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The Eyes Have It

Wanna know a secret? I don’t remember being all that into makeup as a teen or even in my twenties or thirties. At 48 though, I love me some lashes, high-quality brushes, and all the clean makeup I can get my hands on!!! Speaking of clean make-up, these three palettes from Savvy Minerals by Young Living are as clean as eyeshadow gets. Did you know the US bans only 11 common toxic ingredients found in personal care products? The EU bans 1,328. Another popular direct sales beauty company bans 1,500. Savvy Minerals by Young Living BANS 2,500!!! I love all […]

One-Minute Cinnamon Coffee Cake

A few weeks back, Tom and I went out for brunch at an award-winning restaurant here in downtown Minneapolis. One of the menu items we oohed and ahhed over was a gluten-free cinnamon coffee cake. Oh my word, was it ever good. I bet Tom that I could make my own version that was just as good AND eliminate the sugar and carbs. So, I did. Cinnamon Coffee Cake Prep Time: 2 MinutesCook Time: 1 MinuteYields: 1 Serving A healthy alternative to cinnamon coffee cake. Dry Ingredients 1/4 c Blanched Almond Flour 2 T Vanilla Protein Powder (I use this one) 1 […]

How To Create Personalized Sign-Up Link

One of the things I think all new members need, as they get started on their YL journey is their sign-up link. It is more likely they will share with their mother, brother, sister, friend, co-worker, etc. if they have it. If they have to figure out how to find it, shorten it, and personalize it themselves, the likelihood of them doing it is slim to none. The simpler we can make the sharing process the more success we are going to have. Here is how I create personalized sign-up links using Bitly. I hope this […]

How To Clean Your Makeup Brushes

Truth be told, I am not the hygiene queen when it comes to keeping my makeup brushes nice and clean. Which is why I am so excited about these two new products our company just launched — Solid Brush Cleaner and Silicone Cleansing Pad. Now, I have no excuses for not cleaning my brushes. How To Clean Your Makeup Brushes Wet your brush, making sure to wet only the bristles and not the handle Swirl the bristles into the brush cleaner Swirl the bristles again against the surface of the cleansing pad Rinse the brush Repeat if necessary Reshape brush […]

Dear Dad

Last week you gave us a scareBut with some tender-loving careYour heart is on the mend We all knew it wasn’t the endYou’ve got fish to catch, golf to playAnd family and friends to visit every dayWe’re all so glad you’re alive Celebrating seventy-five!!! Happy Birthday Dad!!! ????????????,Your Tessie Bird Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on Facebook and help me wish my dad a happy […]

Happy Easter 2019

We were blessed to have our little buddy Asher this weekend. Took him to an Easter egg hunt at the park yesterday as well as his first visit to the driving range. This morning we woke to a path of purple eggs that ended at his Easter basket. Breakfast, shower, and brushed our teeth twice and Asher was ready for church with his other grandparents. Tom and I went for a walk to a favorite breakfast spot/coffee shop, then back home to start cooking our Easter dinner. The Romero Family arrived around 3 pm for a traditional ham dinner. Afterward, […]

Cheers to You

The sun is shining and it’s +70 degrees F in Minnesota. This is one of my all-time fave spring/summer after dinner drinks. Caffeine-free Zevia Cola (sweetened with Stevia) and a few drops Lime Vitality. If you want to liven up the party, a splash of vodka is yummy!!! Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

The Only Place I Want To Be

I was laying in bed with Asher last night — he was long asleep and I was just drifting off. Tom came in and said, “your dad had a heart attack.” All I heard was “heart attack” and “dad.” I thought he said his dad. I immediately sat up, and he handed me the phone, it was my sister. Then it clicked. My dad. My dad had a heart attack. He will be in the hospital through the weekend and on Monday they’ll do an angiogram to assess heart damage and then we will go from there. We’ve been hanging […]

Soak Your Strawberries

Every year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes a shopper's guide to pesticides in produce. The clean fifteen are those foods with the lowest pesticide residue and the dirty dozen the highest. When enjoying foods from the dirty list, buy organic when possible and always be sure to wash your produce. I use Thieves Fruit & Veggie Soak. I picked up these gorgeous organic strawberries (you'll notice they are #1 on the dirty dozen list below) from Costco yesterday. I gave them a quick bath and cleaned them up — all ready for snacking on this week!!! Nearly 70% of […]

Crying Over a Game of Dominoes

The other morning I found myself sitting at our dining room table crying over a game of dominoes. I wasn't sad per se. Well, maybe a little, but for the right reason. I had asked Tom if he had talked to his parents recently. He responded that he had. The obvious next question, was, well, how are they doing. His reply was what made me cry. When he had talked with his mom she had said something along the lines of the two of them (his parents) not getting along that day. Now, I realize that after being married for […]

April 2019 HLWEO Rally Recap

April 2019 HLWEO Rally Recap Every quarter, tens of thousands of Young Living members come together for member-hosted rallies. From in-home meetings, to hotel gatherings, to "online" events like ours, we come together on the same day, to share our common passion...Young Living Essential Oils. Rally Livestream Celebrating 25 Years Dream 1000 New Market Opening Young Living Foundation Update 5x5 Zero Waste Goal New Products International Grand Convention When I Think of Young Living Barb SnodgrassMember Since March 2014When I think of Young Living, I think of health and healing because in the 5 years I’ve been a member that’s […]

Goodbyes Always Make Me Cry…

…and saying goodbye to the yellow brick road was no different. Elton John put on a fantastic farewell show in Minneapolis as part of his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour. I love that I got to experience it with my best friend and sister Camille and my son Brodrick Romero from the 14th row. At one point during the show, Sir Elton John had a heart-to-heart chat with the audience. He shared his struggles and encouraged the audience to never be ashamed to reach out for help. That made me cry too!!! Here's a Spotify playlist I made of most […]

Two-Minute Banana Bread Muffin

Our grandson loves bananas, which means we often have an overly ripe one sitting on our counter. Lately, I've been craving banana bread and thought I'd try my hand at a two-minute “banana bread” type muffin. As the kitchen gods would have it, my first attempt turned out quite delicious if I do say so myself. I love sharing my daily life, healthy lifestyle tips, favorite finds, new (and old) recipes like this two-minute banana bread muffin, and fun shenanigans via Instastories. If you don't already, follow me on the gram. Two-Minute Banana Bread Muffin Prep Time: 3 minutesBake Time: 2 […]

