Why We Should Be Avoiding Toxic Cleaners & A DIY Orange Vinegar How To –


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why are we still buying store-bought cleaners? Seriously, why! They are often expensive and can even be dangerous. Not to mention most of the time they simply are not necessary. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) many cleaners, even some labeled green or natural, have the potential to inflict serious harm on users.  They also present a severe (stop and reread that single word please) risk to children who may ingest them, spill them, or breathe in the fumes. We should know, without question, our children are the most susceptible to the toxins in these products due to their developing bodies.

When it comes to cleaning products many people believe there is government oversight of the industry. However, it remains largely unregulated. It is important to be an informed consumer, so let’s take a minute to look at a few terms that can be present on mass-produced cleaners and see exactly what they mean. This is a condensed version of an article prepared by the EWG. You will find the full post here.

Know Your Labels:

Antibacterial – the product contains pesticides that kill bacteria, viruses or molds. Pesticides are listed as “active ingredients” on the label. Avoid these cleaners, they are hazardous. They do not clean any better than plain soap and water nor do they provide extra protection against illness. What exactly do they do? They wash down the drain where they are often toxic to aquatic algae, fish, and wildlife. The overuse of products containing pesticides has also helped lead to the development of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

Biodegradable – these ingredients break down in the environment once they enter wastewater treatment plants, rivers and streams or landfills. Some ingredients do biodegrade quickly into harmless substances. Others linger in the environment for years or decompose into harmful contaminants.

Chlorine-free/Bleach alternative – does not contain chlorine bleach, but may contain oxygen bleach instead. Both are irritating or corrosive and must be handled with care. Chlorine bleach can release traces of harmful chlorine gas. Frequent users of chlorine bleach are at increased risk of developing asthma and other respiratory problems. EWG recommends avoiding chlorine bleach and using chlorine-free alternatives when necessary.

Corrosive/Caustic – can cause serious chemical burns to the skin, eyes or lungs. Bleach, oven cleaners and drain openers are primary offenders. Avoid these products at home, and keep them far from children’s reach.

Enzymes – these proteins are added to cleaners to help break down and remove soils and stains. Do not assume that enzymes are safe simply because they are natural. Also, be aware that boric acid, a chemical toxic to the reproductive system, is often added to stabilize enzymes in cleaning supplies.

So, are you ready to make the switch? You probably have everything you need to effectively clean your home in your pantry so let’s get started. Today’s DIY is Orange Vinegar. Use it and love it!

DIY Orange Vinegar:


Start with orange peels (you can use any citrus peels: lime, lemon, grapefruit, a blend). Remove all of the white junk you can and add them to a mason jar.


You can add essential oils (where to buy) now or after your vinegar has set. I add mine initially and again after it has set. I don’t know that there is a right or wrong, if you do please let me know. Choose any combo you’d like. I added Mel A (tea tree), Thieves, and Lavender. (Tip: Plant a garden and get creative this summer by adding sprigs of rosemary, mint, or basil. It is fantastic and you won’t miss those fancy cleaners one bit I promise).


Now, fill your mason jar to the top with vinegar. I don’t get fancy with vinegar, so use what you have and don’t stress. Now, put your lid on and give it a good shake.


Now it is time for patience my dear friends. Place this beauty on the counter and let it set for two-three weeks. The longer it sets the more potent it will become. Pick up the jar and give it a good swirl daily.

Two Plus Weeks Later 🙂 

This is such a fun project and it shows just how easy it is to naturally and effectively clean. Have fun with it and say goodbye to those toxic cleaners!

Oh friends, our patience has paid off and will now be rewarded! It has been almost three weeks since I started my orange vinegar and it is now officially ready to deep clean my house.

Your jar will contain peels and sediment.

Grab a strainer and bowl to separate peels and orange vinegar.


Pour into strainer, discard sediment and peels.

Return orange vinegar to jar and use as described above. You can also add additional essential oils at this point. Happy cleaning. This little secret will be your new best friend!

I use a 1:1 mix of water and orange vinegar for tough cleaning jobs and a 2:1 mix of water and orange vinegar for everyday cleaning.

Join us on FB for a Toxin Free Family Class. We’ll be talking natural substitutions and DIY solutions for everyday cleaning. Are you ready to detox your home with essential oils? Contact me today for more information.



