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Tis The Season – A Very Crabby Christmas

tis the season, feeling tired and cranky,

Ah yes, tis the season. According to all the songs on the radio, this is the most wonderful time of the year. So-o-o-o, if it’s the most wonderful time of the year, why do I feel stressed out, tired and crabby?

Raise your hand if you feel overwhelmed, tired and cranky at Christmas!

Why Am I So Stressed at Christmas?

Well, for starters, look at the text in the above picture. That’s actually an old ashtray from the 1940’s that belonged to my grandmother. She always put it on the end table at Christmas even though no one smoked. It sure sums up the holiday season!

Christmas parties…shopping sprees…singing carols…trimming trees…hanging wreaths and boughs of holly…tis the season to be jolly…

Or not. holiday stress

Right now, there’s more stuff going on than you can shake a stick at. We get out of our normal routine, we eat junk food, don’t get enough sleep – and I’ll guarantee none of us are getting enough plain water. No – wine and coffee do NOT count as water! (well dang…)

Part of that overwhelmed feeling is the amount of stress we’re all feeling. Let’s face it. The world has become a cranky, stressful place and we can’t help but absorb it.

Real Christmas vs. Television Christmas

If you’re over 50, then you probably remember watching Leave It To Beaver, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and Father Knows Best. Perfect, wonderful, sweet families. Mom was a perfect housekeeper in high heels and pearls; kids always went to (perfect) Dad for advice and families were perfectly “normal”.

Then there was my family. It was chaotic to say the least. My modus operandi was to stay below the radar as best I could. And I was never very good at staying off my mother’s radar. Which meant I was always in trouble for something and it didn’t get neatly resolved in 22 minutes plus commercial breaks.

For a long time, I looked at the television families and yearned to be like them. They didn’t lead stressful lives and somehow, things always turned out well.

And somehow – at least in America – we came to believe that if our family wasn’t just like a Norman Rockwell painting, especially during the holidays, we were missing something. Or we failed.

On top of that, there’s never-ending Christmas commercials where everyone is happy, visiting friends and family with a smile and carrying the perfect gift perfectly wrapped. How come my life isn’t like that?

Because real life is messy and the potatoes are only half done. Oh, and there’s a wine stain on the tablecloth.

That unreachable level of perfection led to expectations that were never met, hurt feelings, disappointment and a let down feeling after the holidays.

I went through this cycle for years and thought something was wrong with me because I wasn’t as happy as all the people in the Christmas commercials!

Expectations For A Real Christmas

So what changed? Me. I struggled the very first time I couldn’t be with any family at all on Christmas Day. I tried to make it a happy time, but it wasn’t Christmas. Shortly thereafter, I decided it was time for me to change my expectations and stop pretending that my last name was Cleaver.

Sometimes, you just gotta do your own “thang” for the sake of sanity. Make a fresh start

So, no more sweating over what stuff to buy. Stop worrying that the tablecloth has a wine stain on it. Laugh over half done potatoes.

And now, I’m able to savor the moment however convoluted it is. It’s experiences that count, not things. New experiences make you look at what part of your life could use a breath of fresh air.

Was it easy? Was it fun? Nope. Life sucked for a while. For quite a while. But life goes on whether we want it to or not.

Merry ChristmasAre you having a cranky Christmas? I understand.

My aromatherapy skills come in quite handy when I can’t find my happy.

Here’s a blend of essential oils that may help you find your happy:

Christmas Magic Diffuser Blend

  • 10 Drops Balsam Fir Essential Oil
  • 8 Drops   Tangerine Essential Oil
  • 4 Drops   Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil
  • 4 Drops   Clove Bud Essential Oil
  • 2 Drops   Peppermint Essential Oil

Blend together and add 8 – 10 drops to a cold mist diffuser. If you would like a small bottle of this blend, I make Christmas Magic in a 5mL bottle for $12.95 plus shipping and handling. Simply send an email to me or fill out this contact form requesting this custom blend and I’ll make it for you.

Here’s to a Happy Christmas instead of a cranky Christmas!

