“List”en To Me… Top 5 Steps To Beat The Common Cold

That’s right, after traveling for a week to the beautiful state of Colorado to spend time with my amazing family, celebrate my grandfather’s 92nd birthday and take in the majestic Rockies we have come home and caught the common cold…boo hiss!

BUT we will not let that get us down because we are always armed in our house with ways to prevent and treat ailments especially when it comes to cold and flu season.

I know it’s easy to go to the drug store and pick up over the counter medicine with the idea that you’ll feel better the next day.  Have you ever looked at the active and inactive ingredients list on the back of that cold and flu medicine bottle?  Or those gel caps and nasal sprays?  What exactly are you taking to FEEL BETTER?  Below are the ingredients to Vicks NyQuil Cold & Flu Liquid – Alcohol, Synthetic Colors & Dyes (Green/Yellow), Polyethylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol…WHAT?!?!?!?!  AND that’s not even the ACTIVE ingredients!  You can read about why these ingredients are bad news HERE.

Vicks NyQuil Cold Flu Ingredients

Taken from Vicks.com Website

That said, I urge you to check out my Top 5 Steps To Beat The Common Cold and consider trying an alternative option, it may take a day longer to feel better but your body will be thanking you 🙂

Top 5 Steps To Beat The Common Cold

1. Black Elderberry Syrup – Ditch that bottle of liquid medicine and let’s not only HEAL the body but PREVENT it from getting the cold or flu in the first place.

  • Black elderberries have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries, especially for flu symptoms.   There have been studies done to prove its effectiveness.  Also known to decrease inflammation.
  • Not only are black elderberries healthy, containing antioxidants and vitamins, they also taste delicious.
  • In our house we take black elderberry syrup daily as soon as the cold and flu season begins, usually beginning in October.  It can be taken by adults and children.
  • There are several brands to choose from, we use GaiaKids so that we have exact dosage needed for our toddler.  The dosage for adults is listed on the box as well.  Additionally, if you search the internet you can MAKE YOUR OWN black elderberry syrup, which can be very cost effective!

GaiaKids Black Elderberry Syrup


2. Bone Broth – Did you think I was going to suggest Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup?!?!?  Just to be clear why I wouldn’t,  you can check out the ingredient list below…monosodium glutamate, soy protein isolate…PLUS all the allergens!  NO thank you, we are trying to heal our bodies, not pollute them!!!

Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup

Taken from Campbell’s Soup website

Now, back to the DELICIOUS, healing, and nutrient filled bone broth.

  • My crunchy mamas out there would tell you the best bone broth is HOMEMADE!  Which I would absolutely agree, since you can choose your type of bones (chicken, turkey, etc…), add vegetables, vinegar, garlic, or spices.
  • One of my favorite recipes by Diane Sanfilippo can be found HERE.  I recommend making a double batch and freezing it to use during the entire cold and flu season.
  • In a pinch when you don’t have time to make your own, a good option is Pacific Foods Organic Bone Broth which comes in two different flavors – Chicken or Turkey.   To combat our colds this week I picked up a box of the Organic Turkey Bone Broth at Whole Foods and although not at as tasty as the homemade version it did help with the healing process.

Pacific Foods Organic Turkey Bone Broth

PF Turkey BB Ingredients

3. Young Living Thieves Oil – The absolute BEST essential oil blend for the cold and flu season.  I have raved about this essential oil blend before which you can read about HERE.  However, for times sake, here are the facts:

  • This blend dates back to the 15th century.  Thieves, who would rob the bodies of the dead, would cover themselves in oils to avoid getting the plaque.  In 1997, researchers studied the effects of these oils and found them to be a killing force against microorganisms.
  • Young Living Thieves Oil is a blend of Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus Radiata (safe for children) and Rosemary.  It is known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties.
  • During cold and flu season we use this oil a few ways:
    • For my husband and I, we apply one drop of Thieves oil neat (no carrier oil) to the bottom of our feet.  This can be at night before bed or throughout the day for best results.
    • For our toddler, we mix three drops of Thieves oil with one ounce of coconut oil then apply a dab to the bottom of each foot.  We keep the remaining to use for future applications.
    • Lastly we diffuse eight drops of Theives oil in about one cup of water in our electronic diffuser. Cleans the air as well as assists in the healing process.



YL Thieves

If you’d like more information on Young Living and/or how to become a Distributor (discounted oils and shipping) click HERE.

