Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Essential Oils: No More Black & Deep Blues!

Bruises, who needs 'em?

Aside from their obvious discomfort, they can look a lot worse than they feel.

In this case however, it felt just as bad as it looked.

My poor husband had an unfortunate accident at work and his foot took the worst of the beating.

As soon as he returned home and took off his shoe, we elevated his foot and applied an ice pack for the swelling. Getting a closer look at it, I could tell it was going to need a bit more attention. My first thought was an X-ray for sure, which of course he protested.

So off to my trusty oil case I went!

I applied the Deep Blue oil first to relieve the pain and help limit the bruising. I then added some Helichrysum to help speed the healing.
I could tell by the swelling that the bruising was going to be pretty bad, so I reapplied frequently throughout the day.

The next morning I couldn't believe my eyes! I knew Deep Blue was supposed to limit bruising but this was incredible!

Unable to see all the areas that were effected initially I had only rubbed the Deep Blue on the site of the blow which was the center of the foot. The rest of the foot (mostly the toes and the side of the foot) were completely bruised! Applying more ice compresses and elevating it as much as possible helped reduce the swelling. I also kept applying the Deep Blue for pain and alternated between Helichrysum to speed healing and Lemongrass to assist in repairing any tissue. The results were great in just a few days!

I couldn't believe it! I thought for sure his entire foot would be black for weeks!

I must add that unfortunately he did not take a break from walking or working, yet still the results were astounding.
I did however finally convince my husband to go get an X-ray just to be sure there weren't any fractures, lo and behold his foot was in perfect health. Luckily it was just a bad contusion that we were able to treat at home. 

Just another reason I love being able to assist my family in all natural health alternatives without medical intervention unless absolutely necessary.

Another win for #DrMom!

You can purchase or find out more about these essential oils here.

Essentially Yours,


Friday, September 26, 2014

Essential Oils: Free Bag Giveaway!!

Hello my name is Erika, and I love essential oils.

My love of essential oils and how they've improved my life are no secret on this blog.

What do I love about essential oils?

  • I love being able to provide safe and natural healing for my family, instead of relying on over the counter pharmaceuticals with ingredients I couldn't begin to pronounce let alone understand any long-term effects they may have.

  • I love that they work with my family's body in healing whatever everyday (sometimes not-so-everyday) ailments they have, instead of introducing chemicals that are foreign to the body therefore creating other issues that need to be addressed.

  • I love that essential oils has somewhat put a bit more control of this area of my life back into my hands, instead of the hands of people who profit more from my family's sickness than their  wellness.

There's nothing worse than having to rush your child to the doctor only to hear that it's some sort of virus and you will just have to sit idly by and wait it out while they suffer. Not anymore!

Don't get me wrong, I respect modern medicine and the contributions its made to society. However, not all issues are cause for prescription medication. I can't tell you how many times I have seen experiences with doctors who prescribe medication for a symptom (treating the symptom instead of the patient), which then causes a side effect that now requires another medication. Pretty soon you are taking three medications for that one initial ailment and it all snowballs out of control. No wonder we are a "script happy" nation with an insane addiction rate. Like everything in life I believe there is a balance, take care of what you can at home (like people have done for centuries) and save the medicine for the really serious stuff and respect the opinions of trained professionals.

Which brings me to my point! Yes I have one...

There are an arsenal of different oils I carry with me daily. Not just in my handy-dandy key chain that you can purchase here. I also carry oils for everyday battles like scraped knees, headaches, tummy aches, etc.. Up until now I've just been carrying it in an old cosmetic case or pencil case. I dropped the chic and went straight for shabby!

Enter Honeybees Boutiques! This awesome Etsy shop makes the cutest specialty essential oil bags that can hold up to eleven 15ml essential oil bottles! Color me happy (Fun fact: Etsy is my go-to for any custom items I need, or party planning ideas)! Both functional and stylish, I no longer have to worry about whipping out my worn ol' cosmetic case (may she R.I.P.) every time I need an oil. Who says "Crunchy" can't be cute?