Blessings,

Melissa

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Vaginal Dryness – Nothing To Laugh At

Vaginal Dryness, Menopause Symptoms, VagiMagic Intimate Dryness Moisturizer, Painful Sex, Vaginal Rejuvenation

This week, let’s talk about a sensitive and very private subject – vaginal dryness. You may think that vaginal dryness happens only in women who are going through (or finished with) menopause, but it frequently occurs in women of childbearing age, too.

Vaginal dryness can make everyday activities uncomfortable and even painful. When your private parts are too dry, intercourse is painful and standing, sitting and walking become very uncomfortable. The trend of tight and skinny jeans simply makes issue this worse.

What Causes Vaginal Dryness?

There are quite a number of reasons for vaginal dryness, but I’m concentrating on the most common ones. WebMD.com states the following reasons as most common for vaginal dryness:

  • Hormonal changes – usually associated with menopause, but also occurs during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
  • Medications – Anytime you take a synthetic medication, you’re going to have side effects. Period. Everything from cold and allergy medications and birth control to calcium channel blockers (used for high blood pressure and migraines among other things) and sedatives.
  • Douching – this is a huge cause.
  • Chemotherapy and Radiation – ’nuff said here.
  • Immune disorders such as Hashimoto’s and Graves disease – both having to do with your thyroid (and of course your hormones).
  • Having your ovaries removed – this means you’re not producing enough estrogen and estrogen is what keeps your vagina moist and lubricated.
  • Perfumed soaps, body washes and body lotions.

How Can Aromatherapy Help With Vaginal Dryness?

Essential oils are ideal for nourishing your tender skin – especially “down there”.

Frankincense (Boswellia carterii), Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) and Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum) are all excellent choices as they nourish your skin and are anti-inflammatories and anti-bacterials. Used with a soothing carrier oil such as Evening Primrose or Calendula oil, your skin will absorb the moisture and you’ll feel much better!

The newest product I have at Scented Balance is called VagiMagic Intimate Dryness Moisturizer. It’s completely plant-based with no synthetic ingredients.

To use, simply take a bit of VagiMagic about the size of a nickel and gently apply inside and outside of your vagina three times daily for relief. You’ll find that VagiMagic revitalizes dry, irritated tissue as well as moisturizing and soothing the folds of your skin.

VagiMagic works as a lubricant during sex – although if you use condoms as birth control, the oils could damage the condom.

If you can’t (or don’t want to) use hormone replacement therapy, VagiMagic Intimate Dryness Moisturizer is a wonderful alternative for this issue.

If you’re going through menopause, two other products that work well with VagiMagic are MenoPause Aromatherapy Roller Ball to assist with the up and down emotions along with Flares N Flashes Hot Flash Spray – these three products will help you go through menopause much more gracefully.

Dry skin can be dangerous – no matter where it is on your body. Aromatherapy helps you take care of your skin and keep it healthy, especially “down there”!

For more information, please fill out this short contact form and let’s talk – today!

Blessings,

Melissa

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. 

 

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The Dangers of Dry Itchy Cracked Skin

The Dangers of Dry Itchy Cracked Skin,

Ugh. It’s that time of year again. The air is drier which makes your skin dry and itchy and maybe it even cracks. There’s some simple things you can do to protect your precious skin – here are the dangers of dry itchy cracked skin.

What Causes Skin To Dry Out?

You might be surprised at the causes of dry skin! Sometimes, it’s simply your genetic predisposition or the time of year but it could also be from your medication, soap or detergents. Here’s some of the biggest culprits:

  • Synthetic Fragrances 
  • Perfume-y Soaps
  • Genetics
  • Hard Water
  • Medication
  • Very Dry Air
  • Over-Zealous Handwashing
  • Showers or Baths That Are Too Hot

Right now, the air is much drier and when you use antibacterial soaps to wash your hands, you’re making a bad situation worse. Any synthetic medications you take could dry out your skin and cause skin rashes that itch. Antibacterial and perfume-y soaps can cause dry, flaky skin which in turn causes you to itch. Then you scratch.

It turns out, just about every single household product contributes to your dry itchy cracked skin according to WebMD.com.

When it comes to household skin irritants, the list is practically endless. It includes cleaning products, floor polishes, air fresheners, and laundry detergent, just to name a few. These products strip skin of essential water and oils, leading to dryness and irritation. In some people, dry skin can progress to more severe skin conditions such as eczema or dermatitis.

