Friday, June 27, 2014

Islamora-da-da-da-da! Enter Now & Win!!!

If you follow me on Instagram @essentiallyerika, then it's no secret we just came back from our summer family vacation. 

As I've mentioned in the past ( maybe only once or fifteen times) I'm a native New Yorker, my idea of a vacation is somewhat skewed. 

Living in Boca Raton, I've felt like it's a very laid back lifestyle( Florida in general gives me that feeling), I've even referred to it as "country". Whenever I speak to southerners they always refer to Boca Raton as "busy" or "city life". We'll, now I understand. 

It wasn't until I ventured further south that I can fully appreciate "remote living". My family and I were lucky enough to win a wonderful 3 day / 2 night stay at the wonderful Guy Harvey Resort in lovely Islamorada Key. This.Place.Rocks.
We stood in the Bayside Townhomes, 2 King Beds / 2 Bath units right on the Bay! 
A full gourmet kitchen!
When I first told the boys we would be going on vacation, all they asked was "Are there trains there?"
(Voila! Trains!)

There is PLENTY to do here. Just footsteps from the pool /grill area, did I mention it was right on the Bay?
The hammocks were my favorite! 
We kept ourselves busy basking in the Islamorada sun and lounging at the pool with great food and plenty of Bob Marley tunes to set the mood.
This quaint little property has some of the best sunsets in Islamorada, I was thoroughly impressed!
Okay, just one more...

Staying at the Bayside Townhomes allowed access to the "sister" resort less than a mile away The Guy Harvey Islander Resort. There's more fun to be had here!
Here you can park it under a shady tree on the beach, relax and enjoy the breeze. There's also a huge pool with bar and grill for your lunch and beverage needs. 
I couldn't resist... 

One of the best parts about the Islander is the versatility, there is enough to stay busy in that Islamorada sun all day! (Don't forget your sunblock! That sun is brutal in the summertime) 

We were lucky enough to have enough wind to go sailing, what a cool experience in these crystal clear warm waters! We stood pretty shallow with the boys and all so we were really able to just relax and "be", we took in every moment...
The WaterSorts shack offers all types of water activities such as paddle boarding, kayaking, motor boat rentals and fishing! 
We couldn't pass this up, so off we went on another #naturetrackers adventure!
This was a special moment for all of us. I know I remember the first time I went fishing with my dad, I'm sure they will remember this as the first of many fishing experiences with their dad. 
(Skipping stones with their dad, just love my guys!)

Islamorada is known for their fishing and music, there are tons of places to grab some food and drinks, or even play pool! (Insert finger sprain here, don't ask.) 

It seemed wherever we went in Islamorada we were met with kind faces and great food. I must say one of my favorites was Marker 88, hands down THE BEST key lime pie I've ever tasted, not to mention MORE beautiful views! 
Couldn't resist had to walk the pier..
To sum it all up, I get it.. Islamorada was a win on every level, I can certainly see the allure. Driving back home to Boca Raton was bittersweet. And I thought to myself, it seems so crowded, like CITY LIFE?!?!! Could it be?? This self proclaimed city slicker has gone (dare I say it) FLORIDIAN?? Being far removed from any major plazas or office buildings showed me an appreciation for scaling even further back. The allure in keeping it super simple.
There is something to be said for disconnecting and just taking in the moments slowly and savoring them. Sitting back relishing is life's simple goodness, the beauty in the ordinary. Salty sea air on your lips, warm summer winds in your hair. Letting time skip away with the ones you love, dropping your inhibitions and losing yourself in "child's play". 

We are very grateful to the people of Islamorada and The Guy Harvey Resort, but most of all to Sunflower Creative Arts.  

You too can win an incredible Islamorada getaway by entering the raffle drawing by July 1st. 

Just go to:

Enter The Golden Raffle by donating $100 to win, and you could get the exact same vacation experience! All proceeds go to the Sunflower Creative Arts Scholarship Fund. 

Sunflower's scholarship fund helps open the doors to families who could not afford to be apart of the Sunflower community without aid. 

Plus, who could resist these cute little faces?

Enter now to win! I can't wait to see what pictures and memories you come back with!

Essentially Yours,


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Essential Oils: You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one...

I started strong on the "Essential Oils" train about five to six months ago, using it as a first line of defense for my family or on any of my homemade cleaning products. 

During this time I've been teased, laughed at, and even lovingly dubbed "Gandalf" from Lord of the Rings. 

I've never pushed my beliefs on anyone, or felt the need to defend myself because, well I used them because it worked! (My boys haven't been sick since I started using them consistently) At least for my family it does. Over time though, many of my naysayers have at some point come to me asking "Do you have an oil for this?" 

Needless to say, I do and they are blown away by the results! 