Oil bags aren't the only items in the shop, there are a bunch of cute custom items for purchase.  Renee, the creative wonder behind this adorable shop was kind enough to host a giveaway! All you need to do to be eligible for the raffle is click on the link below, and Like our Essentially Erika Facebook Fan Page starting now! Click here to submit on your mobile app. You have until Sunday, September 28th. I will announce the winner on Monday, September 29th. Good Luck oil lovers!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you don't win no worries, I take care of all of my readers! Just visit Honeybees Boutique on Etsy and enter coupon code ESSENTIALOILS10 at checkout for 10% off!

For any info on Essential Oil Education Classes, please e-mail EssentiallyErika@gmail.com.

If you'd like to check out any of the essential oils pictured above, click here.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Ultimate Mom's Night Out!

It's official... Mommy bloggers know how to par-tay!

I had the pleasure of joining my fellow mommy blogger and partner in crime Modern Boca Mom for some good ol' fashioned mommy fun at Mom Baby and Beyond's Ultimate Mom's Night Out!

Between meeting a ton of new vendors with awesome products, hanging with some new awesome blogger friends and raising money for an excellent cause, there was no shortage of fun at this first annual event.

I did what any reasonable mom would do when she's managed to break free from the nest for a few hours, I found the wine table!

Wines for Humanity is an awesome company that connects two of my favorite things, wine parties (duh) and raising money for charities!
Here's how it works, you host a wine tasting at your next party, everyone has a great time and learns about terrific wines and the proceeds go to a charity preventing homelessness. It doesn't get much better than that! There were quite a few "party" vendors who offered services for hosted parties, but I'd have to say this was one of my faves.

Everyone knows I'm pro "baby-wearing", I wrapped my youngest and never looked back! These wraps however are gorgeous! No reason you can't wrap and still be fashionable!

Dreamcatcher Wraps are beautiful! This non-stretchy fabric is imported from the Czech Republic and Germany. It's soft, durable and colorful! Plus it promotes something near and dear to my heart, Babywearing!

The Lil' Marc table stopped me dead in my tracks! It's as though the potty gods had poured their mercy upon me and offered up a solution to my potty troubles at home!

It isn't easy helping little guys learn to properly use the toilet, UNTIL NOW! This pint sized urinal is great party convo if nothing else! I couldn't wait to bring one home (yes I bought one, you would too!) and try it out with my two boys, they just love being able to go pee like daddy and now they can!

Our next stop on the blogger train was at the Nommerz table. These "treats without cheats" were dee-lish and perfect because this mommy was starving!

I'm convinced it's the only reason I survived the rest of the night! Their protein bites and bars are all natural, organic, gluten and dairy free. Right up my alley!

After that yummy treat I had to hit the Keurig coffee bar (yes, I said coffee bar. They thought of everything!), I've heard so much about this new Keurig model 2.0. I needed to get a look for myself! So okay, when I first heard of Keurig I thought it was a total waste of time and money. What's the sense of buying a coffee maker that only brews a cup at a time, I would have to keep the coffee maker I already have for holidays and parties. Not anymore, the 2.0 model comes with cup sized serving and now carafe sized serving as well! NOW, they have my attention! I've been going back and forth with the hubster on whether this is right for us, I'm so glad I was able to try it out because it is most definitely for us!

Look who I ran into at the coffee bar! My good friend and fellow blogger Lindsay from You Are The Roots!

There is a wonderful sense of comraderie between bloggers, no shortage of that at this event. It was a pleasure meeting some new ladies all with such diverse contributions to the blogging world.

We all gathered at the awesome Insta Cam  booth! Here I am posing with some of my new friends; Newsy ParentsApril Go Lightly and Susy Pops! Can we talk for a minute about her cake pops? They were so popular this blogger couldn't get a taste! A room full of pregnant women and hungry mommies cleared her gorgeous cake stand in minutes!

Time for a little pampering!

The ladies at Jamberry were happy to take care of that! These nail decals were adorable and super easy to apply! This was definitely one of the popular tables!

I happened to fall in in love with the Budsies table...

A company that brings your child's artwork to life in the form of stuffed animals! This idea is genius! 
Providing thoughtful gifts while fostering a child's creativity, win / win!

