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Personal Responsibility Or Personal Investment?

Personal Responsibility Or Personal Investment, We’ve all heard about taking personal responsibility for our own lives. Based on a recent wonderful learning experience, I’d like to reframe that if I may.  What do you think makes a bigger impact: personal responsibility or personal investment?

The self-help movement has championed personal responsibility and to an extent, this is very good. To an extent.

Each one of us should take responsibility for every single action, thought, word and deed. Every single day.

But that same self help movement has turned taking charge of a messy life into a weapon to mercilessly beat ourselves up with when life goes sideways.

Truthfully? I’m done with being a big ‘ol punching bag for the self help industry.

So, when I talk about responsibility vs. investment, it’s not to abdicate my role in my own life. Not at all. Quite the opposite.

Responsibility Vs. Investment

I attended a workshop recently where I learned how to really tap into my soul and listen. It was a 8 hour workshop and I learned so much about being true to myself, understanding my inner judge/critic (gawd is she ever cruel!) and having a theme for my year instead of simply setting goals.

It’s a way for me to begin a new year differently than I have in the past. If I keep doing the same thing over and over again, I’m going to get the same result – which is insane! And I want different results.

One thing early in the workshop that made me snap to attention – especially when talking about well-being – is the difference between personal responsibility and personal investment.

Every self help book out there harps on taking personal responsibility: always being positive; fixing every perceived shortcoming, setting stellar goals and reaching them, have the perfect attitude every single moment…yada…yada…yada…

One of the ways we get off track with resolutions and goals is that we’re so focused on “fixing” (aka personal responsibility), that we forget our goals may take time. One thing I share with my aromatherapy clients is that the blend they purchase will not magically make their concern go away – poof – overnight.

You didn’t get to this point overnight and you won’t magically heal anything overnight – or make it go away. So instead of beating yourself up with the personal responsibility stick, think about it this way:

Every worthwhile investment takes time to bear fruit.

What’s the difference?

You’re (hopefully) investing in your future by saving for your retirement. Right? So why not use that same investment strategy when it comes to your education, your job, your home and your health? 

personal responsibility or personal investment, self help industry

I see it this way: taking personal responsibility, while commendable in theory, falls miserably short in reality. 

For instance, let’s say you begin a journey to change a habit or create a new habit because of a resolution you made on December 31st. Science tells us that resolution will last about 18 – 23 days and then…crickets…nothing.

You fall right back into old habits and patterns and feel like a failure – yes, I’ve been there.

Why do you fail so fast?

Because there’s no real investment.

But if you go at it from a different mindset, there’s much less chance of failing and feeling miserable. How about starting out with a better frame of mind by exploring a theme for the coming year and investing in you?

The theme you choose is your investment in yourself and tends to be far less rigid and stressful. You want to get into better physical shape? So, your theme is health and all the things you do to stay healthy fall under that theme. That can include eating well, exercising and self-care. 

So now you’re invested in your health over the long haul without jumping off the deep end that ensures you’re drowning in less than a month. And the subset – or bullet points – of your theme are fluid and can change as they need to.

A big part of self-care is knowing and believing that you are worthy of investment. (Psst…in case no one’s told you – you ARE worthy of investing in yourself!)

We’re coming up on the third week of January which is real close to do-or-die time for all those resolutions. How about investing in your whole well-being this year? 

Need a little boost to begin your investment?

Investing In Me Blend

  • 4 drops Black Pepper (Piper nigrum)
  • 4 drops Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
  • 2 drops Sandalwood (Santalum album)
  • 2 drops Rose Geranium (Rosa x damascena/pelargonium x asperum)
  • 10 mL Rollerball
  • 10 mL Organic Jojoba Wax)

Combine all essential oils and Jojoba wax into rollerball. Gently shake before each use. Apply to inner wrists, temples and heart area as often as needed.

Need some help with this? Fill out this short contact form and I’ll be happy to share more! Start investing in yourself today!



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Be Kind and Gentle

Be Gentle With Yourself, kind and gentle, self love“Well, we have a whole new year ahead of us. And wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all be a little more gentle with each other, a little more loving, and have a little more empathy, and maybe, next year at this time we’d like each other a little more.”
― Judy Garland

A little more gentle with each other really makes sense right about now, doesn’t it? But that’s not what I mean.

