I can’t believe August is already drawing to a close! Where does time go? Before we know it, the leaves will begin to turn beautiful colors and the temperatures will drop–perhaps this is already happening in some areas of the country.


As I always say around this time of year, take advantage of farmer’s markets! This is when they have a ton of produce (both summer and fall varieties) readily available for great prices. For those into do-it-yourself projects, consider taking up something self-sustaining like canning or drying foods. The initial set-up cost might be higher than you’d like, but it pays off in spades over the years to come.


FYI: many of the recipes below are allergen-free, whether labeled or not, so please read them carefully!



Recovery: The Rest of the Story

Loaded Movement Training

Metabolic Effects of HIIT

Best Biceps Exercises

Tone Up Those Triceps

Dynamic Delts

6 Moves for a Stronger Core

Best Exercises for Great Legs/Pain-free Knees

The 3D Booty: Training the Glutes for Form and Function

6 Moves for Stronger Glutes

Improve Your Balance

Beyond Rolling

Science and the Pilates Method

Pilates-inspired Moves to Sculpt, Strengthen, and Tone

Rethinking, Disrupting, Transforming How We Eat

6 Ways to Use Zucchini (When You Don’t Like the Taste)



Mixed Berry Granola Muffins

Apple Zucchini Muffins

Blueberry Lemon Muffins with Cinnamon Crumble Topping (dairy-free)

Raw Donut Holes

Grilled Halloumi Salad (gluten-free)

Melon Arugula Salad

Lilikoi Cheesecake with Macadamia Nut Crust (gluten-, refined sugar-, and grain-free)

Cardamom Peach Ginger Crumble

Key Lime Cheesecake Bars

No-bake Triple Layer Chocolate Mousse Cake (gluten-free, vegan)

Mini Pound Cakes with Peaches, Blackberries, and Cream (grain-free)

Brown Butter Toffee Milkshake

Essential oils have become hot in the last few years. They’re cropping up in all sorts of ways, with a myriad of uses described in blogs, on websites, etc. Sometimes, the countless suggested uses are enough to have one’s head spinning, and it always seems that each suggestion is a harmless way to use the oils.


However, that’s not always the case. Some oils aren’t good for certain times of life. Take pregnancy. If the wrong oils are used while pregnant, it can cause toxicity during gestation of the baby. Certain constituents within the oils can cause more harm than good. Below are a few examples:


  • Camphor: while in the majority of cases, the babies were born safely, camphor seems to induce labor and toxicity buildup (within the mother, at the very least).
  • Sabinyl acetate: considered very dangerous to use while pregnant, this component crosses the placenta and induces abortion.
  • Salicylates: studies done with rats conclude that when given, these produce dose-dependent congenital abnormalities.


Although most of the studies mentioned in Essential Oil Safety are done on rats, there is some concern backed by evidence that certain oils pose risks–some of which are very serious–to unborn children. Below are two lists of contraindicated oils during pregnancy/lactation and those that should be used in limited quantities while pregnant and lactating.


Essential Oils to Avoid Throughout Pregnancy and Lactation

Anise                                              Hyssop (pinocaphone CT)

Anise (star)                                    Lanyana

Araucaria                                       Lavender (Spanish)

Artemisia vestita                            Mugwort (common, camphor/thujone CT)

Atractylis                                        Mugwort (great)

Birch (sweet)                                  Myrrh

Black seed                                      Myrtle (aniseed)

Buchu (diosphenol CT)                   Oregano

Buchu (pulegone CT)                     Parsley leaf

Calamint (lesser)                            Parsleyseed

Carrot seed                                    Pennyroyal

Cassia                                             Rue

Chaste tree                                    Sage (Dalmatian)

Cinnamon bark                               Sage (Spanish)

Costus                                            Savin

Cypress (blue)                                Tansy

Dill seed (Indian)                             Thuja

Fennel (bitter)                                 Western red ceder

Fennel (sweet)                                Wintergreen

Feverfew                                         Wormwood (all chemotypes)

Benipi                                               Wormwood (sea)

Hibawood                                         Wormwood (white)

Ho leaf (camphor CT)                       Yarrow (green)



Essential Oils to Restrict During Pregnancy and Lactation

Basil (lemon)                                    Myrtle (honey)

Boswellia papyrifera                        Myrtle (lemon)

Champaca (orange) absolute          Nastertium absolute

Lemon balm (Australian)                  Tea tree (lemon-scented)

Lemongrass                                      Thyme (lemon)

May chang                                        Verbena (lemon)



I should like to note, in closing, that essential oils are much more powerful than their whole food/plant counterparts. For example, one drop of peppermint oil is roughly 28 cups of peppermint tea. Therefore, just because an oil like cinnamon is contraindicated while pregnant doesn’t mean that you cannot still enjoy a little bit of cinnamon powder in some applesauce.