This crunchy mama couldn't help but be drawn to the beautiful setup at the Jolie Bloom table (her gorgeous hair stopped me dead in my tracks honestly), everything smelled great!
I can't wait to try some of her products, her blog is adorable you guys should definitely check that out too!

Overall it was a great evening filled with fun, laughter and tons of prizes. There was a great raffle with some pretty cool products and the proceeds went to a great cause. The real reason we all joined together, for more awesome Turtle Power for James! The Coral Springs community as well as surrounding communities have really come together for this local family, it was truly an honor to be a part of this awesome event. Anything that brings people together in the name of compassion and kindness makes this hippie heart beat just a little bit faster. There is already rumor of #UMNO15 with Mom, Baby & Beyond, I can't wait!


Us mommy bloggers really know how to have fun!

Essentially Yours,


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tot School: Farm Week!

***Warning: Late post!
Last week was Farm week in #TotSchool, I was so excited for this theme just because of all of the really cool printables I was able to find!

I had made a few adjustments to the Tot School / Play Area in order to accommodate more trays. I'm not quite sure it will stay this way, there are definitely more man hours required in keeping the room tidy. This room is constantly evolving and growing with my boys, much like the rest of our lives! I've come to pride myself on the grace and humor with which I handle these changes on a day to day basis with two boys under the age of four. Hey, were all a work in progress right?

I kept it simple at first with some Do-A-Dot printables. Printables are great for entertaining two children at very close, yet very different stages. Any excuse to use my laminator! #nerdalert I  much prefer hands on process art and play, but these do serve a purpose in bringing them together for something they both enjoy. Plus it helps me get dinner on the table. Don't judge me.

I found these on one of my new favorite Tot School sites to visit The Gift of Curiosity, they had all the farm animals available to print (their favorite was the "wooster"). Trying to put together tot trays can be very tricky when dealing with two toddlers close in age at different developmental stages. I often feel as though the trays can either frustrate my two year old, or bore my three year old to pieces. It's a fine line and The Gift of Curiosity is great at balancing the two. Now, if I could only keep them from intruding into each others trays.

They both seem to really enjoy practice cutting. My oldest is definitely a bit more experienced so these spiral sheets helped to keep this activity interesting. My youngest is content with just holding the scissors and practicing how to work the springs. All around these are usually a hit.

My three year old has gained somewhat of a reputation as the "Puzzle Master", he can quickly put together pretty elaborate puzzles in a very short time (I promise I am not clocking him with a stop watch). It's as though he can see the "big picture" from the start, it's fun to watch his eyes glisten as his mind puts together piece by piece like a young mad scientist.

Naturally these homemade puzzles were right up his alley, he thoroughly enjoyed finding all the different pieces and putting them together. My little guy??? Not so much. 

He was more interested in our newest purchase for Tot School, the Crayola Dry Erase Activity Center. This was awesome! It really allows for much less re-printing and I don't have to use all of my laminator pouches on one theme.

Matching animals to their shadows was great for my three year old, and my little guy enjoyed tracing the animals steps back to the barn. Win / Win! Matching and size sorting are favorites for my puzzle master. 

Here they are matching animals, shapes and sorting by size. Much more popular for my three year old. He moves through these pretty quickly though. 

The balance between catering to the two different stages is a weekly struggle in Tot School, but well worth it. Especially when I get to witness these two working together. 

Be still my heart..

Can't wait to see what will be in store for Tot School next week!

Essentially Yours,


Monday, September 22, 2014

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte - "You're Welcome"

It's "Fall" here in lovely South Florida! Which means the afternoon high is eighty five degrees instead of ninety, and you can sometimes feel a breeze. But its underneath the darkest grey cloud you've ever seen five seconds before getting soaked with more water than you did during the ALS ice bucket challenge, and running to shelter from ear piercing bursts of lightning.