4. Badger Aromatic Chest Rub – First, let’s go back in time…when we were kids and that cold and flu bug hit the house.  Who didn’t get the rub down with the Vicks Vapor Rub?  It was the go to for my mom.  Obviously as a child I had no concern about the ingredients, I mean it was being sold in stores and everyone was using it.  I admit years later I still trusted that brand and kept a jar in my medicine cabinet, clueless to its contents.  How many of you have done the same?!?!  STOP…please take a look at not only the active ingredients but watch out for the INACTIVE ingredients as listed below…petrolatum, thymol, turpentine oil…again, NO thank you!

Vicks Vapor Rub Ingredients

Taken from Vicks.com Website

Ok, back to Badger Aromatic Chest Rub…SAFE and EFFECTIVE, I swear!!!  Made with organic ingredients as seen in the photo below.



  • Eucalyptus – Helps with any cough and nasal drainage, promotes normal breathing and gives this balm that energizing aroma.
  • Lavender – Antiseptic and antifungal properties, to rid the germs that have invaded the body and allow the healing process to begin.
  • Peppermint – Not only helps with respiratory issues, but also nausea and headaches which can occur when a cold or flu strikes.  Helps to reduce inflammation and has antiviral and anti-bacterial properties.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Keeps skin moisturized and super soft!!

5. NeilMed Sinus Rinse/Neti-Pot – You have to try it only ONCE to realize how much you love it!  I’ll admit years ago when I first got my NeilMed Sinus Rinse I looked at the box and thought you’ve got to be kidding me, I will NEVER use this.  It looked complicated and when feeling sick the last thing I needed was to deal with was rinsing my sinuses.  Fast forward to present day and this product has worked amazingly!!  So, ditch those nasal sprays that are filled with nasty chemicals!!

NeilMed Sinus Rinse

  • Not only works for colds and flus BUT also ALLERGIES!!!  In addition to my essential oil allergy trio (which you can read about HERE) that I apply behind my ears and base of neck, this has also saved me during the spring when the pollen arrives.
  • Now how to use it…Add premixed packets of sodium chloride (salt) and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) with purified water and deliver streams of the solution through the nasal passages.  Sound messy?  Yes, a bit.  However, the relief that is felt after is worth that little bit of mess.  I recommend definitely reading and following the instructions to make the whole process easier!
  • When sickness or allergies strike, using this twice a day can be very effective.  You can purchase at large retail stores or drugstores.
  • As stated on the NeilMed website – Preservative, Drug, Iodine, BPA, Gluten and Latex Free

The toxic burden that we are putting our bodies through on a daily basis and especially when we are sick can be changed.  You CAN choose safer and effective products that are HEALTHY for you!

Remember you design your days, so make each one count!

xoxo, Shane

Which alternative option are you ready to try?  What other natural ways do you beat the common cold and flu?  I’d love to hear your stories and feedback in the comments below.


Disclaimer: The information shared with you is based on my life experience, facts and research.  This information is not intended to diagnose, prevent or cure any illness or disease you may have contracted.  As I am not a doctor, I advise you to consult with your physician when it comes to information listed above if you are concerned.  Additionally, I will not be held liable for any loss or damages.  Thank you!

DIY Surprise… Sweet Dreams Foot Salve

Thankful for this new week, nothing like a clean slate to get those creative juices flowing!!  Well, instead of my Top 5 lists of awesomeness, I’m going to branch out and share a great do-it-yourself project this week.  I’ll be putting this one under “Health & Beauty” since a good, solid, no kids waking you up, spouse snoring, dreaming away sleep is not only healthy but also makes you feel beautiful!  Plus your feet will be soft and smooth, always flip-flop ready!  You guys out there will want to check this out too.  Of course this project does involve my Young Living Essential Oils, love, love, love!  So, let’s get to it!

Sweet Dreams Foot Salve

Items Needed:

  • Organic Coconut Oil – 1 cup
  • Organic Shea Butter – 1/2 cup
  • Young Living Essential Oils – 10 Drops Each Oil
  • Glass Pyrex Bowl
  • Double Boiler (Small Pot w/Glass Bowl)
  • Fridge/Freezer
  • Small Glass Containers – 1 oz Each
  • Labels & Printer – Avery Address Labels – 8160

How It’s Made:

1.  Measure out the 1 cup Organic Coconut Oil & 1/2 cup Organic Shea Butter in the Glass Pyrex Bowl, both will most likely be in solid form.  I use Whole Foods 365 Brand Organic Coconut Oil.  I use REFINED because it has less of a coconut smell and is being applied topically.  If I was going to ingest the coconut oil I would choose unrefined as this is in its purest form.

