Blending new with old

Theatre of Dionysus 4th century BC w/ present day Athens in the background

European Inspiration: Incorporating the New with the Old

In cities like Rome and Athens, while you’re hopping between new 21st century additions like chic bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, it’s fully possible that you may stumble over ruins that are thousands of years old. New apartments are built against old city walls that were both built and torn down centuries ago. Certain streets are still cobblestone. In some countries, old mother tongues are still widely spoken—ancient Greek, Welsh, and Gaelic, for instance.

Certain European countries have not only managed incorporate the new with the old, but they have done so flawlessly. Even now, the past and the present are not separate—in many places, the past is still very much alive and very much a part of people’s day-to-day lives.

How the New and the Old Can Work Together

We can learn a lot from this willingness to incorporate the new with the old. Even though you and I probably don’t have to worry about restructuring historical monuments or, there are still plenty of way we  can apply these principals in our daily lives.

Consider these tips for using old solutions for new successes:

Embrace old medicine. Before aspirin tablets, there was willow bark. Instead of DayQuil, how about using Echinacea to fight that cold? Or ginger for arthritis pain? Natural remedies fell out of fashion for a while, but they are still around and still as effective as ever.

Choose natural over man-made. Today, cleaning products like Windex are staples in most homes. But why surround yourself with all those harsh chemicals when you can make your own with just some water, vinegar, and alcohol? And instead of laundry detergent, how about reusable soap nuts? (I’ve used them—they really work!)

Grow your own. Instead of relying on grocery stores, why not start your own little garden right in your own backyard? (Or even on your windowsill, or in your refrigerator door!) Sure, supermarkets made everything a lot easier and more convenient, but what’s better and more fulfilling than stepping outside for your own fresh produce?

The past and present do not have to exist in opposition—they can work together.

Luckily, there are ways to embrace the past while still being modern. Embracing old methods doesn’t mean doing to live by yourself in a cabin in the woods. (Though we’re not knocking the idea!) It’s just about living as mindfully, productively, and creatively as possible.

 

ALO Blends by Krista Jean are all about embracing the pure benefits of natural substances. These methods are not old or outdated, they’re tried-and-true. They work. It’s like building a new apartment up against a wall that is centuries old—using the past to support the present.

Originally posted March 3, 2015. Updated December 15, 2017

How to Detox After the 4th of July

Ahhh, Independence Day! What’s better than the 4th of July? Even a week later, I’m sure plenty of us are still floating around on that 4th-of-July buzz. It’s just like Christmas in July. Just instead of Santa and reindeer, we have fireworks. And instead of logs on the fire, we have sticks in the backyard fire pit. Instead of carols, we have drunken renditions of “God Bless the USA.” And instead of eggnog, we have beer. Lots and lots of beer.

 

And then along comes the 5th of July. The dumb 5th of July. No one asks the 5th of July to show up—it just does. It just waltzes right in like it owns the place, dashing our dreams of a life where everything is bonfires and patriotism and beer-covered hot dogs to remind us that we have kids to feed and yards to clean up. Thanks a lot, 5th of July.

 

But, we made it! It’s been a solid week now and we’re still standing. (Congratulations!) Now, at long last, the weekend is here again! Just in case you find yourself carrying the party over to this weekend and getting into similar shenanigans, (or if you’re still feeling some side effects from the 4th!), here are some tips to help you recover after a big party weekend:

  • Load up on liquids: Water, water, water. Though you may feel like you need it now more than ever, you might have to skip the coffee morning. The day after rabble-rousing, stick with water. Room temperature water is more hydrating than ice cold, so skip the ice cubes this time around. Remember my HANGOVER post from last year.
  • Take naps. If you thought naps were only for toddlers and college kids, think again! Naps are for everyone! And after a wild weekend, you’ll see they’re just what the doctor ordered.
  • B-12. Since alcohol is a diuretic, you’ll need to replenish a lot of the vitamins you lost over the weekend. Of these, B-12 is major because of the effects it has on your brain and nervous system. Try to load up on foods rich in B-12, like fish (mackerel, shell fish, salmon, tuna), cheese (Swiss, feta, mozzarella), eggs, and/or beef. I also always look for foods that contain no additives, no preservatives, little to no refinement, and nothing artificial. This includes what animals are fed before they make it my table.
  • Eat the right stuff.  Post-party days, it’s really important to take care of your liver, since your liver is doing all the work to flush out toxins in our bodies. Be sure to eat plenty of foods that will support your liver, like lemons and grapefruit
  • Keep the party going. In your mind, that is. Half the heartache of post-4th comes from knowing that the party is over. But it doesn’t have to be if you keep the spirit alive. Remember, you can do it all again next weekend!

Oil Pulling – part 2

The oil pulling post a couple weeks ago got me wondering. Since I’ve been curious about what other people think of oil pulling, I decided to talk to a couple people who I know have been using the process faithfully for the past year or so: My kids. A perfect idea, I thought, since the boys have been oil pulling for more than a year now and are pretty much certified experts. Plus, I thought, it’s always fun to get a kid’s perspective. I thought.

Here’s how it went:

Me: What do you think about oil pulling?

Kid: What is oil pulling?

Me: It’s swishing with coconut oil. What do you think about swishing with coconut oil?

Kid: I don’t get the question.

Me: What would you tell someone about swishing with coconut oil?

Kid: You take coconut oil and you swish it.

Me: How often do you do it?

Kid: Ummm, I think every night, right?

Me: Do you like it?

Kid: Aaahhh… Kinda.

Me: Does it help you? Seriously, now.

Kid: Yes!

Me: How?

Kid: When my tooth hurt, it helped. Or that time my ear hurt, you told me to do it. You have me do it when my nose won’t stop running from allergies too.