I digress.
It's still fall and just like any delusional NY transplant I fully intend on celebrating all of the perks that come with it. That means Pumpkin people. Pumpkin EVERYTHING! Like you haven't already rushed to Starbucks to get a sip of your first cup of their signature Pumpkin Spice Latte. That used to be me, until I found out that not only is their milk chock full o' GMO's but there isn't one trace of actual PUMPKIN in the coveted beverage. I don't know about you but that was enough for this lover of all things homemade, call me silly but I assume the name of the beverage was a foreshadowing of the actual ingredients.

I digress..

After much thought and research online I finally found an all natural alternative recipe that I looooove, and so will you!

You will need:
  • 10 pitted dates
  • 1 3/4 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 vanilla beans
Soak the dates for twenty minutes, then drain. Put the dates and water into blender and blend until smooth. Add the date syrup and all of the rest of the ingredients to a small saucepan and cook on medium heat until the mixture is slightly bubbly. Strain the entire mixture through a cheese cloth to get rid of any large bits, then store in a bottle! Add two tbsp of pumpkin syrup to your coffee as desired and a little GMO free milk for your all natural homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte! These ingredients yield 2 cups.

I couldn't help but add a little cream and cinnamon!

You're welcome folks..

Essentially Yours,


Friday, September 19, 2014

Blogging To Remember: "There is no footprint so small, that it cannot leave an imprint on this world.."

I've always been pretty open about my experience throughout the years with pregnancy loss (three in total), in hopes that it could help someone in some way. It's a topic that seems pretty taboo, people tend to get twitchy and distant when you bring it up. Of course, this makes me bring it up in hopes that they begin to feel a bit less uncomfortable by the end of the conversation. It doesn't seem to matter whether you've battled with infertility, or already have children and experience a pregnancy loss. I myself, have dealt with both (two losses before my boys and one after). They each hurt equally and take the same emotional toll on a famly. I can't tell you how many times I've heard an insensitive (albeit well meaning) comment like: "At least you had two already". Grrrrrrr.

All life is important and should be acknowledged, it doesn't matter whether you suffered early pregnancy loss, late term loss, still birth or child loss. Which brings me to my point!

In late May I posted openly about a dear friend and fellow blogger Lindsay from You Are The Roots and how she tragically lost her beautiful baby girl Wylie in her third trimester from congenital heart failure. Lindsay is quite possibly one of the best moms I know who gives selflessly in a capacity that can only be described as superhuman. Never would I ever have imagined she could have experienced something so tragic. But that's the point, grief knows no distinction. These experiences happen to everyday families, and they need support.

Every year Lindsay takes part in a blog-a-thon, an online marathon of sorts. She participates by blogging every half hour for 24 hours straight, in hopes of bringing awareness to a specific cause and gaining sponsors to donate to that cause. This year naturally, she is blogging for The Compassionate Friends. It's an incredible organization that provides grief support to families who have experienced pregnancy or child loss.

The Mission of The Compassionate Friends: When a child dies, at any age, the family suffers intense pain and may feel hopeless and isolated. The Compassionate Friends provides highly personal comfort, hope, and support to every family experiencing the death of a son or a daughter, a brother or a sister, or a grandchild, and helps others better assist the grieving family.

Blogathon 2014 will will kick off at 8:00 a.m. EST on November 22nd, 2014 and will come to a close at 8:00 a.m. EST on November 23rd, 2014. 100% of the proceeds will go directly to this organization! You can donate here. Donations will be accepted up until the very end of the Blogathon, but the earlier you donate, the more raffles you'll be eligible for!

Yes, there are prizes! For info and updates on all the eligible prizes click here.

I have already donated and hope you will too, every donation counts! You can learn more about Lindsay and her beautiful baby girl  Wylie Meadow.

"Someday we may see a woman king" 

- Iron & Wine

Essentially Yours,


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Essential Oils: I Am Woman!! Must I Roar?

Soooooo... There are days I just want to curl up in a ball with my "magic blanket" and disappear from the world into my deep dark cave -- at least that's how it feels. But not before growling at my husband and then asking him where he's going, "come back and hug me".These are the days when I hear him whisper to the kids, "Be nice to mommy boys!" while running walking out the door to work. This.. I can only assume is guy code for "just smile and nod and everyone makes it out alive".