That’s when the danger begins.

What’s So Bad About Dry Skin?

Plain ol’ dry skin really isn’t so bad. The danger of dry skin is when you scratch it. Scratching your dry skin can cause very tiny tears in your skin and if you’re scratching with your nails and there’s the least bit of dirt and/or germs under them, you invite infection.

If you’re a diabetic, taking care of your skin is even more important. The dis-ease itself wreaks havoc on your skin, and you need to be very careful how you moisturize your skin. Having cracked heels or hands could be dangerous for you.

If you wash your hands a lot in the winter time, the skin on your fingers may crack. Not only is that uncomfortable, but infection could make bad matters worse.

How To Take Care of Your Dry Itchy Cracked Skin

I know you think the cheap hand lotions and soaps from the drug store are just fine for your skin, but they’re not. I work with a lot of folks who live with eczema, psoriasis, diabetic skin conditions and even skin compromised from cancer treatments. That’s why I have a couple of products that will make a huge difference in your skin quality:

  1. PsoMaxx Eczema and Psoriasis Balm – yes, I realize you may not have eczema or psoriasis, but this stuff is incredible for dry itchy cracked skin. Not only does it put a moisture barrier on your skin, it addresses the itching right away – that’s huge! The essential oils in this product will nourish your skin.
  2. Nakedly Natural or Nakedly Lavender Deep Hydration Body Butter. Both of these body butters offer everyday moisturizing for your dry parched skin. Even if your skin isn’t compromised, they will nourish your skin to help you look and feel better fast.

What makes these products so special? The PsoMaxx contains a blend of pure essential oils (and beeswax) to nourish compromised skin including cracked heels and fingers. The body butters are far more nourishing and richer than the drug store stuff because they’re made from pure plant-based ingredients.

Scented Balance products do NOT contain any synthetic ingredients. When you start reading about all the chemicals in your body lotion and soaps, it’ll make you think twice about ever using them again!

Please stop using the stuff from the drug store today – it’s making your skin worse!

Want more information? Let me know how I can help you and your dry itchy cracked skin by filling out this short contact form.

Melissa

P.S. Even if you don’t have dry itchy cracked skin, I’ll bet you know someone who does – please pass this along to them!

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How To Use Essential Oils for Stress During The Holidays

Using Essential Oils For Stress During The Holidays, Oil, Essential Oils for Stress, Managing Your Stress During the Holidays, Sweet Orange

Where did this year go? We turned the calendar to the new year just last week – right? It seems like it and yet, Thanksgiving is next week and then – OMG – it’s Christmas and 2019! Aromatherapy shines during stressful times and I’d like to show you how to use essential oils for stress during the upcoming holidays.

There’s just something about all the hubbub of the holidays that brings on colds, headaches, sore muscles, the crankies and even flareups of eczema and psoriasis! We tend to eat differently, sleep less, drink less water, drink more alcohol and because of that, our stress levels soar. Throw in extra company, gift shopping and house cleaning and it gets ridiculous!

This year, let’s use aromatherapy to do the holidays differently!

Using Aromatherapy for Stress

As always, self care is a huge part of managing stress levels. I’d like to help make your self care a bit simpler with a few basic aromatherapy blends.

  • Blend #1 – Lavender, Frankincense and Sweet Orange: Simply combine two drops of each oil into your cold mist diffuser and let it run for a couple of hours. It’s safe to use around kids and dogs. The Lavender is very calming, the Frankincense invites peace and calm and the Sweet Orange is bright and sparkly. You can also add the same amount of drops into one-half cup of Epsom Salts and use in a hot bath to relax your muscles.
  • Blend #2 – Bergamot, Sweet Orange and Lavender: Bergamot is helpful to manage situational anxiety and is restoring and relaxing, the Lavender is calming and Sweet Orange brings positivity any time you feel negative. Add two drops of each oil into your cold mist diffuser and let it run for a couple of hours. Safe for kids 2+.
  • Blend #3Peaceful Ease Aromatherapy Rollerball: This is an amazing blend to help you with mild depression and anxiety.  It’s ready to use on your skin so you simply roll it over your heart area 3 or 4 times daily. Not for use on kids under 10.
  • Blend #4 – Add three drops each of Lavender and Lemon to either your cold mist diffuser or to one-half cup of Epsom Salts for a hot bath. The Lemon helps to dispel negative energy and, along with Lavender, acts as a disinfectant when diffused. Safe for kids 2+.
  • Blend #5 – Patchouli, Geranium and Lavender: Add 2 drops of each oil into your cold mist diffuser or add to one-half cup of Epsom Salts in your hot bath. Geranium is wonderful to dispel nervous tension and Patchouli is cooling and helps with thought clarity.