Tisserand, Robert and Young, Rodney. Essential Oil Safety, Second Ed. New York, NY, 2014; p. 147-163.

Pinterest-Inspired Workouts

August 14, 2014

Sometimes, when I’m looking for inspiration, I go to Pinterest. There’s a lot of great photos to enjoy there, as well as tips and how-to’s on pretty much anything you want to do. One of my favorite items to research, however, is workouts. Below are a few that I thought were good to help shake up and/or start your routines.










Please click on the picture to see the whole workout.



Sorry about this one being in Spanish (I believe; it might be Portuguese though)!




There are, of course, many, many more workouts out there to choose from. I hope you take some time to find the ones that work best for you. Remember to start slowly, easily, with beginner workouts–even if you’re a regular gym rat–just to stay safe…and if you find that you don’t know an exercise, try YouTube. I seem to find good, solid explanations for pretty much every exercise I’ve never done before from qualified instructors there. Good luck and get fit!

I know that many of us would love to have a crystal ball that actually worked, but we don’t. As a result, life throws us surprises that oftentimes leave us saying, “Hey! Wait! Wasn’t ready for that!”

In my case, I just learned that I’m expecting Bumpkin #2! While I’m thrilled about the news (I want my kids close together and love being a mom), I’m also somewhat dreading the pregnancy. For those who don’t know, my first one was terrible. I vomited the entire time, felt so awful that I ate whatever I could hold down. Needless to say, I pretty much told everyone who asked how I was feeling that pregnancy and I don’t get along. 

Then there’s the fact that I’m just getting somewhere in the development of a personal yoga practice. While the alteration of this won’t be a major downer for me, I had a few goals I’d hoped to accomplish. Nothing big. Just a few poses I’m aiming to perfect.

Funny how so often we start to think, “But that’s not what I wanted to do.”

Perhaps not, but if we stop and reevaluate, perhaps what we want isn’t the best for us at that time. Perhaps what we really need to do is far more important. I’ve been thinking a lot about this since receiving the news. Personal goals are all well and good–in fact, they’re great as they keep us motivated–but so often we find ourselves so driven to succeed that our goals end up driving us rather than being used as stepping stones toward a larger achievement (whatever it is).

So I’ve decided that I’d like not only to survive this pregnancy in a better frame of mind (and body), I’d like to thrive. Here are my steps to thriving:

  • First, I’ve taken a step back from myself, taken a deep breath, and said, “It’s okay. Now is the time for new and better things.” Motherhood is an amazing journey that I’d not trade for all the riches in the world. It is truly one of the greatest blessings we can receive.
  • Second, I’m letting go of the expectations I’d set for myself since my daughter was born. This isn’t easy. I’m a goal-oriented person. But I know that this frees me up to be happier in my current situation.
  • Third, I’m not giving up on the things I’d set out to do. This might sound like I’m still expecting of myself, but in all honesty, I’m not. I’m going with the flow. I’m letting life happen as it comes. Instead of berating myself for not practicing, let’s say, I’m realizing that taking that nap is exactly what I needed. I also know that I’ll eventually achieve the things I’ve started out to do…just perhaps not in the time frame I’d originally thought they’d be done in.
  • Fourth, I’m stripping away the extras in my life, focusing on what’s really important. So often, many things clutter our homes, our thoughts, and our time. Paring down helps shift focus back to the intangible things that matter most to us.

It may not sound like a lot, but then refocusing yourself in order to thrive doesn’t require a whole lifestyle change. It just requires setting priorities. Mine are my family and faith, my writing endeavors, and my teaching…in that order. It may seem like I’m short-changing myself on the potential of a star-shining career, but really, what can we take with us when we leave this world? Nothing, but we can leave behind a memory that is carried into the future with our children and I’m hoping that the one I leave will be full of happiness and love.

Besides, if my daughter is any indication of what’s in store for me these next 18-20 or so years, kids just make me laugh. I like laughing. I hope I laugh a lot!


InTune, doTERRA focus blend

InTune, doTERRA focus blend

This month, take 10% off InTune, doTERRA’s focus blend. Apply onto the temples and back of the neck, and wrists to help improve concentration, focus, and mental clarity.

The Product of the Month for those wellness advocates who achieve a product

OnGuard, doTERRA protective blend

OnGuard, doTERRA protective blend

volume total of 125 or more, is OnGuard, a protective blend that helps support healthy immune function which studies have proved reduce influenza replication up to 90%. 

Remember also that if you choose to order doTERRA products, you can save 20% when you sign up as a preferred member. It’s a one-time fee of $10, but the savings are well worth it. (Wellness advocates buy at wholesale pricing, or 25% discounted price.)