Environmental Working Group (2012). Hall of shame. Retrieved from: http://www.ewg.org/cleaners/hallofshame/

Homemade Peppermint Dog Treats

If your dogs are like mine their breath can be a little on the undesirable side. My three-year olds always say “Bell Bell smells so stinky.” To which I say, worry not my furry friend, this is yet another instance where essential oils will come in handy. These two ingredient, three counting your oils, breath freshening dog treats are super easy to make and your dogs will love you for it. All you need is 2 cups of flour and 8 oz. of sweet potato puree (don’t want to make it yourself grab two jars of baby food). After your flour and purée is mixed add some peppermint oil and bake. Don’t have the time to make treats, add a tiny bit of peppermint oil to the top of your regular treats and banish that nasty breath. I also like to add a couple drops of peppermint to my dogs water bowl. So, yes using peppermint oil banishes bad breath, but more importantly it helps promote oral hygiene which translates into promoting overall wellness. 

You can find the full recipe for Two Ingredient Dog Treats here!

Homemade Dog Treats

The weather is warming up here and I’m so happy to see Spring! I also like to use peppermint oil to mix up this DIY Bug Spray. Grab your peppermint and purification, follow the simple steps below, and you have yourself a non-toxic bug repellent. Spray this on your dog (and yourself) every time they go outside to keep those nasty hitchhikers at bay.

DIY Bug Repellent:

  • 2 oz. Spray Bottle
  • Distilled Water
  • Witch Hazel – 1 tsp.
  • Peppermint Essential Oil – 10 drops
  • Purification Essential Oil – 10 drops

Add Witch Hazel and Essential Oils to spray bottle, swirl to mix. Fill with water, shake well, and use.

Want to learn more about using oils with your pet? Join us for our March 2nd Facebook Class, Essential Oils and Dogs. 

Disclaimer: I am not a Veterinarian. This information is based on my personal experience only and is not a substitute for appropriate vet care. Please contact your Veterinarian with any concerns. This information is intended to be used along with, not in place of, appropriate care.

Excited to incorporate Young Living’s Oils into your everyday life or want to join Living Brighter? Contact us today.

Oily Pets


, , , , , , ,

Essential Oils are a wonderful way for us to promote health and wellness. This is great news for us, but did you know essential oils can be just as beneficial to your pet? Introducing oils in our home has been just as helpful to Bella and Jake as it has been to us. I use oils daily with both of my dogs. So, essential oils don’t just benefit your human family members, but your furry ones, too! We’ll spend the next few blog posts talking about ways to incorporate essential oils into the everyday care of your pet.

I’ve been a little lazy lately and these two were beyond the point of needing a bath!  They finally got a good scrub down (we added Lavender and Peace & Calming to their shampoo to give them some itchy skin relief). The result, they smell great and they aren’t licking and scratching nearly as much as they were. Below you will find a calming shampoo recipe below. Another great idea you will find below is a DIY itch spray. This can be spritzed onto your dog anytime they need relief.

Calming Shampoo:

2 oz. bottle
Castile Soap
5 drops Lavender
5 drops Peace and Calming
Add all ingredients to bottle and mix well.

DIY Itch Relief:

2 oz. spray bottle
10 drops Lavender
1 tsp Witch Hazel
Distilled Water
Add Witch Hazel and lavender to spray bottle. Add distilled water, shake to mix and spritz. Remember to shake before each use. You can easily turn this DIY recipe into a Calming Spritz by adding Peace and Calming (1-2 drops) to the mix!

Lavender – Great for itching, skin issues, and wounds. Has a calming effect.

Peace and Calming
Peace and Calming – Great for occasional nervousness and car rides. Place a drop on your dog’s collar or bedding to help promote calm!

Want to learn more about oils and pets? Join our March 2nd FaceBook class, Essential Oils and Dogs

Disclaimer: I am not a Veterinarian. This information is based on my personal experience only and is not a substitute for appropriate vet care. Please contact your Veterinarian with any concerns. This information is intended to be used along with, not in place of, appropriate care.

Contact us today!

For more information on Young Living Essential Oils or to join the Living Brighter Team contact us today!

March Classes Are Up!