WF 365 Brand Organic Refined Coconut Oil

WF 365 Brand Organic Refined Coconut Oil

2.  In a Small Pot boil about 1 inch of water.  Once boiling, change temperature to lowest setting or simmer.  Place Glass Pyrex Bowl filled with Organic Coconut Oil & Organic Shea Butter on top of the Small Pot and melt down both substances to a liquid form.  This could take between 5-10 minutes.  I found that it takes longer for the shea butter to melt.

3.  Once both substances have melted, take the Glass Pyrex Bowl off the top of the Small Pot and set it aside to cool for about 20 minutes.   After it has cooled, add the Young Living Essential Oils.  I chose Lavender, Sacred Frankincense and Peace & Calming, which all promote relaxation, healing and rest.

Young Living Essential Oils Lavender, Sacred Frankincense, Peace & Calming

Young Living Essential Oils
Lavender, Sacred Frankincense, Peace & Calming

4.  After adding Young Living Essential Oils, stir to mix everything together then place the Glass Pyrex Bowl into the Freezer for 5 minutes or Fridge for 15 minutes.  After allotted time, the liquid should be getting hard on the edges as if to form back into a solid again, but the center should be more like the consistency of a raw egg.

5.  At this point take a fork and whisk the liquid, removing the harder pieces on the edges.  A paste will be formed since the mixture is still cold.  As it starts to warm up, it will take on a gel consistency.  It is now ready to be put into the 1 oz. Glass Jars.  I purchased these at The Container Store, my favorite organization store!!!  You can also find them online to purchase in bulk.

1 oz. Glass Jars  www.containerstore.com

1 oz. Glass Jars

6.  To fill the 1 oz. Glass Jars I use a fork, as the mixture is easy to manipulate because it is more solid from just whisking.  Make sure when filling the jars that all air bubbles are released, this will allow for more mixture to be used.  Once filled, take a damp cloth and wipe excess off the rim and seal with lid.

7.  Now it’s time to make these filled 1 oz. Glass Jars look pretty!  The labels that I chose are the Avery Address Labels – 8160 which were purchased at Staples.  The name, ingredients and directions for use have been typed onto the label.  Before applying the labels make sure the outside of the jars are clean and dry, free of any oily residue.

Sweet Dreams Foot Salve

Sweet Dreams Foot Salve

8.  Since I was giving these Sweet Dreams Foot Salves as gifts to some very special people in my life I added an extra touch, a verse card that tied around the lid.  There are several other ways to decorate these from labels on the lid to ribbon around the jar.

Sweet Dreams Foot Salve With Verse Card

Sweet Dreams Foot Salve With Verse Card

Hopefully this DIY Surprise project will inspire you to make your own version!  It was both easy and fun!

Remember you design your days, so make each one count!


What are some do-it-yourself health & beauty projects that have been successful for you?  I’d love to hear your stories and feedback in the comments below.


“List”en To Me…Top 5 Reasons To Use Essential Oils

We’ve reached another week, which means another Top 5!  I LOVE sharing my knowledge of essential oils as you can read HERE and HERE.  However, as excited as I am about them, I realized that to most people this is something very new and unfamiliar.  Even though essential oils have been around for thousands of years (I’m talking biblical times) in the past twenty years they have gone from only hippies would use them to being mainstream.  So, this week we are going to focus on the reasons to use them in the first place. Here it goes…

Top 5 Reasons To Use Essential Oils

1. Alternative To Conventional Medicine – This was my main reason to take the leap.  I’d been researching essential oils for over a year, since before getting pregnant.  Then after giving birth to my daughter the thought of polluting her newly formed body with medicine was just not an option. During that first year we went without any bouts of sickness however, on her first birthday it finally hit, we had a full on post nasal drip commonly known as a COLD, what????  That is when I finally put these Young Living essential oils to the test.  We used Thieves, Lavender and Eucalyptus and were given specific instructions of how to use them on a baby/toddler.  We waited patiently and within five days she was back to her regular healthy self.  Did it take longer for her to heal?  Absolutely, that is usually the case with any natural alternative options.  However, I had such peace of mind knowing that the oils were working in conjunction with the body to build up her immune system without ever worrying about side effects.  On that note, I always recommend reading and applying the safety guidelines for these essential oils which you can read about HERE.  Additionally, we have used Young Living essential oils for allergies, headache, upset stomach, cuts/bruises, in-grown nails, sinus congestion, diaper rash, the list goes on and on.  Now these conditions are fairly common, however, Young Living essential oils have been used in the treatment of several other conditions such as ADHD, autism, depression, Parkinson’s, PTSD and even cancer.