Sixty-Hundred Dollars

“I love my grandma sixty-hundred dollars to the moon and back.” -Asher, 4 yo We spent our Valentine’s Day together playing Nerf guns, trucks, and hot tubbing. You know, every 4-year-old’s favorite things. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. What did you do to celebrate love??? Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

PSK At A Glance | Peppermint

PSK At A Glance | Peppermint Peppermint essential oil increases energy, relieves nausea, improves concentration, clarity, and focus. Peppermint is invigorating and stimulating. Peppermint essential oil also supports appetite control and healthy weight management and relieves occasional nausea and motion sickness. Peppermint essential oil can be used aromatically, topically, and internally. Vitality essential oils (white label) and their non-vitality (colored label) counterpart have the same essential oil inside the bottle. Vitality oils are labeled for internal use and non-vitality for aromatic and topical use. Testimonials "I put Peppermint in my diffuser necklace to help keep me alert throughout the day." […]

PSK At A Glance | 15-Day Challenge

Peppermint increases energy, relieves nausea, improves concentration, clarity, and focus. [Continue reading...] Lemon supports the body's natural detox process and promotes emotional well-being. [Continue reading...] Thieves supports overall wellness, a healthy immune system, and is one of Young Living's most popular products. [Continue reading...] Citrus Fresh amplifies creativity and adds a clean fresh scent to any environment. [Continue reading...] DiGize provides relief from occasional heartburn and alleviates stomach discomforts. [Continue reading...] Raven maintains feelings of easy breathing while minimizing the effects of season changes. [Continue reading...] Valor balances emotional energy and instills courage, confidence, and self-esteem. [Continue reading...] PanAway reduces […]

Healthy Brownies

Unbeknownst to me, Tom recently ordered some Paleo brownies online. And when they came, I said, “Honey, I can make these healthy brownies, probably better.” He said the brownies he bought were dry and not very appealing. So, that was my challenge for this Saturday morning. To make a healthy brownie that was better than the ones he bought. I love sharing my daily life, healthy lifestyle tips, favorite finds, new (and old) recipes like these healthy brownies, and fun shenanigans via Instastories. If you don't already, follow me on the gram. Healthy Brownies Prep Time: 5 minutesBake Time: 30 minutesYields: […]

Being Creative

Anytime, I feel my creativity waning, I take a step back and assess two things: How much time have I spent (1.) scrolling on social media and (2.) in silence? These two things alone have a dramatic effect on how creative I am. You've probably heard the famous Theodore Roosevelt quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Comparison also steals your creativity. The more time we spend on social media scrolling (versus commenting, connecting, and conversing with others) the more likely our brain will get hijacked. And when our brain gets hijacked, we start assessing ourselves against others. Bottom Line. […]

My Top 10 Amazon “Buy It Agains” for 2018 That Are Not Boring

207. That's the number of Amazon orders we placed in 2018. It doesn't include the orders we placed for groceries and other “must have them right now” items via the Amazon Prime Now mobile app. Our first order of the year was on January 3, 2018. It was for trash bags, dog food, and wind-up chomping teeth. Similar but not the same, we also bought dog poop bags, coffee filters, and emoji beach balls in January. As I scroll through our orders for the year, I see lots of toilet paper, books, and underwear (both men's and toddler sizes). We […]
Read more » My Top 10 Amazon “Buy It Agains” for 2018 That Are Not Boring

I May or May Not Have BO

Hello, I'm Vanessa. I once had someone tell me they did not like my purple hair, said it was for the birds. My nickname is Birdie. I like ketchup but hate tomatoes. I've been known to leave up our Christmas tree well into February. My second toe is longer than my first, which according to my foot reading, means I am creative and bossy. I live in the Land of 10,000 Lakes but swimming in them gives me the heebie-jeebies. My ears do hang low, well my earlobes do anyways. Even though I adore coffee, I rarely finish a cup. […]

If I Only Had Seven Good Years Left

I am about the same age today, that my mom was in this picture. She had seven “good” years left before the symptoms of Lewy Body disease started to show and would slowly take her life. I've thought about this a lot lately; am I living my life in such a way, if I only had seven “good” years left, would I have no regrets? Am I focusing on the people and things that really matter? Am I expressing my gratitude each day for blessings big and small? Am I saying yes when I mean yes and no when I […]

What Are You Doing for Others

“Life's most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?”” — Martin Luther King, Jr. I don't know about you, but sometimes in the busyness of life, I often forget just how simple it can be to serve others. It doesn't have to take a lot of time or even money to be a difference maker in someone's life. I jotted down these 25 ideas in my journal today to keep them front and center. What would you add to the list? 1. Smile 2. Open/hold the door 3. Give a ride 4. Pay the tab 5. Be a listening ear 6. […]

Only Dead Fish Go with the Flow

I once showed up at an event in a cute and trendy maxi-dress even though I was supposed to be wearing a branded t-shirt. I hate “most” t-shirts. They are rarely flattering, especially the unisex style with a high neckline. They make busty women like me, look like we have a uni-boob. When I turned forty, I gave up my battle with clothes, making the decision to only buy/wear clothes that flattered my body type and made me feel good when I wore them. Boxy t-shirts do not make me feel good. Before the event, I wrestled with the t-shirt in […]


Hello, I'm Vanessa I once had someone tell me they did not like my purple hair, said it was for the birds. My nickname is Birdie. Sometimes, The Bird. I am a Christ-follower, wife, mother, grandmother, business owner, city slicker, purple lover, and health nut. Learn more about me. Read My Blog I blog about healthy living; from food freedom to financial freedom and everything in between. My hope is to inspire you to live healthy, love intently, and lead purposefully. Oh yeah, and to have a little (or a lot of) fun along the way! Read my blog. Let's Be Friends […]

You’re a VIP!

