Essential Oils: Five Months In

In my first post about essential oils I posted about some basic ways I had already started to use them (here) so now that I’ve gotten a little more into, and had time to do a little more reading on them, I thought I’d follow up with some more ways they’ve been working for me over the past few months.

essential oil reviews young living now brand


  • FRANKINCENSE & TEA TREE OIL: I used one drop of frankincense in the morning and one drop of tea tree oil at night on a wart on my finger for just under two months and it is now completely gone. And, to make sure, I stopped using this treatment about a month ago and it’s still gone- so it gets rid of them for good! This is by far the most cool and impressive use I’ve found so far.
  • TEA TREE OILI don’t how I forgot about this, but I totally used tea tree oil on my pimples when I was in high school (from The Body Shop, at the time). So when I remembered to use it again it was a real game changer. Generally when I get a pimple (which is rarely these days thanks to a face cream I made, listed below) it leaves a dark spot on my skin for a few months, and tee tree oil helps that clear up far quicker as well.
  • ORANGE: Massaging a bit of orange oil, mixed with lotion or coconut oil, on your stomach when it hurts (or when you’ve, ahem, over eaten) has proved to be super helpful. I’m not sure if it’s the massaging motion, or the oil, or both, but this works just as well as popping 2 antacid pills and smells delightful. My husband loves this use as well.
  • STRESS AWAY: This mix is specifically from Young Living. I roll Stress Away over my forehead, behind my ears, and on my wrists before bed on nights when I feel restless and anxious and it helps me not only fall asleep, but stay asleep.
  • *CARROT OIL: I did a lot of reading on this oil and supposedly ingesting 1-2 drops a day is supposed to help with psoriasis, but I’ve had no luck at all and it’s been about a month now. To be fair though, I have had no luck at all with any psoriasis treatment for the past 10 years. Ugh. (Ingesting oils isn’t a great idea for everyone and you should do your research before doing so.)


  • LEMON, LAVENDER, FRANKINCENSE: I mixed 10 drops of frankincense and 5 each of lemon and lavender in about 2 cups of coconut oil and use it as an overnight face cream and it is awesome. The coconut oil reduces fine lines, the frankincense evens out skin tone, the lemon refreshes the skin, and the lavender helps reduce redness. At first I was very nervous about putting coconut oil all over my face (and neck) but it’s awesome and the whole combo is great!
  • LAVENDERPut 1-2 drops in your mascara to help strengthen and lengthen lashes- love this and it smells so good!
  • JOY: I just use Joy in lieu of perfume sometimes. One drop over the heart and on the wrists lasts almost all day long and really helps lift your spirit.

So overall, I’m still totally on the oil boat. The current draw back is that since it’s summer we keep the windows open all the time, so it’s not really worth diffusing and we miss that use a lot. I also still haven’t found a use for everything in the kit I have yet, but I’m definitely working on it!

How do you use your oils?

Landscaping the front yard

One of the problems caused by the freak accident at our house was damage to the front lawn. To access the pipes that needed repair, a portion of the lawn was bulldozed. Insurance gave us money to use towards adding new sod, but we felt like new sod in only one area of the yard would look a little weird so we decided to take the opportunity to landscape.

dug up front lawn

Our front lawn is not level with the street because we’re on such a big hill, but it is a spot we use when we entertain and an area that really wasn’t very pretty. The grass was in rough shape, it was covered with weeds, and it wasn’t doing us any favors.

before landscaping

Matt & I spent HOURS digging up old grass, leveling the land, and putting in a whole bunch of new stuff. We added:

  • A stone and mulch walkway from the front door to the bed you see all the way on the left above (6 bags of mulch just for the walkway!)
  • 2 hydrangea bushes (twist and shout variety) & 1 hydrangea tree (pinky winky variety)
  • 4 juniper shrubs
  • rock border (because holy cow we dug up a lot of rocks)

We bought a huge roll of weed blocker and put that down under the entire walkway and as much of the landscaped bed as possible, so hopefully that’ll help everything stay nice.

Even though no one ever uses the front door, aesthetically this is just nice to have. I think it helps make everything look a bit more polished. Note: we’re going to bury the drainage pipe, the store was just out of a part we need to make it happen.image

The windows in the foundation are for our basement movie room, which was also seriously damaged in the accident. I didn’t want to block out all the light form that room, so I planted the hydrangea bushes about 4 feet out from the windows. In that left corner there’s already bleeding heart plants, so I let them stay- they’re hideous once they’re done for the season but I think eventually the hydrangeas will grow to cover them more and they’ll all end up blooming at different times.

The bees found the tree almost immediately, which I’m pumped about because my garden is on the other side of the fence and I think that’ll really help things grow well next year.

Our backs are going to hurt for at least 92 years, but it’s totally worth it!