, , , , , , , , , , ,

Our March classes are up and ready to go. We will be covering some fun topics this month. Head on over to the Embrace Life, Live Well Facebook Page. When there go to events, pick your classes, and click going to join us.

March Classes

Detox Your Home With The Swap Dare


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Detox Your Home

Let’s play a little game! A swap dare. This is just a small portion of the things I have switched out. It’s so easy to clean up your home and life with chemical free alternatives. These are all things I would normally be buying elsewhere so I’m not adding to my budget, just shopping smarter. I’ve noticed a huge difference in my health since making these changes!

Candles/Air Fresheners/Scentsy’s → Essential Oils and diffuser
Soap and Body Wash → DIY Castile Body Wash/ Thieves Bar Soap
Kids Shampoo/Body Wash/Lotion → KidScents Products
Face Wash/Toner/Lotion → All DIYs costing about $5 a month
Probiotic → Life 9
Icy Hot → Cool Azul
Hand Soaps → DIY foaming hand soap or Thieves Hand Soap
Dish Soap → Thieves Dish Soap
Cleaners → ALL DIY made with Vinegar or Thieves Cleaner
Carpet Freshener → Baking Soda and Oils
Dryer Sheets → Wool Dryer Balls and Oils
Detergent → Thieves Detergent
Fabric Softener→ Vinegar and Oils
ToothPaste → Thieves Toothpaste and Slique Toothpaste
Mouthwash/Floss → Thieves Mouthwash and Floss
Deodorant → Purification and Thieves Toothpaste
Energy Drinks → Ningxia Red
Spices/Flavoring → Vitality Oils

This is just the beginning! I could list so many more. These swaps have detoxed our home and they save me big money each month. I put these in my monthly box order and get 25% back each month to spend whenever I want! I can guarantee you will be in love with your new, healthy lifestyle. The only regret you’ll have is not doing it sooner!

If you’re interested in simplifying your life? Join our Detox Your Home Facebook Class. We’ll be talking hidden toxins, simple solutions, and DIYs for a safe, toxin-free home!



DIY Doggie Paws Salve


, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Do your dogs love snow as much as mine do? They’ve been pretty  excited about the whole deal, really. We rarely get snow so it’s big time! Supposedly, we’re on track for ice this weekend. I  am hoping it stays far, far away, but I’ll still be heading to the store loading up on salt. As much as our pups love the snow, weather extremes can be hard on their paws. This DIY Puppy Paws Salve is easy to make and protects their feet from such a harsh environment. Try it out, your dogs will thank you! As always, I exclusively recommend and use Young Living Essential Oils.



Let’s Get Real


, , , , , ,

There are times that we must have difficult conversations. Sure the truth hurts, but when the truth is spoken out of love it can help us identify areas of concern and the need for change. If you have a person in your life who is willing to lovingly speak truth, you would be wise to keep them around. As difficult as it may be, it is one of the most loving things we can do.

I have never lived life as a sedentary individual. Still, I spent a vast majority of my time not feeling well despite my activity level. For years I experienced debilitating cluster headaches and migraines, body aches and joint pain, extreme fatigue, and infertility. I visited physicians and specialists, took my medications, followed treatment plans, and never got better. In fact, I continued to feel worse and my health continued to decline.

So, who finally spoke truth into my life, my sister. And what she had to say was exactly what I needed to hear: you can seek out every physician and take every medication that may even remotely help your situation, but until you are willing to take responsibility for your health and realize what you are putting into your body is making you sick you will NEVER get better. Now, I am a medical professional and I spent a great deal of time on this fancy education so yes, that hurt. What was even more devastating to me was the realization that I worked in a field that did not promote or fully believe in the body’s ability to heal itself. Sure, I knew nutrition was important, but did I share this with my patients? Sadly, no. For this reason, and a few others that I may share another day, I made the hard choice to leave emergency nursing. I have since focused my time and energy on helping others achieve wellness.


My beautiful sister and I after the 2014 Omaha Half-Marathon.

So, why am I sharing this story? It has been on my heart for a while now. I love that people desire wellness and so many people have reached out to me in hopes to change their life and health. Over the years I have tried to kindly point out the importance of diet and lifestyle, but I am afraid I have not been forward enough so here is the hard, honest truth:

Until we decide to stop abusing our bodies we will never be well. Until we decide to break our love affair with food we will never be well. Until we stop our habit of being emotional eaters we will never be well. Until we begin to search out answers and take responsibility for our health we will never be well. Until we realize our daily choices have tremendous impact on our future we will never be well.