Hey there! Thanks so much for becoming a VIP. I am honored to be connected with you. I know you get tons of emails and your time is precious. That's why you'll only hear from me when I've got something super valuable to share. Let's stay connected on Facebook and Instagram too. In Health & With […]

How I Healed from Adrenal Fatigue

How I Healed from Adrenal Fatigue Hello, I'm Vanessa. Christ-follower, wife, mother, grandmother, business owner, city slicker, purple lover, and health nut. I have two adult sons, one grandson, one furbaby, and one handsome husband. This is my story of how I healed from adrenal fatigue. My Passion is Helping Others Continually staying up-to-date with current research in nutrition, health, and wellness is my crazy obsession. For many years this passion, combined with my innate empathy and strong desire to help others, was my career. I worked as a fitness professional, coaching individuals in achieving better physical health through nutrition […]

Beautiful Bottles

I had these custom 5-ml essential oil bottles with amethyst gemstone roll-ons made to give as gifts to our HLWEO team members. The minimum order size was more than I needed, so I'm selling the overstock in my HLHT Shop. • Purple is Pantone 16-3817 – Rhapsody• Amethyst gemstone roll-on varies in color• Cap is a matte silver Perfect for making essential oil blends. 10% off when you buy 10 or more […]

Beauty from Ashes

Our (court) order includes a holiday schedule. We get our little buddy on Christmas, they get him on Christmas Eve. When you say it that way, it seems so, oh, I don’t know, legal. Which it is and it isn’t. Anyways, a few weeks before Christmas I felt it in my spirit to invite them (his other grandparents) over to open presents with us on Christmas Day. And they said yes!!! It was everything I hoped it would be. Tom and I, our two boys (one of them is the daddy), my dad, our little buddy, and his other grandparents […]

Mugs Matter

I love a good mug. Handle has to fit at least two fingers. Three is even better. Purple takes it to another level. However, what makes this mug my new favorite, besides the fact it was gifted to me by an amazing mentor and friend… Is that the purchase of this mug provides 56 meals for those who might otherwise go hungry. You see, extremely poor families in Haiti mix clay with water, oil and salt to create a clay cookie to fill stomachs of their desperately hungry children. By transforming the clay into mugs that can be sold, Haitians […]

Just Say No

As of late, I’ve had several conversations with friends who are so overwhelmed because they can’t say no. I get that it feels good to be needed by others. However, saying no to one thing, actually means you are saying yes to something else. Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Thanksgiving Blessing

On Thanksgiving, it’s only appropriate to share my favorite mealtime blessing, courtesy of my dad. “Father, Son, Holy Ghost, bless the one who eats the most.” Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Lady Lumberjack

Finished out our fall axe throwing season tonight with a third place win in our region and top 50 in the nation!!! Who knew I had a little lady lumberjack in me!!! Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Goin’ to the Chapel

Or should I say courthouse and we’re gonna get married!!! Yes, we did. Fifteen years ago, Tom Nikkola and I (without telling anyone) got married at the courthouse. With our witnesses, Best Man and Maid of Honor, and wedding party, Ken and Kim Wallisch, by our side we said, “I do!!!” Thank you, Ken and Kim, for standing up for us and your friendship that has stood the test of time!!! Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Sunsets are Proof

It’s been cloudy and raining pretty much every day since we moved into our new apartment. Which made last night’s sunset even more special, being it was the first we’ve seen. The sun moved quick as it was setting, but I think I caught a pretty good shot!!! “Sunsets are proof that no matter what happens, every day can end beautifully.” Kristen Butler Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Twenty-One Months Ago

On Tom’s 40th birthday, we learned of a little boy named Asher. We knew he was our grandson the moment we laid eyes on him. He came to us as if he knew too. In the past twenty-one months, we’ve become family, not only with Asher, but with his great-grandparents, who he lives with. Today, we entered the courtroom together, and our temporary order was moved to permanent record. We feel incredibly blessed and honored to be part of this little guy’s life. It goes without saying…we love him soooooo stinkin’ much. Thank YOU to everyone who has prayed for […]

Lesson Learned

I just realized that Facebook has deleted all of my FB Live videos from the past few months. My #keto Costco haul is gone. My Mother's Day message is gone. My Wild Blueberry Scone recipe is gone. Coffee talk with Tom & Vanessa is gone. Along with many, many, more gone. Lesson learned. Always download your videos after posting if it's content you want to keep. Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on Facebook. What You Need to Know About Keto Ebook   The keto diet has attracted many followers for good reason.  It's an effective tool for blood sugar management […]

Boys & Band-Aids

“Stay right there Grandpa Tom,” Asher yelled, as he ran to the kitchen to get the Band-Aids. Grandpa Tom had stepped on a carpet tack and his foot was bleeding. Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Someone Helped You

Tom and I were recognized for achieving a new rank at our company's annual convention last week. It felt weird to me for two reasons, one, he wasn't with me to walk the stage and two, the recognition really belongs to our team (not us as individuals). Every member of our team matters and adds value. Whether they are a rockstar recruiter, happy product user, powerful prayer warrior, or a leader themselves. I thank God for blessings us with an amazing business but even more so, for hand picking each one of these beYOUtiful people to be part of our HLWEO […]

Flying Trapeze

They say you should “do one thing every day that scares you.” Surely this counts for a year of fear because this scared the shizzz out of me!!! My final swing from our 90-minute lesson today at Twin Cities Trapeze. P.S. I apologize for the butt shot climbing the ladder. Tom was recording. Go figure. Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Quiet Please

On the final day of the convention, we had an impromptu gathering at a local SLC restaurant before the closing party. We initially made the reservation for 10, then called and made it for 20. When I arrived, the dining room was empty with the exception of those from our team who got there early. Within 10-15 minutes we had +50 gathered around several tables we pulled together. We filled “almost” the entire space. At our member appreciation dinner the night before, we introduced everyone to a fun dice game. As we ordered and waited for dinner, we decided to […]

Man Up

When Tom and I met in the fall of 2002, Jacob and Brodrick were six and eight. In our almost 15 years of marriage, he has never referred to them as “my” kids. He has always loved them as “our” sons. Tom has been their rock, raising them to keep their word, be responsible, show respect, have integrity, use discernment, and be disciplined. He has shown them daily how to be a man of great character, a father, and a husband by loving, respecting, and sometimes even defending their mother. Our boys are beyond blessed to call Tom their dad. He didn't […]