2. Physiological and Psychological – Now this is interesting…when essential oils are inhaled the molecules hit the brain which can instantly change your emotional state – your thought process, your mood, your attitude. As I am not an expert when it comes to the science behind it all, below is a graphic that explains how it works.  I have used Joy, Peace & Calming and Oola Balance with great success when needing to boost or adjust my emotional state, alleviate stress or reduce anxiety.


3.  Skin Rejuvenation – Don’t we all want glowing, healthy skin?!  We have to remember that as we age so does our skin, it’s a fact that wrinkles will inevitably happen.  However, there are several other skin conditions that we may come across as well, such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, acne, sun damage, even skin cancer.  For my dry, olive skin type, in the last ten years, I have encountered small bouts of acne, dry patches, broken capillaries on the cheeks and early on set rosacea from sun damage.  I had tried literally every product on the market from conventional to organic brands which led me to Ava Anderson Non-Toxic, which is safe, effective with no harmful chemicals or toxins.  Then when I started using Young Living essential oils and researched their healing benefits for the conditions listed above I was excited to put them to the test and incorporate them into my skin care regimen.  I currently use Frankincense for the brown spots and sun damage, applying this topically neat (no carrier oil) before moisturizing.  I then put a drop in my moisturizer before applying to my face. There has been a significant decrease in the color of the age spots, amazing results.  I also use Purification for acne breakouts & itching, applying this topically neat (no carrier oil).  The next morning the breakouts are gone and my face feels soft and smooth.

4. Pain Relief – From backaches, to broken bones, to sore joints, to headaches we have all experienced some form of physical pain.  Personally, I had a spinal fusion when I was twelve years old due to scoliosis.  My entire thoracic section of my spine is fused together with bars and wires.  Due to this, my neck and lower back have to work over time to compensate for that area.  Now my first line of defense when I feel aches and pain coming on is to exercise or walk, because for the body to stay fluid it needs to be stretched and moved, in addition to using cold packs to reduce the inflammation.  My next line of defense is my pain cream made with Young Living essential oils!!!  Let’s review the ingredients – 1/2 cup coconut oil, 15 drops of Valor, 10 drops of PanAway, 10 drops of Peppermint, 10 drops of Copaiba, then sometimes I’ll add Lavender or Stress Away.  I apply to the areas of pain, then apply it to the soles of feet for the specific location of pain as seen in the Vita-Flex chart below.  Not only do I sleep like a baby, I wake up feeling no pain and refreshed.  This pain cream has worked so well for me that I have given it to family and friends and they too have seen results.


5. Household Cleaners & Repellents – When was the last time you looked at the ingredients list on the back of your glass cleaner? Laundry detergent? Hand soap? Bug repellent?  Nine times out of ten the answer I get is NEVER!  I encourage you right now to go under your sink, in your laundry room and anywhere you keep these items and scan through that ingredient list.  Can you pronounce even one of the words listed other than water?  Do you know what those big words mean?  Most will likely be chemicals, irritants, carcinogens, essentially bad stuff that our bodies shouldn’t be exposed to.  When I first did this, I basically threw away everything under my sink!  Then when I got my oils from Young Living I figured out that the following oils could be used to make my own.  The first oil is Thieves since this oil is a blend of several oils that are considered to have antibacterial, antiseptic, antiviral and anti-infectious properties.  This can be used for cleaners, wipes, soap & hand sanitizer.  The next oil was Purification which is also a blend of oils that can neutralize odors, disinfect and soothe.  This can be used in cleaners and bug repellent.

Are you ready to take the leap now?  Hopefully my list has shown you how they can have an amazing, healthy impact on your life.  If you’d like more information on Young Living and/or how to become a Distributor (discounted oils and shipping) click HERE.

Remember you design your days, so make each one count!


If you are new to essential oils what are the reasons that you would start using them?  I’d love to hear your stories and feedback in the comments below.


Reference: Essential Oils Pocket Reference, Fifth Edition – May 2011 – Life Science Publishing

Disclaimer: The information shared with you is based on life experience, facts and research.  As I am not a doctor, I advise you to consult with your physician when it comes to information listed above as it is not intended to diagnose, prevent or cure any sickness or disease.  Additionally, I will not be held liable for any loss or damages.  Thank you!