys
Paleo One-Pan Sausage Skillet Dinner

1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced 
(or white potatoes, or cubed butternut squash)
2 cups brussel sprouts, washed and cut in half lengthwise
1 large head of broccoli, chopped into florets
3-5 "clean" sausages*

Other ingredients I have added in the past - chopped apples, cauliflower florets, sliced carrots, green beans, zucchini, yellow squash, etc. 

1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Garlic Powder to taste
Black pepper to taste

 *We buy the kielbasa sausages from Costco that don't have any preservatives or weird ingredients in them. There are other brands like Aidells or Gilbert's that have clean ingredients and lots of yummy flavors!

So first you chop all your vegetables into bite-size smallish chunks. This is the most time consuming, but you don't want to try to roast huge chunks so smallish is best. 
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees while you chop. 

Line a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil, and spray or rub with olive oil. 

Side note: I highly recommend getting one of these Olive Oil Misters because they make my life 100x easier in the kitchen. I spray all my pans with olive oil instead of sketchy PAM or cooking spray with weird ingredients in it. If you've never looked at the back of your bottle of cooking spray....go do it right now and then throw it in the trash and get one of those olive oil sprayers. Seriously. Ok back to recipe. 

Arrange all the veggies onto the cookie sheet in a single layer as much as possible. It's ok if there's a little overlap. Sprinkle generously with salt. 

Slice the sausages into 1/2 inch thick slices, then arrange on top of the veggies on your cookie sheet. This will allow the juices from the sausages to cook into the veggies. yum. Spray the entire pan again with the olive oil to coat the veggies and sausage pieces in oil. Sprinkle generously with garlic powder and some black pepper (if you like spice - cayenne!). 

Pop into the oven and leave for at least 30 minutes. Let everything get soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. Keep an eye on it and if it needs to be stirred around half way through, go ahead and do that. Otherwise, let the roasting do its magic. It's ready when the sweet potatoes are soft and the broccoli is a little bit crispy. 

The best part about this whole meal is that you only dirtied the following things: a cutting board, your chopping knife, and the bowls and forks you eat it with. Not even the cookie sheet! Remember the aluminum foil? Toss it in the trash and your cookie sheet is still clean. 

I know. You don't even have a reason to run the dishwasher tonight because you basically still have a clean kitchen. You can hug me later! 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Essential Oils Safety & Usage

This is adapted from an email series that I sent to my entire Young Living organization. We wanted to have a place to permanently store this information so it can be shared with others in the future!

Hello Oily Friends!

Hopefully by now you have had all kinds of fun experimenting and using your essential oils from Young Living! We know it can feel a little overwhelming at first to learn how to use them all. We also know that there are lots of scary-hairy blog posts on the Internets about how dangerous essential oils are that try to make you feel afraid of those colorful little bottles! We want to equip you today to know how to feel SAFE using your essential oils with a few basic precautions*. Read on! 
Click here to read the official Safety Guide from Young Living!

*Please note that this is in no way a comprehensive safety guide, but just a few suggestions and main ideas about how to use your oils safely. Please take seriously your personal responsibility to know and understand all of your personal and health care decisions. We encourage you to do your own research and only practice usage that you feel comfortable with. Please consult your doctor if you have any medical questions regarding oil safety and usage.

One of the most common ways to use essential oils is to apply them topically to the skin.

You will want to apply a carrier oil almost all of the time when you apply essential oils to the skin. Make sure you have a good quality carrier oil like an organic coconut oil or Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Some oils are very gentle and can be applied "Neat" or without any carrier, but others can feel hot to the skin and cause discomfort. 

Also, something called "skin sensitization" can occur when you use an essential oil neat too frequently, but this can usually be avoided by making sure you use a carrier oil. 

A carrier oil is a GREAT thing because it helps your essential oil stretch further! Using a carrier oil can make just 1-2 drops of your peppermint oil spread over your entire abdomen for a tummy ache or your entire back for a sore back! It also helps the essential oil to be metabolized more slowly through your body so it elongates the amount of time that your body will benefit from those powerful essential oil molecules! 

The back of your Young Living bottles will have instructions about how much carrier oil to use per one drop of essential oil under "Topical Application." It is ALWAYS a good idea to read the back of your bottle before applying any essential oil just to make sure you are diluting with enough carrier oil. The back of the bottles also have guidelines for usage as a Dietary Supplement and Aromatic application (diffusing) of your oils.


1. If an essential oil feels hot on your skin, add more carrier oil! The amount of carrier specified on the back of the bottle is a minimum amount, so always add more to cover a larger area or to help bring relief to any oil that feels hot. 