Social Media Break

I took a social media break while at our company's annual convention. Which may seem weird all things considered. With four workshops to teach over three days, I found myself in a place where I needed to just be present. I spent a lot of time with friends who fill me up and not with the masses. Can you say introvert? Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Just Say No

My middle name is perseverance. Actually, it’s Rae after my father and grandfather. But, that’s neither here nor there. Growing up, any time I asked my dad for something, didn’t matter what it was, his first response was always NO. It was often his second and third response too. I had to work for my yeses. In our business, many people take the noes they receive personally and quit. Not me. Every no I get means I am one step closer to a yes. And for that, I thank my dad. Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Stretched & Scared

I'm sitting in a fancy hotel room in Park City all alone. If I weren't holding them back, tears would be falling down my face. Tom and I just got back from a beautiful hike, he ordered me coffee, then went to the gym. Tomorrow, we head to Salt Lake City as our team members arrive for our company convention this week. We are being recognized this year on stage for a new rank and I am a workshop presenter. Only, Tom won't be by my side. He's flying home on Wednesday to hang out with our little buddy, our grandson, […]


We've driven under this pedestrian bridge countless times going in and out of the city. It is “the” place where photographers hang out to take skyline pics of our beautiful city. And last night on our evening bike ride, after “missing” a turn on our path home, we ended up going over it. This morning, we found out the bridge is being torn down. It was more than worth carrying our bikes up several flights of stairs to get across the freeway. I mean…LOOK AT THAT VIEW!!! Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Basic Black or Navy & Lilac

…that is the question??? Black is 99% of the time my color of choice. It’s classy and elegant. The navy and lilac is FUN and a little less modest than I prefer, with it being low cut and some air vents on the side. And I am 47 after all. Help a sister out!!! P.S. Don’t mind my hair, I’ve had a hat on all day. Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on Facebook. P.S. I went with the Navy & […]

Let Your Light Shine

When I started blogging, I had no idea what I was doing or what to expect. I just knew I had a passion for helping people and I had value to offer. I loved on my readers, and they loved on me back. That is until I got my first mean comment. And then another. And another. At some point, when your online presence grows big enough, mean people will find you and, well, be mean to you. To say, “I wasn’t prepared,” is an understatement. I had to decide how I would handle the mean people on the internet when […]

We Got Into a Fight

…and everything is alright!!! I get upset when I feel I am not being understood. Tom gets upset when he feels he isn't being respected. I talk louder and he shuts down. When it comes to fighting, what we've learned after almost 15 years of marriage is the issue is never really the issue. This weekend we went for a bike ride, out and about exploring new bike paths around Minneapolis. As we navigated around a local lake, we got off the bike path and got on a busy street to go a different direction. Since I am slower than Tom, […]

Two Things

1. Good morning The sun woke me at exactly 5:59 am. The earth is tilted in just the right position so that when the sun rises it shines right on my face. Not a shabby way to wake up I say. Much better than an annoying sounding alarm clock. Yuck. I love the morning hours. It’s often my most productive and creative time of the day. That is as long as I get enough sleep. Mornings are like a clean slate. And we get a new one every day or is it everyday? Love it. 2. I love this hat […]

Sounds of the City

“Some people” might consider the sounds of the city stressful. As I sit here with my coffee, I hear… the light rail dinging its bell, the engines of buses and cars revving, sirens from emergency vehicles, construction workers pounding, the whir of air exchange systems. I am not “some people.” This is my peaceful and happy place. Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Dine & Dash

On Mother's Day, Tom and I rode our new bikes to Uptown Minneapolis to have dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. As we approached, it was evident by the line out the door, there might be a wait. To our surprise, we were seated almost immediately on the patio. There was a young family behind us, mom, dad, two children. I'm guessing between 4-6 years of age. It was very clear, based on their very loud conversation, they were not happy with the service or the food. Shortly after we were seated, the woman called the server over and […]

You Matter

You matter even more than you know. And someone, somewhere, is waiting for you to show up today!!! It’s not the whoIt’s not the doIt’s not the where, what, whyIt’s what you believe And this is what I believe. Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

A Poem About Lilacs

Tom and I went for a bike ride this afternoon and came upon the most beautiful lilac bushes at a local park. I was inspired to write a poem about them. Stop and smell the lilacs.Count your blessings along the way.Stop and smell the lilacs.It will bring joy to your day.Stop and smell the lilacs.There's time to work and time to play.Stop and smell the lilacs.Take pause and pray. Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Use Your Words

In the heat of a meltdown, tantrum, or overwhelm, three words that mommas everywhere have said to their whining toddler, “use your words.” Words carry meaning, express emotion, convey a message. We teach our children from the time they are little to “use your words.” Then school comes along, and they learn how to put their words into writing. To tell a story, share an opinion, sell an idea. Now, I am not a good writer or even a gifted writer. In fact, writing is a laborious process for me. It can take me days to craft a paragraph that […]

Rest in Peace

It doesn't matter how you use them or if you diffuse them. If essential oils are in your home, then you have benefited from Gary Young's vision and relentless drive to heal the world. And while many have hopped on the bandwagon for profit, his was a higher calling. One of purpose. He isn't my father or even my friend. He is the man responsible for the modern day essential oil movement. A movement that has provided my family with the freedom to live life by design and not by default. There are no words for the gratitude that fills […]

Give Up Being a Caterpillar

I am reading a book called Secrets of Six-Figure Women. The author interviewed women who make six-figure incomes (or more), in different industries with various backgrounds, and shares seven success strategies that are common among them. Strategy number one is that of INTENTION; a determination to act in a certain way. While most of these financially successful women denied money was their end goal, they also knew it would take dollars to make their dreams possible. And were DETERMINED to do so. When I started my business, our youngest son was a senior in high school. I graduated from college […]

When You Have a Bad Day

Every once in a great while, I wake up with this weird feeling. My body is overcome with fatigue, it’s usually accompanied by a tension headache and my right eye gets watery. Always my right eye. When it occurs, I immediately know when I wake up. I get “the feeling.” Today, was one of those days. It started with my right eye watering. I chalked it up to sitting outside this morning and drinking my morning coffee. Only by mid-afternoon, the headache was in full swing. And at 5 pm instead of going for a bike ride as planned, I […]