While on vacation here in the Keys with my family we've been able to use oils for bee stings, finger sprain and back pain.
For bee stings I used a combination of Lavender, Melaleuca & Roman Chamomile.

This is my newest oil fan, my mom. She's showing her support for her go to oil for back pain Deep Blue (or as she likes to call it, "True Blue").

Perhaps the best part of this journey (aside from the obvious of being able to address any kind of issue naturally) has been watching the transformation of mind set. Instead of my family reaching for over the counter meds or topical ointments with tons of chemicals. 

Hearing my husband say " He scraped his knee, where's the Melaleuca?" Or my toddlers say, "Mommy I have a skeeto bite (mosquito bite) I need Labender!"(Lavender), it just warms my hippie heart. 

You can check out the oils I've mentioned and any others at 

Essentially Yours,


(If you are interested in learning more about these oils or would like to attend a class or webinar, please contact me at

Modern Boca Mom Gone Crunchy!!!

It's official!

Moms everywhere and now in Boca Raton are going "Crunchy"! 

The popular Modern Boca Mom blog is adding a weekly article filled with a "crunchier" perspective written by yours truly. 

We are joining forces to bring you the latest and greatest in all things organic and essential!

I'm honored to be their new "Crunchy Contributor", and can't wait to share with all the Modern Boca Mom followers. 

You can find this awesome blog (as if you aren't already following) at, or on Instagram @modernbocamom.

Go and check out today's article on the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center!

Essentially Yours,


Monday, June 16, 2014

Essential Oils: Burns!!

It's days like today I'm so grateful to have essential oils to count on and take matters back into my own hands. My little guy decided he would climb onto a high countertop and grab the burning incense... Ouch!!!

I reached straight for my emergency pack and instinctively put a few drops of Peppermint on the burn site to cool it off, then added some Lavender to aid in pain relief and healing. 

He stopped screaming as soon as the peppermint touched his skin, success!! 

He then proceeded to ask for the "Lamender" and added it on himself. (Clearly NOT their first rodeo!)

Just another case in the life of #DrMom!

Essentially Yours,


Monday, June 9, 2014

Well, It Happened!!

For all the naysayers who tried to tell me my youngest son would never (or could never) self wean off of the breast..

 To all the onlookers who gawked while my tall two year old nursed discreetly in public.. 

To all the well meaning (albeit frustrating) "advice givers" who said I needed to cut him off before it was "too late"..

To all the disapproving glances I received from grandparents when my son would ask for his beloved "Milky" in the park..

And to the DOCTOR, (yes I said DOCTOR) who told me I was spoiling my child by responding to his needs and following his lead on a matter that was so    personal and near to our hearts. 
(Needless to say she is no longer my physician, ahem..)

Well.... He did it!
Today was the first day since his birth in January 2012 that he did not nurse at all. He didn't ask for it this morning, or in bed tonight to fall asleep. He just didn't need it anymore.. I'm okay with that. I'm okay because I feel so fortunate to have been able to nourish his mind body and spirit in this wonderful way for as long as needed.

I'm also so proud of him for learning to listen to his own needs and express them, as well as knowing when he is ready to move on to the next milestone, the next adventure in his life. 

It seems only fitting that he do this today, on my dad's birthday. His namesake, the first man in my life whom Nathaniel Justin is named after. He reminds me a lot of my father. His wild and free spirit, only matched by his agility and athleticism. His unspeakable charm that makes grown men swoon, or his captivating smile that can warm any heart. 
I'm only grateful he didn't inherit my fathers two left feet, although he is stuck with the "Iglesias legs". I'm grateful for the short time I was able to share with him, and I look forward to watching parts of him unfold in my children.

Lots of big exciting changes around here, as the boys grow more and more independent. I sit back often ( okay maybe I don't sit at all with two boys) and just enjoy the wonder that is life, and how it always comes full circle..

Happy Birthday Dad, We Miss you..💞 

Essentially yours,


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Homemade: Hand Sanitizer!

Once I read that one 2oz bottle of store bought hand sanitizer had 60-90% alcohol I knew I'd found my new homemade project! That is enough alcohol for four shots of vodka! 

This simple and easy recipe is what I found and I love it! You only need four ingredients to make this happen:

5 tbsp of 100% Aloe Vera Gel
1/4 tsp of Vitamin E Oil
10-15 drops of OnGuard Essential Oil
4 tbsp of water

That's it! 

Combine the Aloe Vera gel and the vitamin oil and mix in a glass bowl. Then add the On Guard essential oil and mix together. Incorporate the water until you reach your desired consistency, then scoop into a travel tube and enjoy! Not only is this sanitizing, but way more moisturizing than the store bought brands!

I can now freely let my little germ catchers use my homemade hand sanitizer in peace...Ahhhh the joys of essential living. Of course, nothing beats a good old fashioned hand scrubbing, but every little bit helps!

Essentially Yours,