Four Years In

This past Sunday marked my 4 year “blogiversary.” I can’t believe the leaps and bounds this little journal has hopped in the past few years– from less than a hundred views per month to over 10,000 regularly. Wow!

diy blogger

I’ve had a lot of fun chronicling our home and watching it change and grow on in these posts. And I’ve had some amazing opportunities too… working with some of my favorite companies like Minwax and Gorilla Glue. Being featured in This Old House magazine. Attending a HGTV Magazine party last summer (and again in a few weeks). Meeting some of my favorite people, fellow bloggers that love all the same stuff as I do.

home made stretched canvas art

Life has changed drastically in the past four years too- I got engaged, then married. We added a fourth pet (and had 3 foster dogs along the way too). I have 2 new nephews, and I’ve lost some friends and family members along the way too. I went from working 32 hours a week to over 50, which is both good and bad.

take your pleasure seriously charles eames quote

All this to say… in case you haven’t noticed yet… things need to slow down here on the ol’ blog. There’s so much more to focus on in my life, and this will never be a full time career (nor did I ever intend it to be). I went from posting 5 days a week, to 3, to 2, to one, to now maybe once every other week. And it’s not that nothing’s happening around the house, in fact so much is happening. But between the doing, and the pausing to take pictures, and the editing the pictures, and the writing the posts, and the running of the social media, and the unstoppable desire to refresh my stats— oof. It’s got to give a little.

I’m still going to check in once or twice a month for sure, and I have hundreds of posts in the archives to dig through. I’m so happy so many of you have stopped by, and continue to stop by. So I’ll catch ya at the next check in… and if you want to be notified when that is just follow along via Bloglovin or pop your email in the box on the right hand side of this page. I’m also mildly obsessed with Instagram, so you’ll always find that regularly updated. :)

xo. Stephanie.

Freak Accident Update

The past few weeks have been a little insane around here. I alluded to some house trouble in my last post (here), then a few days after it all went down we left for vacation, then we came back from vacation and are back to working with the insurance company to get our house back in order.

To better explain what happened- basically, a distracted driver hit a telephone pole outside our house so hard that it caused a surge of electricity into our home. It knocked out half our power, fried some of our electronics, then made it’s way into our ground wire. The ground wire was connected to our plumbing, and the surge burned a whole in our pipes which then flooded our basement. WHEW! It was an intense few hours while we waited for the water to be shut off to our house. Luckily, we live on a hill and have a drainage pipe in our basement we were able to open up pretty quickly so we ended up with about 5 inches of water at the highest point (and had we not had the pipe, there would have easily been over a foot). Also, the driver walked away perfectly fine (though I suspect the car is totaled)

We filled our dry vac 4 times once power was restored.

Also luckily, everyone we have been working with on this has been amazing. The night of the accident we had 2 firemen, 2 water department employees, and our plumber all in our house. The next day a clean up crew, electrician, and construction crew all came. Within 48 hours we had electricity and water restored.

You may wonder why we needed a construction crew. Wellllll…. the pipe burst outside the house, underground on our front lawn. So a regular plumber could not repair it. Our front lawn got dug up to replace the pipes.

water being restored

What you’re seeing above is a bulldozer thing digging up the lawn, one crew member in the hole repairing the outside pipes, one crew member in our house jack hammering through our sub-floor to get to more pipes, and the spot where the pipes busted.

This has been an insane mess.

On Monday this week, the insurance company came out (Liberty Mutual) and I have to say- they have been so amazing to work with. I have uploaded about a million pictures to the claim site, as well as the police report for the incident and all of my invoices. Because the cause of the flooding was so complicated, I also had my electrician write a statement explaining what happened and I uploaded that as well. Having done all that in advance really helped the process go smoothly and the adjuster was able to assess the damage and start the process of reimbursing our money right away.

So! The good news– we have some really nice electronics that were all ok because they were on high end surge protector power strips. All those power strips took the brunt of the surge and burned out, but have now been replaced. Our computer has now been replaced and the data transfer from the fried computer was successful. We have a new stove arriving on Friday. And we bought a new rug last night.


Still to come: all of our basement walls need to be redone. We have 3 built in closets that need to be sanded and retextured and all of our wood work (which includes paneling, chair rail, casings, and molding) needs to be sanded down and restained.  Stay tuned!

… I think that’s a long enough post for now. :)

Goings On & Freak Accidents

I meant to have a much better blog post this week, but I think when you see what I’m working with over here you’ll understand… either way, I thought I’d hop on and share a few things. Let’s start with the freak accident and work our way to the good stuff:

  • Tuesday night there was a crazy car accident outside my house (no one was hurt), and long story short it caused a huge surge of power to hit my house that temporarily blew out our electricity and also flooded our basement. Electricity is now restored but the surge fried our stove and my husband’s desktop computer as well as a few surge protector power strips (thank goodness we had them, or the damage would have been much worse!). Our (finished) basement currently  has 14 industrial fans in it drying out the flood (for the next 3 days) and our water should be fully restored today- it was damaged outside of the house so our lawn had to be bulldozed to access the pipes and a section of our basement got jackhammered as well. The whole thing is a mess and once insurance is settled I’ll share more. But yeah, it’s been a long few days. If you follow along on Instagram you’ve seen a few peeks of it all.