New Bike

I am pretty sure my mom was about my age when she decided she was going to take up bike riding. She went and got herself a nice 3-speed bike and then shortly thereafter my dad got one and they would go bike riding on the Gateway Trail. Today, I officially became my mother. Although my bike has a few more speeds and a basket to boot. Oh yeah, and Tom got a bike too!!! Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Pout Pout Fish

Listen, we all have pout pout fish in our life. They bring us down every time they swim around. I’m here to tell you, boundaries are a must with this type of fish. It’s not your job to change them or cheer them up. Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

How To Have a Good Day

Over the weekend Tom and I stopped at the bookstore to peruse books (one of our favorite things), drink coffee (another of our favorite things), and do a little work (yep, we like to do that too)!!! Anyways, this is the book that Tom got. Fitting for him, wouldn’t you say?!?! This morning I picked it up…to see what the meditation is for today. It’s a good one. Real good. May 7th. Here’s how to guarantee you have a good day; do good things. Any other source of joy is outside your control or is not renewable. But this one is all you, […]

Gotta Have Faith

Truth. I've been on day fifteen of my #100daystobrave since last Friday. I didn't want to post…just to post. I needed to ponder. So, day fifteen is about being BRAVE and not being afraid to ask God the things you really want to know. I couldn't think of a single question. Not on day fifteen, sixteen, or seventeen. I like to think I have a gift from God and what call a “child-like” faith. I trust He has me on the path I'm supposed to be on and my job is to not ask questions but to be obedient. So, […]

Keep a Firm Grip

I know at least one of my friends needs to hear this today!!! I hope this verse blesses you as it blessed me last week when I was sick in bed. It won’t last forever. Join the Conversation Join the conversation on […]

Cinco De Mayo & My Mom

Today has me thinking about my mom. I don't know anyone who wished they were Mexican more than her. She married a Mexican, had four Mexican children, loved Mexico and everything about its culture — the people, especially the people, the food, the history. For their 25th wedding anniversary in 1994, my parents took their very first trip (of many) without kids to Zihuatanejo, Mexico. It would end up being their last trip, without kids that is, for we crashed it the next year and then every year after until my mom was too ill to travel. Mexico made my […]

Sunsets & Superpowers

I put myself to bed tonight around 7:30 pm. With it being my first day back in the land of the living, I found myself pretty pooped. We live in a high rise apartment on the 26th floor with a partially obstructed view of the skyline. Which means I gotta get out of bed to see the sky in all its glory. Anyways, as I was lying here tonight, with our slider door open, listening to the sounds of the city, I could see the sky changing color. I was feeling extra warm and cozy and went back and forth […]

I Like Big Butts

A few weeks back, shortly after picking up our grandson, he burst out into song in the car. “I LIKE big butts and I cannot lie…” He sang it with confidence, over and over and over. At three, he has no idea what he's singing, only that he LIKES to sing 8 words from the song (it's in a movie he watched). If only we would remain so innocent and LIKE what we want to LIKE, without caring what others think or say about us. Instead, we alter our LIKES to be accepted by or to impress others. Being BRAVE […]

Do More

I've been pretty much laid up in bed since Saturday with an upper respiratory virus. Believe you me, this is NOT how I wanted to close out my April. At first, it made me quite mad actually. Mad, because I have a few projects that I am working on that need me to be at my best — like my workshop presentation for our company convention in June and the re-launch of our business resources. I had to quickly re-channel that anger into GRATITUDE though, because, hello, I am able to run a multi-million-dollar business from my bed between hacking my […]

Free Advice

Friend, stop saying mean things about yourself to yourself. Seriously, stop it. If we are going to do BRAVE things together and encourage each other with our uplifting words, we can't be hating on ourselves. Mmmkay?!?! Yes, I know, it's easier said than done, but guess what, you can do hard things. You are BRAVE. If I tasked you to make a list of everything about yourself that you LOVE alongside a list of everything about yourself that you loathe, which list would be longer??? If you're anything like me, this type of exercise makes you uncomfortable. I mean, it's […]

Stinky Feet

Feet. Most of us have two of them. I despise them. I guess you could say I have the opposite of a foot fetish. You want to make me squeamish – put your feet on me. My feet are not little or cute. They're also not thaaaat bad either. I mean, I've seen some of the feet that come into the nail salon. Yikes! I take good care of my feet by getting regular pedicures and I always tip generously. Oftentimes, as I'm reclined back in the massage chair and Amy (she's the best at DK Diamond nails) is working […]

Trust the Sparks

I recently came home from a conference FIRED up. I had pages and pages of notes that I had whittled down to ten ideas to pray on and implement. I put my blinders on and GOT. TO. WORK. Then boom. I get sick. I mean, I haven't been this sick since before we started our business in 2014. I don't have time to be sick, I have work to do!!! You see when God gives you an idea, it SPARKS something inside. And when you act on it, chances are pretty good the devil is going to attempt to stop […]

Messes and Messages

The enemy loves to use our mistakes and torment us with feelings of guilt and shame. If you let him, he will remind you of every mistake you've made since you were like seven years old. But God. God wants to use our messes and make them our message. One of the biggest mistakes I made was getting married to an abusive man. I thought I could change him. All the signs were there before we walked down the aisle. I got myself in a huge mess that God and my family got me out of. Not only did this […]

I Am…

It wasn't all that long ago that I was drowning by the weight of what others said about me. And if I was drowning then, today, I am swimming against a current getting stronger every day. I haven't arrived but I am making progress. Two things that have helped me, “I am” statements and worship music. Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Youer Than You

A great philosopher by the name of Dr. Seuss once said, “Today you are YOU, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is YOUER than YOU.” It takes courage to be different. But the truth is, you'll never succeed at being YOU if you're trying to be someone else. Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Perfection, Procrastination, Fear

I'm an all or nothing type of gal. I also tend to be a wee bit of a perfectionist. Which means, if I can't give something my all, either I don't start or I never finish. Some of my friends might be surprised by this because I seem to get a lot of shiz done. And I do. But what you don't see are the post-it notes and journals full of ideas that never come to fruition. For me, procrastination comes disguised as perfectionism. And perfectionism is really just fear. I'm working on it. Are you a perfectionist? Join the […]