2. NEVER put an essential oil in the eyes. If any oil (or residue from it being on your hands) gets into your eye, immediately apply coconut oil NOT WATER and that will help to dilute and wick away the essential oil. Water and oil do not mix (obviously), so adding water to the eye will just spread around the essential oil and make it worse. Trust me - use the coconut oil (or whatever carrier you have) as quickly as you can and it will feel a million times better! 

3. NEVER put an essential oil into the ears. If for some strange reason an oil gets into your ear, please seek immediate medical attention. Seriously, just don't do it. 

4. We advise to start slow and don't overload your body with too many oils at once. If you have a lot of toxins in your body from processed food, cleaners, and other chemicals in your household products, there might be a detox reaction when you start using essential oils, as they begin to aid your body in it's natural cleansing, detoxing, and healing processes. Oils are very powerful substances, with millions of molecules in each drop, so only 1-2 drops is sufficient for each application. If you do experience a detox reaction, lay off the essential oil for several days to let your body rest. Maybe consider doing a cleanse and helping the body to detox by drinking lots of water, taking epsom salt baths, eating lots of fruits and veggies and no sugar, etc. Reintroduce oils slowly and heavily diluted after a few days of cleansing to see how the body responds. 

5. Be sure to use more carrier oil while pregnant and on children than you would for an adult. A good general idea is to at least double the amount of carrier oil on children. For anyone who is pregnant or has babies or young children, I HIGHLY recommend getting the book Gentle Babies by Debra Raybern. Debra is a midwife who has been using Young Living oils for 20 years and this awesome book is chock-full of safe recommendations for babies and small children under the age of 5, as well as oils to use during pregnancy!

6. Speaking of kids, it is not recommended to use strong oils like Peppermint on children under the age of 5. In rare instances, using Peppermint on small children has caused respiratory distress. It is a good idea to use more gentle oils on little ones like Frankincense, Lemon, Lavender, Chamomile, Myrtle, etc. and leave the Peppermint and stronger-smelling oils for older children and adults. Yet another reason we recommend having a copy of Gentle Babies on hand so you can know what oils can be used safely on small children. 

Gentle Babies is an amazing resource for moms to know how to use their Young Living Essential Oils safely throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and with babies and small children up to 5 years old.

Testimonials combined with professional knowledge from midwives who have used Young Living oils in their practices as well as many natural remedies and ideas to create a healthy home environment for little ones.

Order a copy by clicking here!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Scruff-Tastic Face & Beard Oil

Valentine's Day is this weekend! My hubby and I have never really made too much of Valentine's Day. We usually go out on a date night, but we never really do fancy gifts or anything over the top. 

I was surfing the Internet last week and saw an ad for a moisturizing beard & face oil for men that looked really interesting! Unfortunately, it had a bunch of chemicals and junk in it that we don't want on our skin, but it got me thinking that I could totally make my own version using all natural ingredients and none of the junk! 

I came up with this blend of essential oils and moisturizing oils that I am super excited to give to my hubby this weekend! The smell is absolutely fantastic - kind of bright, earthy, and manly.
 I hope your man loves it!

If you'd like to learn more about how to get these wonderful essential oils from Young Living into your home, read this post or email me at

Monday, February 9, 2015

Paleo Chicken Salad (Whole30 compliant!)

Hello! Last time I was at Costco, I somehow felt the urge to buy a whole bunch of avocados. More than two people could ever really eat before they turn all weird and inedible (you totally know what I mean). 

Avocados are such a yummy source of healthy fat!! I just love them and try to incorporate them into lots of our meals because they really help keep us full. We are an avocado-loving household.

Several days later, I was desperate to use up the avocados and so I made up this little concoction that actually turned out to be amazing. 

Paleo  Chicken Salad

3-4 cooked chicken breasts, diced 
(this can be grilled or just cooked in a pan with some coconut oil and s&p.
1 cup grapes, cut in half
2-3 stalks celery, diced
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
2-3 soft avocados
splash of Lemon Juice
1-2 Tbsp. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a large bowl, add the diced chicken, grapes, celery, and pecans. You could also add extra things like shredded carrots or other veggies diced small. In a food processor, scoop out the flesh of the avocados and blend. Add a dash of lemon juice and then drizzle in the olive oil until the avocado is a a thick, smooth sauce.

Add the sauce to the dry ingredients and stir to combine well. Add salt & pepper to taste. Enjoy!

I loved this so much I ate it straight in a bowl (with some slices of cranberry white cheddar cheese!). We also had some gluten-free crackers on hand that were pretty good vehicles to turn this into a dip. 
I intended to eat this in lettuce cups as a yummy lunch to take to work, but um...we ate it all before I got the chance. It was that good! 

This was a super-quick, nutritious, and filling dish that I can't wait to make again! Hope you enjoy it!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Get Started with Young Living Essential Oils

Are you curious what all this essential oils stuff is about? I'm so glad you asked! Over the last few years, I have grown increasingly passionate about natural health and helping people take the best care of their bodies and their families. Educating and helping others learn about essential oils has become one of my favorite things, because I have seen it completely change so many people's lives!