These are basic oils that you can get either online or at Whole Foods or a health food store. I prefer using Eden’s Garden or Aromatics International which are both small, women-owned companies. But I understand if you’re at the exploding point, you need someplace local to get some good oils!

Managing Your Stress During The Holidays

I know you’ve heard it all before – the holidays can wear you slap out so don’t overspend, set good boundaries (that means saying NO to yet another holiday party), sleep/sleep/sleep (lack of sleep makes you cranky) and drink one extra glass of water every single day. If you’re like me and you get a bit weary of drinking nothing but water, pick up a box of the herbal teas – they count as water – and warm up your bones while you’re taking good care of yourself.

If you want to order an exclusive Scented Balance blend for stress, anxiety or depression, I do my very best to get online orders out on the same/next day if you’ve ordered by 1 PM. If you live in North Carolina, you should get it by the next day.

If you’ve signed up to receive my weekly email, then I’ll keep you posted where my events are and you can get your favorite aromatherapy product there! And don’t forget about my studio – you can pick up your order at my studio – just let me know when you plan to be there.

Remember – aromatherapy products make awesome gifts at the holidays especially for your favorite host/hostess!

Here’s to peaceful and uneventful holidays that are full of family, fun and sweet memories!

Blessings,

Melissa

P.S. Please take some time to #ShopSmall and #ShopLocal during the holiday season – you really do make a difference!

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Why You Should Shop Local – A Detour From Aromatherapy

Why You Should Shop Small, Shop Local, Big Box Stores, downtown, shop local, farmers market, gift shops

This week, I’d like to talk about why you should shop local – a detour from aromatherapy for sure, but it’s that important! We’re in the last quarter of the year which means holiday shopping has begun in earnest.

Yes, I know – let’s get through Thanksgiving before we talk Christmas! I get that. I simply want to get into your mindset before the holiday shopping season kicks into full gear.

Please hear me out!

Why It Matters When You Shop Local

Nearly everyone I know constantly shops online and at the big box stores. You tell me that you shop at Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon and a host of other nameless, faceless places because it’s “easier to get my shopping done.”

Hmmm…where does your money go when you shop at these places? Does it help support your community? Are you helping to create a living-wage job? Um…no, you’re not.

I have no intention of throwing a bunch of boring statistics at you about shopping local vs. big box. I do, however, want you to read for yourself why it’s so important to shop local:

Several retail studies have been done across the country, in big cities and small towns, and all have come up with similar numbers. When a consumer spends $100 in locally owned retail businesses, $45 is recirculated in the local economy. When that same $100 is spent in chain stores, the local reinvestment drops to $23. Spend that same $100 at an out-of-state online retailer, the local cut is almost zero.

Why? Because an independent business buys supplies from other local businesses, hires local accountants and web designers, and attracts customers who shop at neighboring establishments. A chain has centralized buying, its own accountants and lawyers, and sends its daily revenues directly to its own bank. And an out-of-state online entity doesn’t even employ local people, so their contribution is negligible.

Are you getting the point yet?

Ideas For Shopping Local

If you work in a downtown area, why not take your lunch hour and window shop at the local gift boutique? Why don’t you shop at the local Ace Hardware (which is independently owned) instead of the big box home improvement stores?

What about shopping at a local farmers market every week instead of a grocery store chain? You don’t think you can get anything good at a farmers market? Oh, I beg to differ! At most farmers markets, you’ll find eggs, meat, cheese, vegetables, fruit, fresh spices, baked goods, bread, jam and flowers.

And you support a local small business each time you make a purchase!