In times like these I learn to empathize a little more with my toddlers. They aren't the only ones at home who wants to throw a tantrum because they're overwhelmed with tons of emotions they can't explain. After of course, not during. It's all I can do to keep from wandering off into the woods to die slowly (how mammalian of me).

So of course I was searching for the most natural of ways to handle the cramping and crazy totally normal hormonal outbursts episodes. Battling endometriosis for so long I'm used to dealing with pain each month, but hated having to succumb to modern medicine (Naproxen) all the time. Sad as it may seem, when I was struggling with this sort of pain in the past I actually had a doctor offer to prescribe me monthly doses of narcotics!

Naturally, I turn to my trusty essential oils first. DoTerra makes an awesome blend for women called Clary Calm

It temporarily relieves cramps, nausea, hot flashes, fatigue, and emotional swings (ahem) associated with PMS or Menopause. This, mixed with the Deep Blue Rub for my killer back pain takes care of all my monthly woes! I'm so happy to have found a natural alternative to dealing with common everyday symptoms.

This blend is most certainly #HusbandApproved and #ToddlerApproved! In fact, it may be #WorldPeaceApproved

If you would like more information on all of DoTerra's blends you can check it out here.

Essentially Yours,


Thursday, September 4, 2014

"It's My Party & I'll Plan If I Want To"

It's September! Yaaaaaaaay... Can you smell the sarcasm?

September was never one of my favorite months living in South Florida. First of all, the rest of the country is enjoying Indian Summer or Autumn and in some places even fall weather. Not here though.

September in South Florida is about as disappointing as December. Don't even get me started on my "You call this Christmas?" rant. September is just another summer month in South Florida! The same exact weather it seems as July and August. Unforgiving heat, relentless humidity. The only time of year you can take a shower just before leaving and sweat by the time you walk to your car. Every year I complain to anyone willing to listen about how THIS will be my last summer in Florida, and argue with anyone who is interested about why it would be better living ANYWHERE else (specifically the Northeast). A walk to the mailbox is a chore, not to mention resulting in what can only be described as a "drive-by" of mosquito attacks (I once counted 32 bites in under ten minutes outside!).

It wasn't until 2009 when I actually looked forward to this month, I was pregnant and due the end of September! Even though I had to spend my ENTIRE third trimester in July, August and September I managed to remain in good spirits. Once our not so little guys first birthday rolled around I was in crafty heaven! You mean I get to plan parties every year??? I first rekindled my childhood love of crafting during the planning of my wedding. Getting married at a young age and paying for everything yourself apparently awakens the crafter's spirit. So off I went, as my husband likes to put it "hot gluing myself to everything under the sun". Boy did I go off! I went with a circus "motif" seeing as how our local park had an incredible vintage-style carousel.

One of the most enjoyable parts about planning are all the fun and personalized details you can add. I would go nuts adding specific little details to every facet of the party! From photo booths, to directional signs and even face painters. Goody bags were my specialty!

Staying true to the theme I would incorporate specific food or drinks, the possibilities are endless! Don't get me wrong I LOVE this stuff, I practically LIVED for it. It's yet another way for me to be creative and create wonderful experiences and memories to share. Invitations had to be perfect and foreshadow all of the fun to be had! I would put all my heart and soul into making everyone feel special, I spent most of the time running around making sure everything was "just right" so that everyone else was having a good time. OR that everything looked "just right" so that the pictures and memories would be wonderful.
But there is one other aspect of it that rarely gets discussed, I was also EXHAUSTED! When you are exhausted you cannot be your best self, or the best mom. I would stay up all hours of the night stapling myself to something or spilling paint from sheer exhaustion. At some points it felt like work, with two toddlers under the age of two it definitely took its toll. Especially the weeks leading up to the party, I could just see me now up until 1am sticking Elmo eyes and noses onto red paper plates for the Sesame Street party.

Then something happened...