But, (here comes the ugly part) as much as we want to be well we do not want hard, we do not want anything that even remotely requires putting forth effort, we do not want to make changes to our diet even though it could radically change our lives. We do not want to take the time to exercise. We are far too tired, busy, and complacent. We want to drink soda, eat processed food, and complain because it’s easy and it’s comfortable. Still, we want a quick fix and we want it now. In the end, we spend our lives wishing we felt better and refusing to hear change is up to us.

I understand this is a bit radical, but why not? I also understand some people are just unlucky and no amount of clean eating or exercise will ever restore natural balance or health and for that I am truly sorry. But, for the remainder of us (which mind you, is the majority of us) it is time to get up and aggressively pursue change. Today, I urge you to take full responsibility for yourself and your health. Do not let sickness and illness define you for one more second. It is time you understand wellness is up to you. You need to believe you can change your life, because I’m here to tell you, you can. It’s not easy and it’s not always fun, but the journey is so worth the hurt.

Spend the time to watch this TED video. It is short and powerful!


How To Make Stove Top Popcorn Your Family Will Love


How to Make Stovetop Popcorn

Did you know microwave popcorn is FULL of chemicals. That smell may be satisfying, but it can also be harmful. In fact, the chemicals in microwave popcorn have been linked to lung disease in individuals working in factories that produce this quick snack. That’s enough for me to say no thanks. Ditch that chemical laced bag of kernels and go for the real deal. Stove top popcorn is easy and fun!

You’ll Need:

1 tbsp. Coconut Oil
½ cup popcorn kernels
Himalayan Sea Salt
Large pan with lid

Add coconut oil, sea salt, and popcorn to large pan…cover your pan with the lid. Turn stove on high, start shaking, and be prepared to get your arm workout in for the day. I continue moving my pan until I hear no more popping. Remove from heat, place immediately into bowl, and enjoy! Spice things up by adding essential oil to the mix. My choices are usually dill or cinnamon. I add my essential oils before the popping process.

Side note – I’ve tried adding kernels to cool and hot oil. I get better results and fewer unpopped kernels when I do not let my oil warm up first.


The Ultimate Homemade Conditioner


, , , , , , , , , , , ,


We have had quite the struggle at our house the last few months. My girls outright refuse to let me near them with a brush and every morning consists of them crying and running from me. In turn, I end up holding them down and quickly running a brush through their hair. In the end I’m totally frustrated and their hair looks like a total mess. I’ve tried various conditioners and leave-ins, but their hair stayed tangled and they left a build up on their scalp.

So, I have stopped wasting my money on store-bought conditioners (because they do not work and I would rather avoid their long list of ingredients anyway) and started making this Homemade Conditioner. This DIY conditioner is easy to make and has drastically improved the appearance and condition of their hair. There’s no more flaky build up, less tangles, lots of shine, and NO nasty chemicals.

You will need:


Add warm water, apple cider vinegar, Vitamin E, Glycerin, and essential oils to your spray bottle. Give it a good swirl and shake to blend. Use this Homemade Leave In Conditioner after shampooing or as a morning detangling spray. You can swap the suggested essential oils in this blend for your favorites. My girls attend a Kids Day Out program so I use Lavender and Rosemary to promote a healthy scalp. Making your conditioner in these smaller batches means you can switch it up often. This recipe hasn’t changed the chaotic morning routine at our house, but their hair sure looks nice!


Are you ready to get started on this oily journey? Let’s chat today!

Eight Homemade Gift Ideas for the Holiday Season


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Homemade Gift Ideas

I LOVE the holiday season. Decorations, hot chocolate, family time, Christmas parties. The list goes on and on. It’s the perfect time for making memories. Another of my favorite things, homemade gifts! Something as simple as a homemade gift can open up someone’s world, you guys! I love using homemade gifts to show others DIY is easy, affordable, and (most importantly) doable. So, try these homemade gifts ideas this holiday season and show your friends the simple life is fun and healthy.


img_3369 img_3427 img_3428 img_3429 img_3430 img_3431


Ready to get started on this oily journey? Let’s Talk today!