industrial fans to dry out a flooded basement

  • Before this whole mess went down, I spent my Saturday painting my heart out at my friend Nate’s house. He recently bought 100+ year old country style home and I’ve basically insisted that he let me help with it’s updates because I’m obsessed. When we went to see it he mentioned he needed to paint all window sashes white and I casuallyyyyyy recommended maybe he do them black because I would die if they weren’t black they’re so perfect for it and I’ll even do it myself pleaseeeee. I’m a woman of my word, so I spent 6+ hours painting and it was glorious.

black window sashes with white molding moulding and light walls- country kitchen farm home

The kitchen has these 3 windows, 3 more on a perpendicular wall, and I painted 2 doors that lead to the sunroom to match as well. I’m also on team yellow walls, but not necessarily that particular yellow.

Also, look at this perfectly aged and chippy coat closet door at the house’s entrance. UGHHHH. I don’t even really like the country style but it’s so perfect here that it makes my bat my eyes and grow wide. I’m 97% sure Nate doesn’t look at this blog, but if you do- do not get rid of this door! It’s what dreams are made of! And the brick floor? I’m dying.

chippy aged wood coat closet door and brick entryway floor

  • And to end this post on a super high note…. my husband and I will soon be headed to the Bahamas with a few of our friends! I can not freaking wait, after dealing with all this house stuff it’s just what we need. We’re going to an all inclusive resort and the whole thing is paid for so I’m excited to just show up, get a drank, and sit on the water. Oh, and we’re also going to go swimming with these cuties:

swimming pigs of exumas bahamas

Hopefully our house will be in good working order before we leave!! If not, I guess we can just go snorkeling in the basement… :( womp womp.

Composting Made Easy

Last year I came up with an ugly, albeit easy and maintainable, composting plan. You can read all about my super simple and very free compost system here – it consists of two garbage cans and a giant stick.

I’m happy to report that a year later we’re still using the same system and it’s working out great. I even got to use some of last year’s compost in this year’s garden (which was very rewarding and satisfying).

Composting is so easy and not at all intimidating, and you don’t need a lot of space to make it happen. I put together a board on Hometalk that’s got all aspects of it covered:

  • kitchen counter composting (for those with no space at all!)
  • what to compost and what not to compost
  • how to build a compost bin out of trash barrels, pallets, hay bales, or lumber (there’s so many options!)
  • how to build a lasagna style composting flower bed (I did this method for my garden bed 2 years ago and it’s still working out awesome- my flowers came in great this year!!)
  • and lots more

Check it out here:

easy composting options for big and small spaces

And for quick reference, I love this printable list of what to compost (download it here) – we kept it on our fridge last year as we were learning and it was a big help:

what to compost - printable list

Tie Dye Onesies- An Awesome Baby Shower Activity

This weekend I hosted a “drizzle” for my sister-in-law in my backyard and we had a blast. It’s her and my brother’s second baby boy so we just had myself, parents, and grandparents over to celebrate and restock their diaper supply (no need for a full “shower”).

Even though there were just about a dozen of us I also really wanted a fun activity, so I hooked up with Tulip and their #TyeDyeYourSummer campaign to make tie dyed ones for my nephew-on-the-way. You guys, we had SO MUCH FUN. My 80+ year old grandmothers making their great grandchild onesies in my yard was so lovely and adorable.

tie dye onesie station- baby shower party activity idea

This kit is super easy, it comes with 18 colors in squirt bottles (just add water), elastics to make your pattern with, plastic gloves, and even a tablecloth. It’s a party in a box! I laid everything out on a few different tables and wrote steps on some white tiles (you can use dry erase markers on ceramic tiles- I do it all the time at parties to label food and write out directions), the kit comes with instructions on how to make specific patterns so I laid that out on the table too.

I got 2 different size white onesie packs, a white 3T shirt for my nephew, and Tulip sent a bunch of large white t-shirts for everyone else.

tie dye onesie baby shower activity

Everyone just kind of did their own thing, and most of the onesies came out super adorable. Others though, not so much. Careful with the red dye, haha.

tie dye onesie oopsPoor mom, she just wanted to make a heart for her new grandson.

The tie dye needs to set for 6-8 hours so we all just put our creations in a plastic tub I had then went off and ate a bunch of cake and ice cream. I ended up leaving it overnight and the next morning just rinsed them off in the tub then threw them in the washer on hot to set.

My nephew’s going to be the cutuest little hippie baby that ever lived.

one step tie dye kit

…but I’m not biased or anything. ;)

Thanks Tulip for sending me the one step tie dye kit! We had so much fun, and everyone loved it! *Even though the kit was sent to me, I was not paid for this post and all opinions/ideas/adorable onesies are my own.

Stalk Tulip all over the web for so many fun ideas and projects:

Facebook //  Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest // Tumblr // Google+ // YouTube

ilovetocreate tulip tie dye


Looking for more baby shower ideas? Check out my the owl themed and jungle themed parties I threw:

owl themed baby showermonkey decorated cupcakes