We started using essential oils in May 2013, and have been tremendously amazed and blessed at the way they have changed our mindset about our health and wellness, and the freedom they have given us to choose a safe, natural, effective alternative to all of the toxic products out there in the world. They really have changed so much about our lives and helped us take charge of our own health, and we are so thankful for oils!

The reason we chose to use only Young Living essential oils is because they have the best reputation and and uncompromising standard for the most pure, highest quality essential oils available. Young Living has been around for over 20 years, and really developed the entire industry of essential oils in America! Founder and CEO Gary Young has made it his life's work to produce essential oils for the whole world that are unrivaled in purity and quality, and this company has really set the bar high!

Young Living has what is called their Seed-To-Seal standard, which drives and controls every aspect of production of their oils. Young Living owns and operates multiple farms all over the world, where they practice beyond-organic farming to ensure that their plants never touch chemicals (they are weeded by hand!!). They distill their own oils at their farms, and then are tested (rigorously!) to make sure they have the highest possible levels of bio-active compounds in each oil - that's what makes them so effective in our bodies! No other company even comes close to having the standards and protocols in place like the Seed-To-Seal standard of Young Living. To learn more about this exclusive Seed-To-Seal process, visit

If you are totally skeptical, you are among friends! Seriously, we all started out thinking these oils were bogus, but after using them for awhile, we've come around! My good friend and former-skeptic Rebecca wrote a series of posts over on her blog about how she came to terms with the fact that these oils really do work and how using Young Living oils actually saved her money. Read her series here!

There are a couple of ways to get started oiling:

1. You are welcome to purchase individual oils at my wholesale discount. I think it's silly for anyone to ever pay full retail prices for their oils. I am happy to pass along my membership discount to you if you would like to try an oil or two before you take the plunge. If you'd like to order oils this way, or if you need help deciding what oils you need, please email me at

2. You can do what I did and become a Young Living Member with the purchase of a Premium Starter Kit. This kit is absolutely incredible value, because you get the following:

  • Everyday Oils Collection - 5ml bottles of Lemon, Lavender, Peppermint, Frankincense, Melaleuca Alternifolia, Thieves, Purification, PanAway, Stress Away, Joy, and a bonus oil -Citrus Fresh!
  • Your option of the Home Diffuser or Aroma Diffuser - both of these diffusers are excellent ways to get the oils into your air to help purify, eliminate odors, and boost your mood!
  • Samples of Young Living's awesome juice supplement NingXia Red, as well as a roller fitment, sample sachets of oils, and information about the company.
  • A 24% off discount ALL retail prices! This is a major perk of a membership to Young Living! They don't think you should have to pay retail prices either, so they offer a 24% wholesale discount on all of their products to any member. This is a huge savings passed on to you!

Here's how a membership works:

1. With the purchase of your starter kit, your membership is good for one year. There are no other fees or dues associated with membership, so your 24% discount doesn't have any strings attached!

2. To remain an active member, you just have to buy $50 in products per year. If you don't ever order again, your account just deactivates with no fees or penalties. If you ever decide you want to reactivate your account, all you have to do is place a $50 order!

3. As a member, you get access to exclusive promotions that Young Living offers every month. Young Living gives away free oils every single month if you meet the minimum purchase requirements. They also have an amazing loyalty program called Essential Rewards that gives you points back if you place a monthly order of at least $50! Each point is the equivalent to $1, and you can use your points like cash to get free oils! These programs are completely optional and not required, but they are amazing ways to get free oils, and once you have used these oils and love them as much as I do, you will want to get some for free!

Click here to become a member of Young Living Essential Oils

As an additional perk, if you enroll as a Young Living member under me, you will join to Oil Well team, which is a great resource of support, education, and fun as you begin your essential oil journey! We have an exclusive members-only Facebook group where you can ask questions, read and post testimonies, and find up-to-date information about Young Living promos and offerings. We also offer facebook classes, conference call classes, and occasional live classes for education and training.
Oil Well is a wonderfully supportive community of friends and oilers who love to help and share! You will fit right in!

I also think there are a few items everyone needs to get started using oils, so as my gift to you for enrolling with the Premium Starter Kit, I will give you a Get Started Guide:

I truly think everyone using Young Living oils needs an Essential Oils Pocket Reference guide. This "little" book has over 500 pages of useful information about every single oil & blend Young Living makes, the properties and uses of each oil, plus an index of issues that you can use to look up what oil to use for whatever you've got going on!

I also include a little Essential Oil Starter Guide that has great tips and tricks about the 11 specific oils that come with the Premium Starter Kit.

I also will include a packet of 25 empty vegetable capsules, so you can begin taking oils internally as soon as you'd like! Many times people have a hard time tracking down the best place to get their capsules, so I will give you some so you can get started right away!