What I mean is for each of us to be more gentle with ourselves.

It’s that time of year when we look back to see what we’ve accomplished and look forward to new goals and bigger dreams. And if you haven’t accomplished as much as you intended or what you really wanted to, then today, I’m talking to you.

In setting your New Year’s resolutions, include one to be kind and gentle with yourself.

On Being Kind and Gentle

Why would I say such a thing?

Because I know exactly what it’s like to reach the end of a year (and the end of your rope) and feel like nothing’s been accomplished. And it makes for a less-than-stellar new year celebration.

This year, let’s you and I do it differently, whaddya say?

I’ve talked about this before – the world is a cruel and mean place to be. And absorbing all that negativity can add to your feelings of inadequacy and frustration. I truly believe that we’re all connected and when we’re angry and frustrated (especially with ourselves), it sends ripples out into the world.

If you’ve been a member of the Scented Balance community for any length of time (thank you!), then you know I wear my heart on my sleeve and I share my heart in hopes that I can help you through my experiences. I haven’t always felt like I had someone to turn to and I don’t want you to feel like that – it’s a lonely place.

One of the areas I struggle with is being kind and gentle to myself. Some of the things I’ve said to myself in dark times would horrify Atilla the Hun. Seriously. That’s a bad habit that I still need to break and it’s only through perseverance and patience that I’ve been able to slowly change my self talk. Am I there yet? Nope. 

Being kind to yourself is more than just self-care. It sets the tone for how other people treat you – and how you teach them to treat you.

Setting Goals In The New Year

I’m a big fan of Danielle LaPorte and use her daily planner. One of the things I’ve learned from using her planner is to be kind to myself and to send love and light at every possible moment. For me, sending love and light is the only way I can truly forgive someone – especially myself.

Using this daily planner helps me to focus on what I’m willing to do to feel the way I want to feel deep inside. Happiness, peace and joy come from within and if you’re so busy beating yourself up, how can you find peace?

Instead of saying “I didn’t accomplish what I wanted”, why not say “I’m focusing on what I did accomplish and moving on from there”. How about taking stock of your effort instead of your accomplishments? 

Isn’t it far more important to know that you showed up and did your best as opposed to counting “failures”? And some days, your “okayest” may be the best you can do. So be it.  Kind and Gentle, New Years Resolution, self love

Recently, I spent part of my evening with a trusted friend. I was telling her about all the clutter that I’m donating to a very worthy cause and (here’s where it gets painful) I have a stack of sweet little hopeful books and motivational journals that I wrote several years ago. Just sitting there taking up valuable space. What do you do with that stuff? You know what she said?

“You tried. You put yourself out there and opened your heart. Not everyone is that brave.”

Annie’s Hope Center is opening in early Spring 2019 and helps women who endured domestic violence to get back on their feet. I do believe we can all use a motivational and hopeful journal to begin our new journey. So, I’m donating all those books and journals to Annie’s Hope Center in the hopes that it will help someone who is struggling.

Ah, yes. The silver lining in the black cloud. self love

So, this year, let’s set some goals, dream some BIG dreams and be kind and gentle. Let’s make sure one of the goals we all set is to be kind and gentle, especially to ourselves. Are you with me?

Many blessings to each of you. I am so grateful for your continued support.

Happy New Year!


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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

My gift to you is a sweet and joyful Christmas poem:

I Wish That I Could Wrap Up Christmas

I wish that I could wrap up all the love and Holiday cheer
That comes along with Christmas and with New Year’s every year,
Pack it in a pretty box and put it on my shelf
And pull it down again each year and give it to myself.
I wish that I could tie up all my favorite carols with twine,
Wind around some ribbon, too, and for twelve months call them mine
Until the next Yuletide came when the sounds again could be unfurled
And untie every single one then give them to the world

With all the busyness, hustle and bustle around the Christmas season, my gift to you is a moment to relax and smile with a sweet poem.

Merry Christmas and Many Blessings,


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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!



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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!