Essential Oils for Sleep

Monday, February 8, 2016
Good morning! How are you friends? We are doing well. Little Zoe is growing like a weed and is taking after her sister in so many ways. It's so funny that some second babies are the complete opposite of their older siblings and some seem to be very similar. With the exception of a few small things, so far they're nearly identical!

Between soaking up every minute with my sweet girls, and launching some new virtual services (check them out in the menu bar!), things have been busy. I'm pretty tired...okay, I'm extremely exhausted... but it's such a short phase of life.

I've just started training again this week, with my Kickstart Fitcampers. It feels good but I have such a long way to go strength wise but I'm fortunate to have the tools and desire to get there!

I have another treat for you guys. My amazing friend Aubrey has written another great Essential Oils post for you guys!

Essential oils are an integral part of my nighttime routine. They are helpful to allow me to wind down and relax at the end of the day. As a triathlete, sleep is a very important part of recovery. The entire family benefits from using essential oils to promote a good nights sleep. 

Essential oils are the volatile, aromatic compounds that are extracted from trees, shrubs, flowers and stems and seeds. Sometimes they are called the "life force" of the plant. While essential oils seem to be the next trend, they are nothing new. Historically, essential oils are the oldest known form of medicine, dating back to 4500 BC. When essential oils are inhaled they affect our limbic system in the brain and begin to adjust our hormone levels, vital functions, memory and instincts. 

5 Beneficial Essential Oils for Sleep

Lavender- A must have oil in every household, lavender is an oil I use nightly to help me get a good nights sleep. I add four drops of lavender to my diffuser and wake feeling rested. It's especially beneficial in helping me sleep in a different or new environment. 
A linen spray is a great way to prepare your room for sleep. My favorite combo is a blend of 10 drops of lavender and 10 drops of Cedarwood essential oil. 

Cedarwood- This oil is beneficial at calming the mind. On nights when my mind is racing with a million things to do, I'll add a drop to the back of my neck at the base of my spine. 

Vetiver- Distilled from the roots of a grass like plant, it has an earthy and grounding aroma. It is helpful at relieving stress caused my everyday occurrences. It's calming influence on the body makes it beneficial to induce restful sleep. This oil can be applied topically or diffused. 

RutaVaLa Roll On- This blend promotes relaxation of the mind and the body. I use this on nights when I lie in bed for about 10 minutes and fail to fall asleep. It's particularly helpful after an evening race or workout. There's a summer triathlon series, I love, that starts at 6:30pm. My adreniline and emotions are still spiked at 10pm when I try to go to bed, and I used to struggle to sleep. RutaVaLa is a lifesaver. I'm also thankful to have this oil after waking up in the middle of the night attending to my son's needs. I've found success rolling it on the bottom of my big toes.
Blend: Rue, valerian, lavender

Peace & Calming- This oil is perfect for calming the nerves or emotions at the end of a long day during times of stress. It's a gentle, sweet blend, that's especially great to use in homes with children and perfect to diffuse in their room at bedtime.
Blend: Tangerine, orange, ylang ylang, patchouli, blue tansy

There are many other essential oils and products made my Young Living that can help you get a good nights rest. ImmuPro and Sleepease have melatonin, which encourages restful sleep by promoting natural sleep patterns. Other essential oils to consider are Tranquil and Roman Chamomile. I'm confident in Young Livings standards and their Seed to Seal process, making them the world leader in essential oils.

Curious about how to get the oils at 24% off the retail price? A wholesale account is the best way to expereince the oils in the Premium Starter Kit. Learn more here. For more about how the oils in the Premium Starter Kit can benefit your running, check out this post.

Oversupply Issues and a Simple Sauteed Kale Recipe

Thursday, February 4, 2016
Good morning! How is everyone? I've been missing blogging lately! I thought I'd be back in the swing of things by now...but were still settling in, which is totally understandable. I'm a huge believer in the fourth trimester. Our day's are filled with a lot of snuggles, babywearing, and nurturing activities for Aria.

