Health and Wellness

Getting in Shape on a Budget – Jump Rope, Anyone?

I am a person who will never own a gym membership.


I simply can’t justify the cost.  I know there are cool exercise machines that I don’t have at home, and I know that going to a gym helps you really be in the zone while working out…but I just can’t convince myself that it’s worth the cost when I can get a perfectly good workout at home.

There are SO many affordable options out there for getting in shape at home.  Some products require a one-time purchase, and then you’re working out for free.  Other options are completely free.  It doesn’t cost a thing to walk around the neighborhood in shoes you already own!  It doesn’t cost a thing to do push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks, or burpees!

I won’t lie, I do have a few small pieces of equipment that I use and love.  I own a couple of exercise DVDs.  They’ve been well worth the cost.  I own a couple sets of dumbbells and an exercise ball.  I own a jump rope.  I LOVE to jump rope, but my wrists tend to get sore when using them a lot….until I found this one:

The rope rotates inside the handle so smoothly that there is no need for me to turn my wrist to compensate the rope turning. I LOVE that about it. It’s really easy to cut to your own personal size, too. Simply unscrew the “cap” from the handle and cut the actual rope to size. My kids both love it and keep trying to steal it from me, but I guess I’m okay with that. :) It seems like a durable rope, and I am getting a lot of use out of it!  The best part is that you can get it on Amazon for a little over $12!


Still need some ideas?  Here are some of my favorite free or affordable workout options and gear:



*I received the jump rope free in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions are mine alone.  NONE of the links posted are affiliate links; I will receive NO compensation if they are clicked on.  I simply like the products. :)
What are YOUR favorite ways to get exercise?


1 Good Thing to Use “Cheap” Essential Oil For

Y’all know how I love my essential oils and natural living products. :)


essentialoilI’m a big believer in saving money, but I’m also a big believer in getting quality products.  Buying a cheap essential oil isn’t going to be worth the money that buying pharmaceutical-grade is, in some cases.  I try to buy high quality essential oils from trusted resources.  If I’m going to spend money, I want to know it’s going toward something worth the money!!


That being said, I realize that money is tight for many.  The idea of spending $20 – $90 or more on a small bottle of essential oil is intimidating.  I mean, holy cow, do you know how many groceries I can buy for that much money?  It’s actually a lot like the grocery dilemma:  the higher quality, non GMO, organic foods cost more, and it can be hard to justify spending the extra $$$, even when we believe it’s better for us.


When is it okay to use a more affordable essential oil?  I would never recommend doing so when you are using it for health purposes.  If you are ingesting or applying topically, I think it’s worth using the good stuff.  Our bodies are worth it.  I do feel, however, that at times, it’s okay to go for the more affordable option.


For example, I have a big bottle of lemon essential oil.  It’s labeled “Pure”, but not food-grade or pharmaceutical-grade.  It is 4 oz (114 ml), so much bigger than the standard 5-15 ml bottles.  Yet it costs less than the typical $15 (for 15 ml) or so price.  I love it and use it all the time.  Wanna know when?  I use it in my bathroom.  I usually deposit a drop or two in my toilet bowl to keep it fresh.  I do it each day, as well as in between big restroom breaks. :)  It’s cheaper than Poo-Pourri, and works just as well, ha ha.   I also use a bigger tea tree oil bottle and put a few drops or so in my garbages every once in awhile.  It really helps to deodorize.


What are situations that you feel a more affordable EO option is worth it?

The Healthy Mind Cookbook – Review

Eating for brain health?  I’ll drink eat to that!  I was very excited to read this new cookbook from Rebecca Katz.


9781607742975About the Book (from the website):

In The Healthy Mind Cookbook, Rebecca Katz has harnessed the latest research on the brain to identify the foods that can improve the brain’s ability to control cognition, emotion, and physical function—all of which dictate memory and mood. She then translates the very best of brain science into the kitchen, using delicious nutrient-dense foods as a tool for promoting a healthy mind from childhood through the golden years. 

With a culinary pharmacy listing the benefits of key ingredients, complete nutritional details for each dish, and flavor-packed recipes for every meal of the day, including Avocado and Citrus Salad, Sweet Potato Hash, Turkish Lamb Sliders, and Chocolate Cherry Walnut Truffles, The Healthy Mind Cookbook will help lift the fog of everyday life so you can reach your full physical and mental potential.


