10×10 Challenge Recap

Hi friends! Holy moly, it’s been radio silence over here for a bit. Does anyone else feel like life kind of drags you along sometimes? Like, sometimes you’re really on top of things and ahead of the game and at other times you’re just treading water and trying to survive. Good news is, I feel like I can see the light at the end of the freaking tunnel! Woo!

A while back, I participated in a 10×10 challenge on Instagram hosted by ethical clothing brand Elizabeth Suzann, Caroline from Un-Fancy, and Lee from Style Bee. If you haven’t heard of the 10×10 challenge before, basically what you do is take ten items from your closet and mix and match to create ten different outfits to wear over ten days. The goal is to remix pieces you already have to discover new ways to wear them, and to maybe realize you already have everything you need! I already wear a pretty basic wardrobe, but I was excited to see if I could live on ten items for ten days. The “rules” of the challenge weren’t hard and fast. You can include shoes and accessories in your ten items if you choose, or you can swap shoes and accessories freely. I chose to stick to ten clothing items and used 2-3 pairs of shoes. I wear basically the same jewelry everyday anyway, so I only used 2 different necklaces the whole time.

Here are some things I learned:

  1. I love neutrals. It’s so easy to get dressed when basically everything in my closet can mix and match with everything else.
  2. I really need less clothing than I think. I repeated outfits or pieces from outfits for days in a row and guess what? No one cared or noticed and I felt comfortable and put together. Fewer choices also made the process of getting dressed really easy and something I barely had to think about.
  3. I follow two basic formulas for dressing: either a jacket or cardigan layered over a top or a tank layered under a loose fitting knit top/sweater.
  4. I really, really love my Girlfriend Collective leggings. They’re so comfy, they hold up in the wash and don’t stretch out, and really slim things out.
  5. Because I could only chose 10 items, the challenge really showed me what I really LIKED in my closet. I’ve paired things down a ton over the last year, but I realized I am still holding on to pieces that just don’t speak to my personal style anymore and pieces that I truly never wear.

I’ll be honest; a few days I didn’t even get dressed, so I’ve only got 7 days worth of outfits to show you all. Here were my challenge looks (which I took myself with my iPhone and my Apple Watch and it was difficult, ha!):

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Day 1: Old Navy tee, cardigan and jeans, DSW loafers 

 

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Day 2: Old Navy top and tee, Girlfriend Collective leggings, Target booties 

 

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Day 3: J. Crew denim jacket, Loft tank, Girlfriend Collective leggings, Nisolo booties 

 

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Day 4: Old Navy jacket and tee, Girlfriend Collective leggings, Nisolo booties

 

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Day 5: Old Navy Top, Loft tank, Girlfriend Collective leggings, DSW loafers

 

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Day 6: Old Navy cardigan, denim and flats, Loft tank

Have you ever done a 10×10 challenge? It’s a great way to dip your toes in trying a capsule wardrobe without getting rid of all of your stuff. Let me know what you think!

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4 Ways to Use Essential Oils

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A while back, I posted about some of my favorite essential oils and how I use them in my home. Today, I’m sharing four easy ways to start using essential oils if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet and want to get started!

Cleaning

I actually think cleaning is one of the easiest ways to start using essential oils. I make a homemade all purpose cleaning spray from equal parts vinegar and water with lemon and clove oil (about 10-15 drops of each) mixed up in a spray bottle. I use this on countertops, mirrors and to spot clean the tile in our kitchen if I spill something. doTERRA’s OnGuard blend is another great oil for cleaning. I also use a few drops of tea tree or rosemary oil in the washing machine when washing towels, socks, underwear and Derek’s work clothes to help remove any lingering sweaty or musty smell. Derek made a wood furniture polish from vinegar, olive oil and lemon essential oil and we use that in place of traditional cleaner to dust our furniture.

Diffuse

I love diffusing essential oils, but be careful here if you have small children or pets. Certain oils are not recommended for children under certain ages, and some oils are not safe to use around pets. I like to use Using Essential Oils Safely as a guide. I mostly diffuse  oils to promote relaxation around bedtime. I like a blend of lavender, cedarwood and ylang ylang or lavender, peppermint and wild orange. Straight lavender is great too. Every once in a while when I need some extra help focusing, I’ll diffuse a blend of wintergreen, wild orange and rosemary. Peppermint is great for energizing, freshening up a room, and for headaches. Just a few drops in a diffuser goes a long way.

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This combo really helps with focus!

Bath

I used to hate baths, but I take epsom salt detox baths at least twice a week and they make me feel SO good. You can tailor your bath oils to whatever you hope to achieve. I like lavender and frankincense for relaxation, rosemary, eucalyptus and lavender for sore or achy muscles. Combine 1-2 cups of epsom salts in the bath with 10-15 drops of essential oils. Soak for at least 20 minutes. Remember to stay hydrated; drink lots of water before and after your bath!