The last few weeks have been a little bit of a struggle. Little Z has unbelievably bad gas and it makes her quite upset most of the day. Because she's so uncomfortable, she's also up every hour, day and night. Unfortunately it's a side effect of my oversupply. We've tried many many things to try to help her with the gas, over the past few weeks, but nothing seems to be working. I've even tried to decrease my supply but I didn't get anywhere with that. Poor little mama is just so uncomfortable.

My right side is 100 times worse than my left. Just the past 2 days she has actually started to refuse to eat on my right side. I have been feeding her from the left and pumping the right 3 times per day. When I pump the right, I give her the pumped bottle of breastmilk.

Today I wanted to put up one of my favorite kale recipes. I have been living off of kale lately. It's so delicious and nutritious. It's actually one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet!

This easy recipe has been my go to lately.

1 bunch Kale
Walnut Oil
Sunflower Seeds

Heat 2 tbsp. walnut oil in a skillet. Once warm, add kale. Then drizzle a little more walnut oil on the kale in the skillet. Sautee over medium heat until soft. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
Add to a bowl and add sunflower seeds! Enjoy!

Have a great day friends!

Tahini and Cabbage Toast

Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Good afternoon! How is everyone? We have been so busy getting ready to launch February's Kickstart Your Health Bootcamp...and of coarse having lots of fun with my girls.

The program is completely filled and I'm incredibly excited to get started! I am planning on running a follow up group, so if you missed it this time around, just drop me an email and I'll get you all the details. You can also check it out here.

If you know me, you know that I love food...but...I'm also very practical when it comes to making things at home. With a two year old, a 6 week old and my own business, I don't have a ton of time to create incredibly intricate recipes. I like them fast, healthy and so very tasty.

This is one of my favorite easy recipes! And every single ingredient is available at Trader Joes!

Sourdough Bread
Chia Seeds
Red Cabbage

Toast your sourdough bread. If you can, I seriously recommend getting TJ's sourdough bread. It is worlds above any other type I've had.
Slice your tomato's and red cabbage.
Spread a healthy amount of tahini on both slices...don't be shy!
Place tomato's on both slices of bread, sprinkle cabbage on top, and finally sprinkle the chia seeds on top of everything.

I told you it was crazy easy.


Healthy Coconut Oil Chocolate

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Hi friends! I'm experiencing a miracle as I sit here and write this. Aria and Zoe are both asleep. I should probably be taking a bath or something equally as relaxing...but mama's gotta hustle and do some work.

This recipe is ah-maz-ing! I originally found it on the Healthy Tipping Point blog a few months ago and we tweaked it a little bit to fit our taste!

In Caitlin's recipe she uses peanut butter and chia seeds. We haven't tried that combination, but i'm sure its equally as delicious!
Instead, we've used Sunflower Seed Butter a few times and Almond Butter a few times. We also use Hemp Hearts because of the protein, omega 3, omega 6 and iron they have! And I just like the texture better.

This recipe makes 8-10 chocolates.

1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup nut butter
1/4 cup hemp hearts
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp agave

Lay out 10 cupcake wrappers on a plate (perfect job for a little helper). Mix coconut oil and nut butter in a bowl and microwave until coconut oil is melted (about 45 seconds). Add in hemp hearts, cocoa powder and agave. Mix well.
Pour mixture into cupcake wrappers. I found that using a spoon helped me to avoid spilling and to get an equal amount into each wrapper. Place in the freezer and cool until hard. You can store them in the fridge or in the freezer. We like them in the freezer.

Keep in mind, because they are made of coconut oil, they will melt a room temperature.

Have an awesome day and enjoy your chocolates!

Embracing the Healing

Thursday, January 14, 2016
This week was my first time back on the mat after giving birth to Zoe. It felt so good. I did some gentle yoga and some diaphragmatic breathing to begin to reactivate my core.

In 3 short weeks I'm hoping to be cleared for exercise. As the date approaches, I'm realizing that it's going to a lot tougher than it was last time around.

I keep having to remind myself that I had major surgery. Not because I don't feel like I have. Trust me, I am fully, physically aware that my abdomen was cut open. I still have to roll to one side to comfortably get up from a laying position.
But because I'm just so eager to get back to training. I miss challenging my mind and body physically.