Oh, my.  The recipes look AMAZING.  The pictures are absolutely beautiful.  There are so many wonderful, delicious meal options, even for me with all of my dietary needs.  I love that the author(s) include an introduction, explaining some of the science behind the book, without taking up too much time and space.  It seems that a lot of health cookbooks are filled halfway with the science and reasoning, and then you’ve only got half a book left for a few recipes.  This book provides information, but not overwhelmingly so, and the focus is on creating good recipes.  I cannot wait to try some myself, especially the tonics and elixirs.  Food-wise, I think the Quinoa Turkey Meatballs and the Meyer Lemon Pudding recipes will be the first that I try.


* I received a complimentary copy of the book from Blogging for Books for the purposes of this review.  NO monetary compensation was received.  The opinions are mine alone.


Sleep Better With NeuroBeats

*I received a complimentary digital download for the purposes of this review.  All opinions are mine alone:



Sleep.  It’s CRITICAL to health.  But it’s so hard to get enough, it seems!  I’ve always made getting 8 hours of sleep a priority, and have made the time, but sometimes most of the time, my body argues.  I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and be up for hours, or I’ll have a hard time falling asleep in the first place.  It makes me crazy, and I know I’m not alone!!


I can feel a HUGE difference when I get a good night’s sleep, and not just mentally.  My digestive system works better when I’m rested.  I swear!  I never realized those two things could be related, but I have experienced less bloating and pain when I am well rested.  I’ve had stomach aches and nausea go away after taking a long nap, more times than I can count.  Sleep is important, and we have got to make it a priority if we are going to find better health!


resize_18ad3bdf6416566cb232fc60e78702fe19e9c61dea4f66fb0ad460d6656db762ad0c1689256256Let me introduce you to a possible option:  NeuroBeats.  It is a  Digital Supplement: Sleep Better.  Seriously, a DIGITAL supplement!  NeroBeats claims that just by listening to their album you will improve your sleep quality.  Sounds great right?
They use technology based on neuroscience studies which you can easily find on their website.  So how does it work?

To start sleeping better, just listen to Sleep Better for 30 minutes before going to bed, with quality stereo headphones. Keep this routine for 2 weeks.


I’ve tried it out for myself, and it’s really interesting.  I listen with the headphones and I don’t actually hear much.  I thought I’d be listening to music, but no…it’s like I’m hearing sound waves or something.  I don’t feel like I’m getting sleepy while listening or anything, but each time that I’ve listened before going to bed, I’ve managed to stay asleep longer.  Whether it’s a coincidence or not, I’m not completely sure yet, but I’m certainly planning to continue trying it out to see if I can feel a big difference as I continue listening on a consistent basis.  I will certainly update as I continue using.  For now, I’m definitely intrigued, and feel it well worth my time to continue.   Here’s to our health!



Total Tea Herbal Energy – Giveaway! 6 comments

*I received a complimentary sample of the product for the purpose of this review.  NO monetary compensation was received, and the opinions are mine alone.


Total Tea Herbal Energy is a unique blend of herbs created to promote energy and reduce mental fatigue. Plus it’s all-natural and packed with antioxidants.

  • 100% Natural Herbal Energy Tea Aid
    Increase Energy, Boost Stamina and Antioxidants
    Guayusa, Green Tea, Cinnamon Bark, Eleuthero Root, Ginsing Root
    No artificial flavors, colors or preservatives
    Gluten Free & Kosher Certified + Weight Control


I love a good herbal tea.  Herbal teas can provide so many health benefits, and I’m all about improving my health naturally, as you know.  I’m not a purist, however, and I have to add sweetener to my teas.  That’s okay, right?  I’m using homegrown stevia or raw honey, depending on what I’m in the mood for.  The taste of this tea is pleasant and calming to me.  The smell is divine!  I like to drink some in the afternoon when I hit my afternoon “slump”, or in the morning with breakfast.  Besides helping me to “up” my water intake, it provides an additional energy boost with the green tea and other ingredients like cinnamon bark and ginseng root.  Here is a little more information about each of the ingredients, in case you are interested:

  • Guayusa – Contains L-theanine, a glutamic acid analog found in green tea that has been shown to reduce physical and mental stress.
  • Green Tea – Increases metabolism. Polyphenol found in green tea works to intensify levels of fat oxidation. Helps regulate glucose levels slowing the rise of blood sugar after eating
  • Cinnamon Bark – Contains antibacterial, antiseptic, antiviral, antispasmodic, and anti-fungal properties.
  • Eleuthero Root – A strong antioxidant. Referred to as adaptogen – and immune system, memory energy stimulant.
  • Ginseng Root – Soothes the nervous system. Decreases blood sugar. Stimulates the endocrine system.


