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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 […]

Blog Posts

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,… [Continue Reading] 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… [Continue Reading] 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… [Continue Reading] Dear Dad Last week you gave us a […]


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 […]

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 […]