This pregnancy was challenging because of the training related pelvic injury I was dealing with from before I got pregnant. And this birth expereince was challenging because it was major surgery, which left me completely helpless. THAT was something I was not prepared for.

I can't help but wonder if these experiences are my body's way of making sure that I slow down and take time to really heal and reconnect with my body.
Like many people, I always look for meaning in things that happen that are out of our control. I keep thinking back to the past few years of training and how hard I've pushed myself and how I've been disappointed in myself when I wasn't doing/being as fast or as strong as I know I'm capable of. I wonder if this was all a hard lesson that I had to learn about slowing down, appreciating my body and embracing the journey.

Don't get me wrong. I appreciate and love that need and that drive to train hard, race hard, and push, push, push to the limits. I lived in that place for a long time and it was home. And I'm not saying I won't be there again. I'm fairly certain I will. The fire is still burning. However, I feel that this is an opportunity and I should take it.

Since I'm literally starting at square one this time around, as I have zero strength in my core and am very disconnected from it, I am feeling this opportunity to be able to start over and start new. Similar to the feeling of New Years. I'm feeling like this is a chance to reconnect and rebuild my strength from the ground up, using all of the knowledge and expereince I have gained over the past 10 years of racing, training and coaching.

I feel excited to embrace this new body that has been through 2 beautiful births, and make it even stronger and more fierce.

For race season is coming...

Have you ever experienced a long road to get your strength back? 

How has your body changed after birth? 

I feel that I'm a lot more aware and a lot tougher than I used to be.

4 Essential Oils for Post Workout Recovery

Hi Friends! Happy Thursday! I have another awesome surprise for you! My amazing friend and triathlon coach, Aubrey, has graced us with another guest blog post. Aubrey also just happens to be my essential oil guru. I am constantly texting her with questions about essential oils for this and that. She is so knowledgeable!

Who loves a good workout? The kind of workout that leaves you sweaty and fatigued, with muscles that are spent after your most dedicated effort. Those are the best. Some day's your mind is already to hit the road for another session. However, your body is giving signals that it is not up to the task.
Are you taking care of your muscular system post workout? It is important not to overlook muscle recovery.
I'm a firm believer that essential oils help support my joints and muscles, so I'm ready for my next run!

Essential oils are the volatile, aromatic compounds that are extracted from trees, shrubs, flowers, stems and seeds. Each plant may contain hundreds of molecular chemical compounds. Essential oils chemistry is complex and under much study for their remarkable benefits.

Here's some homework; look up the term sesquiterpenes and read more about it. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

Four Fabulous Essential Oil Blends for Post Workout Recovery

Aroma Siez - This blend is excellent for massaging away life's little discomforts. It is well suited for use after exercise or at the end of a trying day. My favorite places to apply this oil are my head, neck and tired feet.
I like adding 6-8 drops of this essential oil to 1/4 cup of Epsom salts. Add the oil and salts to a small basin along with warm water. It's the best feeling to soak my hard working feet in a soothing foot bath, as the mileage adds. up!
Blend: Basil, marjoram, lavender, peppermint and cypress.

Cool Azul - First released last year in the form of a much loved sports gel, Cool Azul Sports Gel. The same oils that gave the aloe vera based gel it's effectiveness are combined into a 15ml bottle of essential oil!
Add a roller ball cap and take it along with you to help before, during and after physical activities.
Blend: Wintergreen, peppermint, sage, oregano, copaiba, niaouli, lavender, blue cypress, elemi, vetiver, caraway, doarado azul, matricaria.

Deep Relief - This essential oil blend is packaged in a convenient roll-on bottle. I love having a bottle of this in my gym bag to apply to muscles post workout. If you lead an active lifestyle, this is one oil you'll want to have at the ready!
Blend: Peppermint, lemon, Idaho balsam fir, clove, copaiba, wintergreen, helichrysum, vetiver, dorado azul.