I was at George Snow Park one day (a favorite of ours, nice and shady in the summer months), when one of the fellow Seedlings moms showed up with her three kids in tow and a whole foods bag. She proceeded to park under a tree at a picnic table, and set up shop. Linens, cutlery, a fruit and pasta platter and some vegan cupcakes. Her husband showed up with a cake and some balloons a few minutes later. She had invited a few of her daughters friends and told the rest of us park stragglers, "We're having A's birthday party here, you are all welcome to join in on the food and fun". That's it? "It's really that simple"? Of course it is I thought, some of my fondest memories as a kid were impromptu birthday parties with an Entenmann's Devils Food cake and some Cheetos! Oh the high fructose corn syrup goodness! My boys had the greatest time that day, all of the kids and parents did. There was no stress, no muss and no fuss. It didn't matter who showed up, who didn't. Whether anyone brought a gift or not, or if anyone had any criticism. There was no comparing to other parties, or any jealousy about anything. It was what parties used to represent, FUN!

I started wondering if it was also the image I wanted to portray for my boys, making an insane production for every single year of their life? Would this instill a sense of entitlement? Where would I draw the line? I was certainly happy and grateful for yet another wonderful year of having the honor of playing mommy to these two incredible human beings, and that certainly felt worthy of a celebration. But did that celebration need to be this type of a grand production? The time, the resources and the money spent in pulling off these extravagant parties... Was it all for them? If given the chance to decide, would they really care about centerpieces or photo booths? I asked my 3 year old what he wanted to do for his 4th birthday, he asked if his cake could be orange and can he have an orange balloon? That's his favorite color. It's that simple for him, and I hope he never loses that simplicity. How can I teach them to appreciate the still moments in life if I'm constantly upping the ante?

Don't get me wrong, not all of these over the top crafty parties are about status or competition. I just started to feel like some of the parties I was going to (and planning) we're more "parent centered" than "child centered". Parties in park playgrounds where parents were more concerned with serving alcohol to adults than really focusing on the kids. Feeling pressure during planning to invite someone or their plus 1 because of "what they might think". Something clicked in me that I couldn't describe, I had scaled back in so many other ways in my life on my quest for "less is more" I guess it was only a matter of time before this would follow suit. Balance is the key to all happiness they say, and in fact balance is where I find I am most at peace and connected in my life. So I made a conscious decision to scale back, and focus on what truly mattered. With decisions like these my mind always goes to an article on the Sunflower Blog I once read titled "Being vs. Buying", you can find it here: http://sunflowerblog.org/2013/07/23/being-vs-buying/. I decided I would focus all of that time and energy into creating life experiences, adventures and collect moments. We were going to "Be" instead of "Buy", or "Plan". Children know more than we ever can about being fully "present" in the moment, if only we would follow their lead a little more instead of trying to teach them about "our world" or "the real world". The swift fleeting moments that whiz by in a parents life, those ordinary Tuesday nights where you just hang out with eachother, thats where the magic happens.

I wasn't fortunate enough to have a lot of time with my Dad, he died just before my freshman year in highschool and he worked a ton when I was growing up. I don't remember any expensive gifts or lavish parties. I can't recall the sacrifices he made so that I could have the Gameboy I wanted or those new boots I had to have. I remember the handful of moments we spent alone. Just a simple drive to run an errand when he introduced me to Jazz & Blues, the day he took me to get my first pair of glasses, or the time he took me to work with him "just because". The simple banter between father and daughter are imprinted on my heart. Those are moments I treasure till this day, and I draw from these moments when faced with these opportunities in my own parenting.

Here are some of my party pictures over the years..

Doesnt my son look happy?

All this while 7 months pregnant!

Everything gets decorated, even the bump!

The devil's in the details...

More "fun" for the little guy!

"Seuss-tastic" party!

We've decided not to stop celebrating or throwing parties, but to introduce a bit more balance in the mix. I will always love party planning and making parties special for all who attend, just not Every. Single. Year. So we will party it up for the "big ones" as I like to call it. First is always a biggie, Fifth, Tenth, 18th, 21st and possibly 30th. Instead, we will fill all that in between up with all the juicy ordinary special moments that weave their way into our lives while we are just "being".

We don't have many pictures of the past couple of birthdays, we were too busy having fun!

Essentially Yours,