If you like tea, you’d better get excited, because we are giving away a package of this Total Tea to one lucky reader!!  YAY. 😀  Enter below.  Open in the USA only.  Ends June 10…Good luck!!
Total Tea Herbal Energy Giveaway

IM Health – Integrative Diabetes Program

As you may recall, I had a health scare last summer.  I had been sick and fatigued, and things were just getting worse.  I’d gone to my “regular” doctor and was told that there was nothing wrong with me, and that the good news was that I wasn’t pregnant.  I asked for more tests, and was told that they didn’t have time to talk to me….my 5 minutes worth of appointment was up.


It was one of the most frustrating days of my life.  How dare my doctor not listen to me?  How dare she write me off like it was all in my head?  I KNEW there was something going on, and so I found a holistic doctor who, although not covered by insurance (of course) was willing to take the time to talk to me and to dig until we found the problem.


And problems we found…severe adrenal dysfunction, red blood cell degeneration (not enough oxygen in my blood cells), inflammation throughout my body, severe anemia, low vitamin D levels, unusually high calcium levels, 13 food sensitivities, and pre-diabetes.




That one, I confess, stood out to me.  I hadn’t expected that.  And it scared the living daylights out of me.  I was given a holistic approach (you know, a LIFESTYLE CHANGE) and I worked my butt off sticking with it.


4 months later, I had all my tests done again, and I had made significant improvements.  My iron levels, although still low, had more than doubled.  My vitamin D levels had tripled.  My cholesterol had improved.  I was absorbing nutrients better.  Inflammation had lowered.  All of my numbers improved.  And the pre-diabetes?  I had reversed it.




Guys, I’m a HUGE believer in treating problems, especially pre-diabetes, from the inside out.  I’ve lived it.  It can be done.  I paid over $6,000 out of pocket (and I’m still paying it) in order to turn my life around.  I’d do it again in a heartbeat.  I probably would have looked for a more affordable option, however. :)


Did you know that 35% of people in the US have diabetes or pre-diabetes?  That’s more than 1 in 3!!  A lot of people don’t even know it, just like I didn’t.  That is SCARY.  I’ve lived it, and I’ve beaten it, and I’ve found a program ONLINE that is MUCH more affordable than the route I took, and I feel strongly enough about it that I want to share it with you.



IM Health offers an integrative Diabetes and Pre Diabetes reversal program.  They are online, which means no matter where you are in the world, if you have a phone and internet connection, you can participate.  This program has made remarkable and PROVEN strides in reducing/improving blood sugar levels in patients.


All people who have diabetes and pre-diabetes have access to this program, which includes: ­

  •     Comprehensive holistic diabetes education from some of the best experts in the country.
  •     Delicious and nutritious diet plan including many easy to prepare recipes.
  •     Stress reduction and gentle exercise program designed specifically for people with diabetes & pre-diabetes
  •     A personal certified integrative medicine health coach to guide you through the personal healthcare transformation process.


Screen-Shot-2014-10-27-at-11.48.49-AMBest of all, they offer a FREE consultation with a Life Coach.  FREE!  I actually had a consultation myself, and was able to speak with a coach.  It was some of the most insightful 30 minutes of the year for me!  My coach, Linda, helped me to see the origin of some of a problem I chose to discuss, and then helped me to set goals (specific, action steps) to address the issue.



Like I said, the consultation is completely free.  It’s worth your time to learn more and see if it’s something that you, or a loved one, could use.  Diabetes is no joke!  It’s out of control, and we’ve got to do something to fix it!  They offer payment plans and you can use a health savings or flex spending account.  It’s MUCH less money than the $6,000 program I paid for.  Like 85% less!  I wish I’d known about this program last year.


I’m telling you, this is worth looking into.  You are worth it.  Your health is worth it.  Don’t become a victim to this epidemic.  GO HERE to learn more about the company and their program.  Heck, schedule a consultation while you’re there if you feel so inclined.  And if you do, tell them I sent you.  Let ME know how it goes.  I’d love to hear your success stories – all of them!  I changed my life.  I know anyone else can too.

Sorry for the long post.  I feel SO strongly about this.  I simply couldn’t stop typing!  :)  Let’s get control of our health as a nation….once and for all.

Tea Tree Oil Benefits – Natural Living 17 comments

As you know, I’ve been using more essential oils as part of my quest for more natural living.  I love so many of them.  There is one oil in particular, that I am extra fond of.  It is tea tree oil.  Let me tell you a little about it:


  Tea Tree Oil is one of the most versatile essential oils.  It naturally fights acne, toenail fungus, lice, yeast infections, skin tags, cold sores, dandruff, ringworm, fleas, warts, psoriasis, and more.

You can use it to make your own shampoo, lotion, soap, face cleaner, body wash, and toothpaste.