Topically

Topical application of essential oils requires a bit more study. Some oils can be applied “neat,” or directly to the skin, and others should be diluted in a carrier oil. Remember that essential oils are VERY concentrated, so a drop or two goes a long way! I use lavender on the bottom of my feet, behind my ears and inside my wrists to promote sleep. I use peppermint or doTERRA’s Deep Blue blend on my temples, behind ears, and on my spine at the base of my neck for headaches. Tea tree is great for pimples, scrapes and cuts due to its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Ylang Ylang is my favorite scent, and sometimes I’ll dab a tiny bit on my neck and wrists as a perfume. You can also add a few drops of oil to an unscented lotion or liquid soap.

What are some of the ways you use essential oils in your home or with your family? If you’re new to using oils, what questions come to mind? Let me know!

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My Bedtime Routine

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One of the biggest things I always talk to my clients about is sleep. In our modern, bustling, chaotic world, so many of us refuse to take the time to rest. There’s this expectation that we have to constantly multi-task, always be hustling, and race from one thing to the next. I don’t know about y’all, but I’m TIRED! It’s been very difficult to redirect my thinking, and to view rest as something essential and non-negotiable in my life. So often, I hear things like “oh, you’re so lucky to get to nap” or “I don’t have time to sleep 8 hours, must be nice.” Well guess what, it IS nice. But I’m not doing it because I’m lazy, I’m doing it because rest and sleep are 100% essential to my health, to EVERYONE’S health. Look, I get it. You may have kids, you may work odd hours or long shifts, you may have a partner who snores, etc. There are tons of roadblocks to getting good rest, but thinking you don’t “deserve” to rest should NOT be one of those reasons. If you’re trying hard to modify your lifestyle to reach health goals but you’re just not getting there even though you eat well and exercise, I encourage you to evaluate your stress level and quality of sleep. You can do everything else right, but if you don’t allow your body time to recuperate, both physically and mentally, it won’t matter.

I have so many clients who sabotage all of their healthy efforts because they don’t prioritize rest. Take it from someone who went from working crazy retail hours to working only one day a week for her health: SLEEP IS IMPORTANT. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I strive to sleep for 9-10 hours every night, and during the day, if my body demands rest, I rest (this isn’t always feasible, and sometimes you have to power thru). I’ve become really aware of my body’s signals, and I know how negatively a lack of good sleep will affect my day. I’ve settled into somewhat of a bedtime routine that begins at least an hour before bed and helps me wind down and prepare for rest.

  • I don’t eat after 7pm. I’m currently doing intermittent fasting, so I only eat between the hours of 11:00am-7:00pm (blog post to come later about this). Regardless, I always tried not to eat too late into the night, not because your metabolism slows at night, but because your digestive tract needs a rest too. When I used to eat later in the evening, I’d often wake up in the middle of the night because of blood sugar fluctuations or a belly ache, which really interfered with good sleep.
  • Nighttime wellness. I take my after dinner blood sugar (which is always about an hour before bed because we eat dinner around 7pm and I start getting ready for bed around 9pm), take my bedtime supplements and take my blood pressure.
  • Diffuse essential oils. Before I do my skincare routine and brush my teeth, I start the diffuser in the bedroom with a sleepy essential oil blend (I like lavender, cedarwood and frankincense or lavender, sweet orange and peppermint). I use this cheap diffuser from Amazon. I also turn off the big overhead light and turn on my small bedside lamp.
  • Stretching/meditating. After my skincare routine and teeth brushing, I usually do some stretching/deep breathing. This is extremely calming and helps clear my mind.
  • Have some tea. Most nights, I’ll either have some relaxing herbal tea (lavender/chamomile) or peppermint if my belly feels yucky.
  • Apply essential oils. I have a rollerball with a sleep blend that I apply to the bottoms of my feet, wrists, behind my ears and down the base of my neck. I usually lather up with some of my favorite Beautycounter lotion, too.
  • Read. I’ve made a habit of reading until I’m sleepy (usually at least 30-45 minutes). I just finished The Passage and Orphan Train (both so good!) and am currently reading The Remains of the Day.
  • Set alarms/Turn on Sound App. I only set alarms for the days I work. Outside of work days, I allow myself to wake up when my body is ready. I use a sound app on my phone called Relax Melodies and sleep to the sound of a fan running. I like the app because it has a ton of sound options and you can layer the sounds together any way you like. I sleep with my phone plugged in across the room. Not only does this make me get up to turn off the alarm in the morning, but I also seem to sleep better when it’s not right by my bedside (probably has something to do with electromagnetic waves, which I plan to read more about in the book Zapped).

About twice a week, I also make time for a detoxifying epsom salt bath. I soak for at least 20 minutes and usually follow with my DIY sugar scrub. I always try to make sure lights are out and I’m on my way to sleep by 10:30pm or 11:00pm, or sooner if I’m working the next day or we have a lot of plans. I recognize that sometimes it’s hard to get good rest, but I think that self-care is absolutely essential to being good at anything else (being a spouse, parent, worker, friend, etc) so I’ve finally committed to making it a priority to sleep and to make time for my routine. Some days its easier than others. As someone who’s type A and likes things to be a certain way, I’ve had to learn that sometimes I just have to throw in the towel for the day, that things can and will wait until tomorrow, whether its folding laundry, doing the dishes, working out or something else. There’s always another day, ya know?

What does your bedtime routine look like? What could you improve upon?

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