Leaving on a Jet Plane

We were supposed to be leaving on a jet plane tomorrow for an all-expense paid trip to Banff, Canada. It's a trip we earned for being top leaders in our company. Only, Tom was going to fly home early, so that we didn't miss out on our weekly Thursday/Friday visit with our grandson. Initially, I agreed; flights were booked and a rental car reserved. As much as I love that Tom would make that sacrifice, it just didn't feel right. So, I listened to my inner voice and at the last minute decided not to go. And you know what, […]

Nobody Is Ever Going To Want You

“Nobody is ever going to want you.” Those were the final words that were spoken to me when I walked out on an abusive marriage for the last time. I had an almost 2-year old and a few days old baby. At the time, I didn't think of myself as being brave. Looking back, it was one of the bravest things I've ever done. You are braver than you know. Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Brave Lady

Three years ago, this pretty lady joined our team. I had never met her in person or even talked to her on the phone. It wasn't until just a few months ago that we met for the first time. This weekend, I had the opportunity to spend three days with her at an event in Las Vegas. As we shared our stories with one another, I couldn't help but thank God for weaving our lives together. Seeing other people be brave makes me want to be brave too. Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Leadership Lies

One of the biggest lies about leadership is that there's such a thing as a “fearless leader.” I mean, who coined that phrase anyways? Just because someone displays confidence, doesn't mean they don't also experience fear. The differentiator is in the choice to take action. Today is day one of 100 Days of Brave. It's a daily devotion for “unlocking your most couragous self.” I asked three dear friends to join me on this journey, Kristin, Jennifer, and Brooke, and they said YES!!! The assignment for today is to TELL someone you committed to 100 Days of Brave and that someone is YOU!!! […]

Confidence Problem

I get stopped all the time, when out and about, by women who compliment me on my hair followed by a, “I wish I could wear my hair short.” My response is usually the same, “why can’t you?” What I have found over the years is that a lot of women have a confidence problem. Which makes me kind of sad actually. I mean, if you don’t have the confidence to wear short hair, what else don’t you have the confidence for? Ladies, there’s a world out there full of opportunities to make an impact and change lives, but you’ve […]

Easter Shoes

One of my favorite Easter’s, I was probably in middle school. I got Maybelline Great Lash mascara and a pair of pink Ked’s in my Easter basket. My mom loved a good theme, and my basket that year was all pink. When I saw these shoes, I immediately thought of her. She would have loved them. Do you have a favorite Easter memory? Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Why I Blog

Way back when, what really seems like a lifetime ago, I was working as a fitness professional coaching clients; leading them to better health via nutrition and exercise. Meanwhile, my own health was failing. I found myself rapidly gaining weight and required multiple energy drinks to just get through the day. You could say I wasn’t living my best life. We re-prioritized our finances, which included selling our home, so that I could quit my job and make reclaiming my health a priority. During that time of self-discovery and healing from adrenal fatigue, I realized how much I missed helping people. […]


I once had someone tell me they did not like my purple hair, said it was “for the birds.” My nickname is Birdie. Sometimes, The Bird or Tessie Bird. What's one of your nicknames??? Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

PURPLE RAIN. What is Prince’s 1984 album and the name of my hair color from Arctic Fox? Purple has been my favorite color for as long as I can remember. There used to be a purple house near my grandparent’s home that I dreamed of living in one day. As much as I love purple, I really don’t have “that” many purple things. Hard to believe, I know. According to the psychology of color, the colors we prefer, play out in our personalities. Imagine that. Here's What Your Favorite Color Says About You ❤️ You live life to the fullest and are […]

Psychology of the High Five

Yesterday, I was looking for a “high-five” picture on a stock photo site I frequent, for our business. After several moments of frustration, Tom suggested I take my own. I went from searching for and taking a photo, down the “high-five” rabbit hole. I started researching the psychology of the “high-five” and the science that supports their use with kids, in business, on sports team, even with your spouse. There’s even a national “high-five” day. Who knew??? One psychology professor documented all the fist bumps and “high-fives” for an entire season for each NBA team in 2015. It’s probably not surprising to […]

More Than Just A Car Seat

This morning after my workout, I sat in the car to do some work. After pecking away on my phone for a bit, I put the car in reverse and saw this over my shoulder. Pause. Park. Tears. More than just a car seat. A year ago today, I likely was doing the exact same thing. Working in the car on my phone after my workout. Only there was no car seat in the back. We didn’t know we had a grandson. Yet. In the last six months, we’ve made a lot of memories with our little buddy in this […]

Do The Work

Since starting my business in 2014, I’ve only ever had one mantra. I have said it out loud and to myself multiple times a day. Over and over and over. “Do the work.” Head down, blinders on, focused on the goal. “Do the work.” As 2017 comes to a close, and I reflect on the assignment God has given me, I am thankful for His assistance, provision, strength, and blessing. And look forward to continuing to “do the work,” in 2018!!! Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on Facebook. What is your […]

How To Be Happy

At our company convention a few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of learning from happiness researcher, and author of The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Acher. I love learning from speakers who can present scientific research with humor and relevance. He had the audience laughing over graphs and even threw in the word unicorn. In my journey of healing from adrenal fatigue, I became interested in how our mindset matters when it comes to overall health. So this was right up my alley. Did you know, 90% of your long-term happiness is predicted not by the external world, but by the […]

Vanessa’s VIP List

Hey there! Thanks so much for becoming a VIP. I am honored to be connected with you. I know you get tons of emails and your time is precious. That's why you'll only hear from me when I've got something super valuable to share. Let's stay connected on Facebook and Instagram too. In Health & With Gratitude, Vanessa —– Vanessa's VIP […]

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What You Need to Know About Low Thyroid

Did you know low thyroid can lead to high cholesterol, depression, fatigue, cold hands and feet, hair loss, and reduced strength and stamina? These are just some of the symptoms. Statins and anti-depressants are among the most prescribed medications. But what if high cholesterol or depression are just the symptoms of low thyroid; not the real problem? Is it possible people are often treated for the wrong issue? Low thyroid affects one in seven. It causes fatigue, reduced physical performance, and can lead to symptoms of depression. Hypothyroidism often goes undiagnosed, yet it’s quite easy to identify and correct. About 12% of […]

What You Need to Know About Supplements & Testosterone

Testosterone plays a role in muscle mass, bone density, depression, self-confidence, motivation, libido, sexual function, brain health, and more. In my article, What You Need to Know About Testosterone, I discuss why it's so important to maintain optimal testosterone levels, and what you can do with nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle choices, to support testosterone production. Whenever I get into a discussion on testosterone, I'm almost always asked about supplements to increase or optimize testosterone levels. There is not a definite answer on what works for everyone, but I’ll share a number options below. Each person is different, so it really comes down to personal experimentation. A […]
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Are You a Badass?