It is a powerful disinfectant, and can be used to make all natural household cleaners, detergents, shower sprays, bathroom disinfectants, and kitchen sprays.

Every large 4 ounce bottle from Apothecary Extracts comes with a FREE 100 PAGE GUIDE. They provide you with all the ways to use tea tree oil to improve your life, and replace harmful cleaners around the house.
Many essential oils are diluted to cut costs. Apothecary Extracts insists on the absolute best quality. They have the tests to prove their Tea Tree Oil’s purity and potency.


I have used Tea Tree Oil for most of my life.  I never liked the smell, but after years of being exposed to it, the potency of the smell doesn’t bother me as much anymore.  Spiders also seem to hate the smell, and I know a lot of family and friends who use it as a spider deterrent in their homes.

I am ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED of the goodness of this oil.  My mom had gum disease and needed surgery, it was so bad.  She couldn’t afford it, so she began saving up.  At the same time, she started using a toothpaste with Tea Tree Oil in it.  When she went back into the dentist months later, she was told that she no longer needed the surgery because she’d improved so much!


Another time when my son was 1, I was cooking bacon.  He came up behind me as I was grabbing the hot plate full of bacon and bacon grease, and tripped me.  The grease dropped all over his face!  We both screamed and after keeping a cold wet rag on him for 10 minutes, I applied Tea tree Oil to his face.  He cried and didn’t like the smell, but 2 minutes later he stopped crying and 30 minutes later you couldn’t even tell he’d been burned.  Yes, I believe in the power of this potent oil, and I’d recommend that EVERYONE have a bottle in their household, as long as it’s a brand they trust.  I’ve used this oil in shampoos for my dermatitis, for bug bites and cuts, to disinfect my kitchen sink/fridge/etc, and so much more.  I will never be without it!


Wanna win your own bottle? Well, then enter below. Good luck!!

Apothecary Extracts Tea Tree Oil

*I received a bottle of the product in exchange for an honest review.  No monetary compensation was received.  The opinions are mine alone!


Adovia Mineral Skin Care – Fractionated Coconut Oil (Review) 7 comments

I love anything that helps me live a healthier, more natural life.  I also love anything coconut, ha ha!  Let me tell you a little about this Fractionated Coconut Oil.  Those of you who use aromatherapy, you are probably familiar with this type of product:

resize_9dae1441296a201d12a927b6cdb23cccec7da8e6f8ba3f7d6cca17cb62be0d044cefbc55256256Coconut Oil has MANY Benefits but is GREAT for use as a MASSAGE OIL!!


-The fractionated coconut carrier and massage oil by GoPure creates a barrier on your skin, but does not clog your pores. Provides a light-weight and non-greasy finish. It is composed of 100 percent natural Carrier Oil or pure base.

-The shelf life, with proper storage conditions is indefinite. The product needs to be stored in a cool location, out of the direct sunlight.

-Ideal product for massage therapy due to the ability for the oil to remain in liquid form provided by the fractionating process.

The Fractionated Coconut Oil offered by GoPure is considered an all-natural type of carrier oil that is able to easily absorb into your skin, which makes it a go-to option for all types of topical therapies. It offers a feather-light emollient, providing a soothing barrier, without the risk of clogging your pores, and is ideal for dry or otherwise troubled skin. It provides the skin with a non-greasy, silky smooth feel, unlike the other vegetable carrier oils currently available. It is completely soluble with all types of essential oils and is odorless and colorless, which means it will not stain any fabric it comes in contact with. It also has a prolonged shelf life, which means it will not go rancid and is designed for topical use only.


My Thoughts:


I use essential oils a lot for myself and with my children.  I’ve previously used Sweet Almond Oil as a carrier oil, which is wonderful, but I hadn’t yet tried Fractionated Coconut Oil.  Oh my goodness, I love it!  It goes on the skin so smoothly, and is so comfortable and soothing, especially when used with essential oils during a massage.  It doesn’t have a coconut smell, which I had assumed it would.  I wouldn’t have minded that, but I do know that there are those who don’t love the scent, so it’s definitely a good thing.  There will be nothing getting “in the way” of the essential oils you use it with.   When massaging my two kids, I was impressed with how quickly and easily they seemed to absorb it.  They, of course, were more than willing to test this out.  I used it by itself as a moisturizer for my dry elbows and knees, and it works wonderfully, but I think I’ll save it for more therapeutic purposes, simply because it is such a high quality product.  I love it…I love it!  I’d recommend this oil any day, especially if you are into aromatherapy and massage at home.

Go Pure Naturals also offers other products, from skin care to hair care.  You can follow them on Facebook.

*I received the product in exchange for my honest opinion.  No monetary compensation was received.  The opinions are mine alone.