Relieve It - This oil is a deeply relaxing, warming, blend that feels soothing and comforting to muscles and joints, following exercise. Like the other essential oil blends in this list, it contains the very recognizable and beneficial peppermint.
Blend: Spruce, black pepper, hyssop and peppermint.

As a special bonus, here is a fifth oil that I blend myself and I like to have close by for recovery!

There are many more essential oils and products made my Young Living that I use daily as a coach, triathlete and mom. Ningxia Red, Pure Protein, BLM and Ortho Ease are a few that are indispensable to my recovery. I'm confident in Young Livings standards and their Seed to Seal process, which makes them the world leader in essential oils.

Curious about how to get the oils at 24% off the retail price? A wholesale account is the best way to expereince the oils in the Premium Starter Kit. Learn more here. For more about how the oils in the Premium Starter Kit can benefit your running, check out this post.

I hope everyone has a great day! If you have any questions for Aubrey, you can email her directly at, or leave them in the comments with your email address and she will get back to you!

See you guys Friday!

Do you use essential oils for recovery? 

Which is your favorite oil, blend?

Breastfeeding and Managing Oversupply

Sunday, January 10, 2016
Happy Monday! I'm excited to be starting to get back into the swing of things with blogging and personal training. I've missed both!

Everything inside our home is slowly falling into place. Sometimes it does feel like my hands are overwhelmingly full, but that's all just a part of it. The newborn stage is so short and time is always passing. While it's intensely insane, it's also intensely beautiful, constantly reminding me of the intimate, fragile, place I traveled to during labor, to bring Zoe to us. My heart feels wide open all the time.

Aria is transitioning amazingly.

She has embraced Zoe as a part of the family and has not shown even one bit of jealousy, or lack of understanding of all of these big changes. She has handled it with such grace.

Breastfeeding has been a new experience this time around. I'm excited to be writing this post and to share our trials, errors and successes. Breastfeeding is one of the parts of new motherhood that can be truly challenging. And while you're in it, it can make a huge difference to know you aren't alone.

Breastfeeding with Aria was an emotional struggle for us. You can read about it here and here.

With Aria it started with oversupply issues combined with her having bad reflux. Aria didn't have a great latch to begin with, and with the overwhelming flow of milk, she really struggled every time we tried to nurse. And it always ended with her projectile vomiting everywhere. Eventually she started going on nursing strikes. First it was just for a feeding. Then she started going on strike for entire days.

The day I decided to pump her a bottle changed everything for us. Rather than her grasping for air between cries and gulps of milk, she ate peacefully and happily, and we both enjoyed the moment. It changed everything. That day I started to pump exclusively.

Looking back, had I known more, prepared more for breastfeeding and had more support, it may have been possible for us to work through it and ultimately be successful. However, there's no way to know.
Perhaps not though. Maybe Aria and I were meant to take the exclusive pumping route.

This time around has been it's own experience. The first two weeks were the biggest struggle. Zoe was learning and I was learning. I have an oversupply again, and we are constantly managing that. But the key is that we are managing.

The first two days after Zoe's birth we seemed to fall into sync with nursing. Zoe had a good latch and things just seemed to be working beautifully.

Then my milk came in. When the milk comes in, the breast tissue changes and the feeling of the breast to the baby changes. Thats when we started to struggle. Zoe couldn't latch suddenly, the milk was too much for her to handle, and she cried a lot..which in turn meant I cried a lot.

We struggled hard for about 2 weeks. It was very stressful. I was a postpartum, emotional mess, and my amazing doula was at my beckon call. Literally. I called and texted her numerous times a day. She was incredible. She was always able to calm me down and always had new tips for me to try, and they always worked! Even on Christmas she was there for me. I really owe her.

When Zoe was ten days old we had a terribly rough day. She had a long nursing session at 8am and then wouldn't eat for the rest of the day. I spent the day doing skin to skin with her, trying to reestablish the breastfeeding relationship that we were just starting to develop. It felt eerily familiar to the day Aria went on strike.
I pulled out and prepped all of my pumping stuff from Aria, rejoined the Exclusively Pumping groups on facebook, and started to mentally prepare for the long road ahead.
After a lot of tears, a pumped bottle that Zoe refused to eat, and a number of calls to my doula and midwife...out of nowhere, at 4pm she started nursing again. And we haven't skipped a beat.