What’s that? You don’t like going to a farmers market? Why? Is it out of your way? Think it’s too expensive (it’s actually less expensive)? You simply can’t be bothered? I’m calling you out on the last reason – because I’ve had too many people tell me exactly that!

And the sales tax argument is quickly going the way of the dodo bird. Even when I purchase supplies online, I still pay sales tax – and shipping. Are you really so chintzy about a couple of bucks in sales tax that you refuse to shop local? (Yep – I’m calling you out big time today!)

And instead of giving more mindless “stuff”, why not give someone a restaurant certificate or tickets to the theater or movies from local establishments? Why do we believe Christmas gifts should cost lots of money and last a full year until the next Christmas?

Why do you want to give your hard-earned money to a big box store and reward a greedy CEO? Why not reward a hard-working small business owner and really make a difference in someone’s life?

You know, every time someone makes a purchase from a small independent business, the owners (including me) do a happy dance! We’re all very grateful for your business.

Where To Shop Local

Today, I’m going to take some of the work out of looking for small independent shops, restaurants and experiences so that you don’t have to dig.

  • Scented Balance Aromatherapy – I have a studio and online storefront. Give loved ones the gift of relief through aromatherapy for headaches, anxiety, depression, pain and other concerns. Not sure what to get? Get a gift certificate in any amount!
  • Sadie’s Shoppe in Mocksville, NC. Everything here is handcrafted, repurposed or upcycled. Unique one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on your list.
  • Dahlia’s Floral Design in Clemmons, NC. Decorate your holiday table with a gorgeous floral arrangement. This independent shop offers gifts and home accessories, too.
  • Gifts By Mia in Winston-Salem, NC. There’s gifts for all ages here that you won’t find anywhere else!
  • Lovingkindness Reiki and Yoga in Clemmons, NC. Tressa is the beautiful soul and owner of this small studio. She teaches yoga for every level, age and size. It’s also a wonderful gift of health.
  • Jasper & Fern in Winston-Salem, NC. Alyson is an ah-mazing photographer and her unique style empowers women to see their own beauty. In the studio, you can also get a massage, haircut and makeup lessons.
  • The Little Theater of Winston-Salem is in its 84th season – why not give tickets to your sweetheart for a date night? I still remember getting tickets to an Amy Grant concert and that’s been years ago!
  • The Himalayan Hideaway Salt Cave in Winston-Salem. Sitting in a salt cave for a few minutes promotes relaxation and lung health. 
  • The Tavern in Old Salem in downtown Winston-Salem offers a unique taste of local heritage and dining. Perfect for date night!
  • A Reflexology session from Planet Reflex in downtown Winston-Salem. Troy Hurst is the owner and loves to help people feel better through reflexology. It’s awesome!
  • Feeling adventurous? What about a skydiving experience from Piedmont Skydiving? Located in Salisbury, they offer year round tandem skydiving – you don’t have to know how to do it!
  • Fresh beef from Brantley Farms in Mocksville. Gwen and Russell are the proprietors of this full-time cattle farm. M-m-m-m-m-m! I’m hungry just thinking about it! You can also inquire about hosting your next event here – and they have a small Winter Farmers Market through the end of December.
  • What about a gift card to your beloved’s favorite coffee shop or book store? They’re everywhere!
  • A weekend at a local B & B would be awesome for a relaxing “stay-cation”.

If your recipient lives in another state or city, then by all means go online and look into gift certificates from small local businesses in their city. Better yet, why not get them a gift certificate from one of your favorite local businesses and invite them to visit for a weekend?

Many of these businesses are owned by women, so you can get an awesome gift and support women-owned businesses at the same time. It’s a win-win for everybody!

These are just a few ideas you can use to get started shopping local. See how easy that was? Why not sleep in on the Saturday after Thanksgiving – which is now known as Small Business Saturday – then visit your local retailers to do your holiday shopping with ease.

Just in case you’re wondering where Scented Balance will be on Small Business Saturday (aw…thanks for asking!), I’ll be in downtown Winston-Salem at Jasper & Fern for the Small Business Crawl from 10 AM – 4 PM. Plenty of parking and a wide array of small businesses with unique gifts and services for everyone on your list!

Blessings,

Melissa