When you envision a badass, who or what comes to mind? Your green-haired grandma, who won't take crap from anyone? Perhaps your friend who always finds a way to accomplish what he wants, no matter what obstacles he faces? What about your favorite leader, who seems to captivate the crowd with her confidence, while at the same time, inspiring you to become a much better version of yourself? There's a big difference between a badass, and an ass. A badass can move mountains, and moves people to become better versions of themselves. An ass just walks over them. Vanessa and I are always looking […]

What a Man Needs from a Woman to Be His Best

What a man needs isn't much. And when his needs are met, he can handle ridicule, setbacks, failures, and major obstacles without taking his eyes off his goals and responsibilities. When his needs aren't met, there's little you can do to move a man. The woman in his life often holds the keys that unlock the door to his full potential. And his full potential makes her life better, enriches the lives of those around him, and makes his life more fulfilling as well.  What a Man Needs From a Women to Be His Best I'm not going to write on […]

What You Need to Know About Testosterone

Worn out? Irritable? Gaining weight? Low libido? Memory problems? You and your doctor might not think about low testosterone, when you think about your symptoms, but you will after reading this. Many symptoms of low testosterone are similar to those of other conditions. Before you self-diagnose with Dr. Google, or get a prescription based only on how you feel, see if low testosterone might be the issue. How Common is Low Testosterone Some experts believe a quarter of 30-year-old men have low testosterone. A 2006 study found 39% of U.S. men, age 45 and older, were testosterone-deficient.[i] With about 40% deficient, most men are below optimal […]

Why You’re Not Losing Weight on a Low-Carb Diet

“What?! Doesn’t everyone lose weight on a low-carb diet? What is this nonsense all about?” I can hear the pushback from the low-carb devotees already. Before you throw a low-carb cookbook at me, hear me out. I have written about the value of low-carb diets for years. A low-carb diet has been the starting point for almost every nutrition plan I have created. Though low-carb is effective for a lot of people, it doesn’t work for everyone. And for some, it works for a while, and then…doesn't. If you read those last couple sentences and thought, “That’s me!” then this […]
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Slique in 60 with HLWEO

Click here to download and print Shopping List & Sample Meal Plan Click here to download and print Shopping List & Sample Meal […]

5 Tips to Win a Weight Loss Contest

Weight loss is simple. But it is not always easy. It can feel lonely at times, as everyone around you seems to enjoy their unhealthy lifestyle choices. Weight loss can be frustrating, especially on the days you step on the scale and don't see the number change. To lose weight, you not only have to know what to do, but you have to stay motivated, week-after-week, to keep doing it. If you're nodding your head, a weight loss contest might be just what you need. Especially if the contest includes community, support, and guidance. I have a special passion for weight […]

Solutions 4 Resolutions

[vc_row full_width=”stretch_row” css=”.vc_custom_1481155638986{padding-bottom: 5px !important;background-color: #963d83 !important;}”][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16441″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1481158240580{margin-top: 0px !important;margin-bottom: 0px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 35px !important;}”] Are you tired of making the same resolutions every year – to lose weight, eat better, exercise more – only to find yourself giving up, shortly after you got started? Stop starting over and join us for Solutions 4 Resolutions, an exclusive one-day event, where you will learn what it takes, once and for all, to live and lead your healthiest life. Solutions 4 Resolutions will equip you to master your mindset, reset your nutrition know how, enhance your lifestyle, and make movement […]

Easy Peasy Shrimp Ceviche

A few months back my friend Angie brought the most amazing Shrimp Ceviche to game night. I helped myself to several servings and she took home an empty bowl. Meanwhile, the cheese and gluten-free crackers went untouched. That's a sign of a good recipe. I'm a simple cook. If you take a look at my recipes, I don't cook or bake anything that really requires any amount of work. Well except for my tamales. Those take a little bit extra effort in the kitchen. So, when Angie said how Easy Peasy the Shrimp Ceviche was to make, I was all […]

Cranberry Pumpkin Bars

A very sweet member of our Healthy Living With Essential Oils team sent me a huge box of the most beautiful fresh cranberries. Her family owns a cranberry farm in Oregon and they are in the midst of harvest. One of the cool things about Oregon cranberry growers, is that they pursue natural pest control, flooding the beds of cranberries to repel harmful insects, instead of using harmful pesticides. When the fresh cranberries arrived, I quickly rinsed them and then put them in freezer bags for storage. I've got enough cranberries to enjoy for many months to come. And my […]

Mexican Hot Chocolate

My paternal grandparents immigrated from Mexico, coming to the United States and eventually, settling in Minnesota at a young age. My grandma still in her late teens and grandpa in his early twenties, worked their way from Mexico to Minnesota via the railroad. I was in the 4th grade when my grandma died in her 60's. However, I have very vivid memories of her in the kitchen making flour tortillas at the kitchen table and offering us grandkids the most delicious hot chocolate. As a kid, I thought she had some super secret recipe, only to find out later in […]

Saturday Snapshots: Lake Superior

Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes of North America. The lake is shared by the Canadian province of Ontario to the north, the US states of Minnesota to the west, and Wisconsin and Michigan to the south. It is the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area and third largest freshwater lake by volume. Source About 190 miles north of Minneapolis, MN, between Duluth and Grand Marais, you'll find the Encampment Forest. 2,000 wooded acres along Lake Superior owned by the residents of the Encampment Forest Association (EFA). The Encampment takes it name from the […]