As a bonus, you will also get access to an email series that helps you get started learning and using your oils. There is a lot of information to gather as you begin this journey, but don't feel overwhelmed! We were all newbies at one point! Soon you will be oiling every day and loving your results with the rest of the Oil Well team!

Click here to join the Oil Well team and become a member of Young Living!
You will be so glad you did!

Oily Blessings!

**Please note that the Get Started Kit offer is only valid with a Premium Starter Kit purchase through Hannah Shanks - Young Living Independent Member #1460423. I am not able to give Get Started Guides to enrollees of any other Young Living member. Please contact your enroller or upline for resources for their team. To receive the Get Started Kit, the Premium Starter Kit needs to be purchased in the same calendar month as when you sign up for an account. 

The information contained in this are for educational and entertainment purposes only. The statements herein are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or  any disease. Please talk to your health care provider and do your own research before making any changes to your healthcare. If you are pregnant, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult a doctor before starting any new protocol.

How to Use Young Living's KidScents Oil Collection

Have you heard about the new KidScents Collection from Young Living?

This unique collection of oils was introduced last year at Young Living's 2014 Convention, and it sold out before the convention was even over! It has come back in stock a handful of times since last summer, and every time it gets snatched up crazy fast because everyone loves it so much!

There are 6 oils included in the kit, each of them named appropriately to help take the guesswork out of using the oils on your kiddos! 

GeneYus is a blend of Sacred Frankincense, Idaho Blue Spruce, Palo Santo, Melissa, Cedarwood, Blue Cypress, Galbanum, and Angelica (um, all of those oils are amazing - what a blend!) 
This blend can be applied to the back of the neck or on the wrists and may help a child focus on tasks at hand like homework or reading. 

Bite Buster is a blend of Citronella, Palo Santo, and Idaho Tansy 
This blend can help to support healthy skin and can be applied to bug bites and itchy spots on the skin.

TummyGize is a blend of Fennel, Anise, Peppermint, Spearmint, Ginger, Cardamom, and Tangerine
This blend can help to support digestion and occasional upset tummy or nausea. The KidScents collection comes with 2 roller fitments, and it is recommended to make TummyGize one of the roll-ons so your child can easily and conveniently apply this blend to their belly as needed. Kids love to apply oils to help themselves feel better! 

Owie is a blend of Melaleuca, Helichrysum, Hinoki, Balsam Fir, Elemi, Cistus, and Clove (again - amazing oils in this blend!)
This blend of oils is perfect to apply to skin to sooth cuts, scrapes, bumps, and all those "Owies" that kid get all the time! This blend is also recommended to use with your roller fitment so it can be conveniently applied directly to the affected area anytime you need. 

SniffleEase is a blend of Eucalyptus Blue, Palo Santo, Ravintsara, Lavender, and Dorado Azul
This awesome blend can help uplift the senses and support healthy respiratory function. You can easily apply just 1-2 drops over the nose and on the forehead (don't get too close to the eyes!) to help with the sniffles. This blend is great for children because it does not include Peppermint!* 

SleepyIze is a blend of Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Geranium, Frankincense, Bergamot, and Tangerine
This lovely smelling blend can be applied to the wrists, back of the beck, behind the ears, or on the chest at bed or naptime to promote relaxation of the mind and body. Verdict is still out on whether it helps mommy or child more! 

*Peppermint is cautioned to avoid in children under the age of 5 (because of its very strong scent, it can be too much for some little ones and cause respiratory distress). 

The great thing about this collection is that each oil comes pre-diluted with fractionated coconut oil so you don't have to worry about adding a  carrier oil when you apply these oils to your child! You can, of course, use more carrier if you need to cover a larger area, or if your child has particularly sensitive skin. 

Each blend is specially formulated to the appropriate strength of oils to use on children, and comes conveniently packaged in a little clear bag so you can easily throw into your purse or backpack to have oils on the go! 

Young Living really has helped out moms, dads, and anyone taking care of children with these 6 great oil blends! And, you can rest assured that you are using the best possible quality, safe, effective solution as a natural alternative. 

If you are lucky enough to snag a KidScents Oil Collection while they are still in stock, I hope that this little walk-through of the kit helps you and that you love using these oils on your kids!

If you aren't yet a member of Young Living, you are missing out on the best essential oils in the world! I would love to help you learn more about oils, how to use them, and to have you join my team - Oil Well! We frequently offer educational classes (online, conference call, and live in the KC area), as well as give you a free Get Started Kit when you sign up for Young Living with a Premium Starter Kit. Follow this link to sign up: Click Here

These statements and products have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to treat, diagnose, or prevent disease. Please consult a healthcare professional if you have a medical condition or before changing anything about your healthcare routine.