Digestive Health – Probiotics + a Giveaway! 16 comments

Those of you who have followed my blog for awhile know that I’ve had an unhappy history with my digestive system.  For years I’ve dealt with a myriad of symptoms, including severe bloating, ulcers, stomach pains, nausea, depression, migraines, joint pain, and more.  It’s taken some pretty extreme measures to finally get those symptoms under control 3 months ago.  Not only did I make drastic dietary changes, I started adding more supplements and nutrients to my body.  One of these supplements was probiotics.


Probiotics are live microorganisms – they are “good” bacteria, and they help with gut/digestive health.  They help fight off the “bad” bacteria that invades our body on a regular basis.  I’ve used probiotics with great success, including the Vita Advanced brand.  This particular brand has 10.2 billion organisms per 2 capsules.  I truly believe that the more probiotics, the better. I usually take 3 capsules a day, so I end up with about 15 billion organisms.  I can feel the difference after taking them – not immediately, of course, but as time goes on.

It’s important to note that I can’t eat a crappy diet and then pop a few of these and feel fine.  Believe me, I tried it!  However, if I’m eating a healthy diet and then I have ONE meal I probably shouldn’t, then this seems to help take care of the bloating that I would have had without the probiotics.  Combined with healthy diet, I’m seeing a huge difference in my digestive issues!  I rarely get nauseous or have a stomach ache.  What a blessing!  I highly recommend you adding probiotics to your diet/lifestyle, if you haven’t already.  The science is clear:  



Probiotics are recognized for their benefits in promoting a healthy digestive tract and immune system including the reduction of pathogens responsible for diarrhea and the restoration of microflora in the intestinal tract following the use of antibiotics.  Probiotics are live microorganisms, or “good bacteria” that are a fundamental part of human nutrition, and the human body. These microscopic organisms line the digestive track and help fight off “bad bacteria”, viruses, infections and more.

Vita Advanced Probiotic may help you in the following ways:

– Relieve digestive disorders
– Boost your immune system
– Improve your mood and feeling of well-being

Vita Advanced Probiotic contains 7 essential probiotic strains and 10 billion good bacteria per daily serving at time of manufacture that promotes digestive health and supports immune system. You can be certain of its quality because it is made in USA and sourced from a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) Facility.


Good news: One of my lucky readers will WIN their own bottle of these probiotics…woot! Good luck!

Vita Advanced Probiotics

*I received the product in exchange for an honest review.  NO monetary compensation was received.  The opinions are mine, and mine alone.

Adovia Dead Sea Salt Bath Salts

I’m a big fan of taking detox baths.  There are so many potential benefits to them, and dang, they feel good and relaxing!  According to Healthy Living How To, a detox bath is one of the easiest healing therapies we can do to help our bodies in their natural detoxification process.


I go through Epsom salts pretty quickly, and so I jumped at the chance to try some new salts from Adovia.  I was really excited to try them, because they are DEAD SEA salts!  They have a higher concentration of minerals than Epsom salt, and so the benefits are even better.  In using them, I noticed that they dissolve at least twice as fast as the other salts I’ve used in the past, and I really like that.  I also felt like I could feel a bigger difference in my body the next day.


I am very careful with my diet, and monitor my digestion closely.  In the last month, whenever I experienced gas or bloating, I took a bath with these Dead Sea salts.  I always took them just before bedtime, and afterwards slept so well – EVERY TIME!   I also noticed that EVERY SINGLE MORNING after taking a detox bath, I felt better, digestive-wise.  I am completely blown away with how consistent my results have been!  These are high quality salts, and they work really well.  They are relaxing, they are comfortable, and  THEY WORK!


Let me share with you a little more about the product:


bath salt and palm leaf


Product Description:

  • Dead Sea Salts are the best bath salts on the planet – Much higher mineral concentration than Epsom Salt!  They have a high concentration of minerals which are essential for proper skin health and beauty.  Adovia Dead Sea Salt is fine grain for faster dissolving.
  • Packaged in a resealable zip lock bag.
  • Provides relief from Psoriasis, Eczema, and Arthritis symptoms. Formulated with over 26 essential minerals the body needs for natural soothing and relaxation.
  • Find relief from aches and pains by soaking in a bath full of these salts. Rejuvenates, exfoliates, and softens while it soothes!
  • Contains absolutely zero additives, colors, or scents.


You can purchase a 1.75-lb bag on for $11.95.  They are a great splurge, and I know that they’re on my to-buy list again, when I earn my next Amazon gift code from Swagbucks! :)


*I received the product in exchange for an honest review.  No monetary compensation was received.  The opinions are 100% honest and my own!