We still struggle with my oversupply, I've had a round of mastitis, and we're still learning how to utilize alternative positions, but we have enough tools in our breastfeeding tool box that we're well on our way. She hasn't skipped any feedings since day ten.

Lets talk more about oversupply. Oversupply can be very stressful when you and your baby are building your breastfeeding relationship.
In the first few weeks after birth, while the milk supply is being established, many women will experience oversupply. Women can have oversupply after any number of birth. Often times it actually increases with subsequent births.

These are some of the things that have worked and continue to work for us.

1. Stay calm. The combination of the postpartum hormones and your desire to be successful nursing can be a cocktail for stress, and for feeling extremely overwhelmed. Especially when you're concerned with your baby eating enough or eating at all.
Prep your "toolbox" ahead of time. Think about what things are calming to you and have them ready to fire when you find yourself getting to that place.

This is my personal favorite tool to use when I need to calm down. I place my open hand across my chest, palm on my sternum and fingers just touching my collarbone, and then the other hand on top. I press down gently, to encourage feeling of grounding and start to take deep breaths. After a few breaths I feel more calm and balanced.

2. Don't try to nurse when your baby is too worked up. Yes, when babies get hungry, they tend to fuss until you feed them. However, pay close attention to how upset your baby is. It is possible for him/her to get too upset to nurse. With our oversupply struggles, this happened to us a lot those first couple of weeks. It still happens now during witching hour.

Calm your baby down before trying to nurse. Some bouncing, skin to skin or swaddling can be helpful in these instances. Once your baby has calmed down, then try to latch them again.

3. Hand express. You can use a warm wash cloth, the shower, or I used these, to warm up your breasts and encourage let down. Once your milk has let down, hand express some of the milk into a towel, until it is no longer spraying and is more manageable for your baby. Then try latching again.

Honestly, this really works to slow the flow of your milk. I used to think that there was no way hand expressing would make a difference with as much milk as I had, but it really does work very well.

4. Warm bath. Run a warm bath and get in with your baby. If you and baby are worked up from the stress of trying to nurse with oversupply, the bath can be a great option. This will relax you as well as your baby, and is a perfect environment to promote skin to skin bonding and nursing. And as a bonus, you can simply hand express excess milk without having to worry about soaking your clothes and everything else around you.

5. When nursing, if your baby is getting very overwhelmed with the amount of milk, use your hand to pinch (hard) and hold down, around your areola (top and bottom), to slow down the milk flow. This isn't comfortable, but it worked wonders for us those first few days when my milk was out of control.

6. After latching your baby, recline back, resting on some pillows, and nurse with your baby laying on top of you. Another variation of position is to nurse your baby in a way that he/she is sitting upright. Both of these positions can make the milk easier to handle because it isn't flowing directly down his/her throat.

7. One of the really tough days my midwife said to me "You're exhausted. Lay down, nurse on your side, and fall asleep. Both of you." I hand expressed and then layed down to nurse on my side. Zoe ate and we fell asleep. It wasn't a solution to managing my oversupply, but we both got some much needed rest.

8. Let your baby come to the breast, rather than pushing it into his/her mouth. All babies are different. Some respond best when you push the nipple into their mouth. It helps them get the best latch. I tried this with Zoe and we were terribly unsuccessful. She would get very upset and eventually, too upset to nurse. I think this had something to do with how intensely my milk pushed into her mouth during letdown.
I had to learn that Zoe prefers to have me place my breast or nipple right at her mouth, just touching a bit, and she pulls it into her mouth, herself.

The support from my doula and midwife were essential in helping Zoe and I to establish a strong foundation to build from. I can't stress enough that breastfeeding success is all about support! The right support from someone who is invested in you and truly cares about you and your baby, is invaluable!

What was your breastfeeding expereince?

What was the most helpful piece of advice you received? 
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