Working on our Divorce

Recently, Tom and I went to a conference, where we spent two full days setting goals for the 7 F's of life; faith, family, field, finance, fitness, friends, and fun. During the goal setting exercise for family, one of the presenters told his painful story of divorce, and made this bold statement, “If your aren't working on your marriage, by default, you are working on your divorce.” If you are married, let that sink in for a minute. If you aren't working on your marriage, by default, you are working on your divorce. Yikes! That was a punch in the […]

Give Yourself an Upgrade

You can still be original, while giving yourself an upgrade. Some people push back on the concept of personal development because they believe they’d need to become someone different. Personal development isn’t about becoming someone new, it’s just about becoming a better version of who you are. The iPhone is an iPhone, whether it’s the first iPhone, or iPhone 7. The iPhone 7 is just better. Apple is on the constant pursuit of improvement, which is why they were happy about launching the iPhone, but not satisfied with it “as is.” Think about personal growth as upgrading the true you, not […]

What Happened to the Hype About Essential Oils?

A few years ago, essential oil posts seemed to be all over the internet. Pinterest boards, news feeds, and blogs were filled with claims about the use of essential oils. Today, the online buzz about essential oils seems to have quieted down. Have they lost their hype? Essential oils are not drugs. In the natural products industry, which essential oils are a part of, attaching a drug claim to a product is a major no-no. It’s an especially-big-no-no if you attach a drug claim to a product that you sell. The two largest essential oil companies happen to be network marketing companies. […]
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The Marshmallow Challenge

All work and no play, makes Tom and I, sort of duds. We are both very focused and driven people. Perhaps a bit serious. And also very competitive. Sometimes, competitive with each other. We've been working side-by-side in our network marketing business for almost two years. And what happens when two very focused, driven people work side-by-side, is fun often falls to the wayside. Last night I was laying in bed watching some funny YouTube videos. And came upon the Marshmallow Challenge. Tom had already fallen asleep and I was laughing so hard watching these videos the bed was shaking. Tom kept […]

Meal Frequency. Why I don’t eat 5-6 small meals a day.

For as long as I’ve been passionate about health and fitness, the idea of eating 5-6 smalls meals a day to raise metabolism, has been a persistent myth. In my early years as a personal trainer, I unfortunately perpetuated this myth. Back then, I didn’t realize this idea centered more around marketing and selling meal replacement shakes and bars, than it did about real science. Today, I see it as one of the most frustrating myths that exists in nutrition. While those meal replacement bars and shakes do have a place in the nutrition plans of some individuals, for most people, […]
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7 Habits of Emotionally Successful People

Your emotional health is at the crux of your quality of life. Without happiness, hopefulness and well-being, it’s difficult to reach your full potential and embrace each day as it comes. Your emotional health is also intricately tied to your physical health, such that an emotionally imbalanced person will be at a greater risk of chronic diseases and acute illnesses like colds and flu. One study found, for instance, that happiness, optimism, life satisfaction, and other positive psychological attributes are associated with a lower risk of heart disease.1 It's even been scientifically shown that happiness can alter your genes. A […]

5 Healthy Habits for a Healthy Gut

I want to preface this by saying that no two people are alike. Each of us has varying levels of digestive health. And when we talk about digestive health, we're really talking about a number of different components in the digestive process. Chew Your Food Digestion begins before we even put food in our mouth. It starts with the thought, smell or site of delicious food. Our nervous system is so amazing, that if we even sense the possibility of eating something, especially something appetizing, it stimulates hormones, secretion of saliva and other stuff that aids in digestion before we […]

Social Jet Lag: A Common Sleep Disorder

I have social jet lag. Hey don't laugh, it's a real thing. You might even have it too. It's pretty common, actually. Social jet lag typically occurs when we stay up late on the weekend, only to find ourselves tired, unmotivated, and groggy on Monday. Some people call this a social life. Social jet lag is like regular jet lag without flying across time zones. In both cases, our circadian rhythm or internal clock, gets messed with. And it doesn't like to be messed with. It thrives on consistency and a schedule. Simply staying up until the wee hours on Friday and Saturday and then […]

5 Unavoidable Phases on the Path of Success

Weight loss. Getting out of debt. Running a marathon. Building a business. Getting a Master’s degree. Learning a new skill. Each is a goal that requires new patterns, skills or habits to accomplish. Pursuit of goals like these, and many others, finds many people giving up somewhere between setting and achieving the goal.  Why is that? Why do people start a weight loss program every year, rather than sticking to it the first time and finding success? Why do so many people try a new skill, only to give up shortly after they begin?  Why do countless people give up on their […]

Cruise to Lose

Fourteen days of international travel, including a 7-day Mediterranean cruise, and I come home 3 lbs. lighter.  I didn't go on the cruise to lose. I don't know anyone who actually does. However, I had countless well-meaning friends tell me to be prepared to gain weight in the face of all-night buffets and 24-hour room service. I posted a little bit about this on social media and many wanted to know “my secret”. To be honest, I don't think there really is a secret. For me, it's all about a mindset. If I go on vacation and tell myself I am going to […]

About Us

Hey there, we're Tom Nikkola and Vanessa Romero! We live in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, MN with our furbabies, a Shih Tzu named Gizmo, aka, the cutest dog in the world, and a Tabby Cat named Kirby, aka the fattest cat in the world. We have two adult sons who have left the nest, making us empty-nesters at the young ages of 40 and 46. We will leave it up to you to guess who is older. We are husband and wife, Christ followers, business partners, city slickers, entrepreneurs, purple lovers, and health nuts. We blog about all things healthy living. […]

Landing Page Master

[vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Thank you for giving me the opportunity to explore Young Living Essential Oils with you. Why I got started using essential oils. As a healthy living blogger, essential oils fell onto my radar in 2013. On a quest to eliminate toxins from our home­, like those found in personal care and cleaning products, I kept seeing DIY recipes that called for essential oils. I was also looking for natural ways to relieve some common complaints my family was experiencing, like seasonal and pet allergies, tension headaches, and digestive discomforts. When it comes to essential oils, quality matters. Young Living, has […]