Ah-ha! When my tooth hurt, it helped. Alert the media, we got some feedback! It helped! Chalk one up for oil pulling.


So, in the end, things I learned:

Don’t ask kids anything. Kidding, of course. Actually, I was shocked to hear that my kids (by not have tons to say about it) thought it was a non-issue. To me, this was great. This means that oil pulling can be worked into a nightly routine that even 4-7 year-olds (their ages when we started) can adapt to.

I was really expecting a strong (and strongly negative) reaction from them. (This is based of course on the complaints, whining and avoidance of the topic in my household.) It was actually refreshing to hear them seem so completely unfazed. It looks like oil pulling will be staying in our nightly routine, which I’m happy about. I’m also happy to know that despite the tantrums (ok, maybe that is too strong for some of the expected whining) that would suggest otherwise, oil pulling isn’t actually causing my kids physical or emotional agony.

So, if you find yourself intimidated by the process, don’t be! If my kids are doing it and not even realizing it, you can do it, too. If you’re interested in trying it, see below for some tips to help ease you (and maybe your kids!) into the process:


Tips for adding oil pulling to your routine:

  • Use a small amount. Just ½ tsp of coconut oil will do the trick. (Warning: Don’t overdo it with a mouthful–you will gag and never do it again!)

  • Swish gently. Swish the oil around your mouth, like you are squeezing it through your teeth. (If your jaw gets sore, relax and take a break, you are being a bit too forceful.)

  • Get the timing right. Swish during a quiet time like during your morning or nighttime routine when no one is talking to you. Or maybe try it when you’re distracted by something else, like during a favorite TV show.

  • Start small and grow big. Start out swishing for maybe five minutes, then gradually increase the amount of time spent swishing to around 20 minutes.

  • Don’t swallow coconut oil. It’s now filled with bacteria from your mouth – gross. After 5-20 minutes, spit the oil out (preferably in the trash, not down the drain). Rinse with water a time or two, then drink a glass of water.

Tips for making it fun for kids:

  • Create a new language. Try to talk with a mouth full of spit and coconut oil… See what you get!

  • Keep it short. Get your kids started with just one minute of swishing, then gradually build up to five minutes (or 10 minutes for older children).

  • Capitalize on the quiet time. While everybody’s swishing, take the time to watch a few minutes of a favorite TV show together, or maybe hang out in the living room and read together.

Oil Pulling – part 1

A couple of months ago, oil pulling was getting a whole lot of social media attention. (In case you missed it, oil pulling is the process of swishing coconut oil around in your mouth for about twenty minutes. The idea is that it draws all the toxins out of your mouth and throat and improves overall oral health.)

 

Oil pulling is not a new process. In fact, it’s ancient. It is a type of Aurvedic medicine, which originated in India thousands of years ago. Historically, the process was done using sesame oil (which I have been told tastes pretty bad and you would miss out on all the benefits of coconut oil).

 

While a lot of folks out there seem to be singing its praises lately, is oil pulling a process that you need to run out and get on board with right away? Maybe. But maybe not.

 

Personally, I love oil pulling. For the past couple of years (yes, years!), the boys and I have been including it in our nightly routine. The benefits have ranged from opening the sinuses, easing and eliminating tooth pain to healing that sore on the inside of your check when you bite it by accident.

We’ve actually been out of coconut oil for the past couple of weeks now and I miss it, but the boys are going to stomp their feet when it’s time to add it back to the routine… add it to my list of “Yes, you have to brush your teeth. No, you can’t skip a shower today. Yes, washing hair is a must.” Why oh why must they argue about these things?

 

But, just because we’re into it doesn’t mean you have to be! Before adding any new step to your routine, it’s a good idea to consider the process from all angles. Personally, I like to mix traditional knowledge with today’s science and throw in a dash of common sense. Before I jump into changing any routine, I ask myself a few important questions:

  • Really?! (“Seriously?!” is an acceptable alternative)
  • What other information/data/experiences do I have that lead me to believe this is credible?
  • Are the ingredients accessible? Or BETTER yet, are high quality ingredients accessible? (And affordable?)
  • Why does it work?
  • How does it work?
  • Will it work for everyone?

 

The next step is telling my husband what I want to try and why. If I can’t answer his questions, I might need to reconsider the idea. (FYI I don’t always actually share those answers with him. Sometimes the answer is simply, “Because it’s better!” When I am confident in something new, “Because it’s better!” is sometimes just an easier explanation.) But it’s always good to run things by people you know and trust. Being challenged with new or hard questions can make you consider (and reconsider) ideas from new angles. Sometimes your ego might disagree with your mind, but that’s the point.

Oil pulling passed all of the tests. I tried it, I got my family to try it, and so far (two years later), everyone seems really happy with it. It’s another tool in our toolbox to lead fun, healthy lives.

 

But what about you?

 

For those of you who were introduced to oil pulling back when it was making the rounds on social media a few months ago, did you try it? If so, how far did you get? Did you read an article or two and decide it wasn’t for you? Or did you give it a go for a week? Two weeks? Months? Of those of you who tried it, I’m curious to see how many people are still doing it. Maybe you’re not doing it every day as it’s recommended (guilty here), but what about on a regular basis or pseudo schedule?

 

Let me know! I’m interested to see what everyone else out there thinks about oil pulling. Also, is there any series of vigorous (or not-so-vigorous) testing that you put your new routines through before trying them out?

 

Next week, there’s more to come on oil pulling! We’ll have answers to some of the above questions, plus some resources. Stay tuned!

Celebrate the Ridiculous

Celebrating the ridiculous, letting go, enjoying life – all are reoccurring themes and topics of discussion for many of us.

Further discussion seems fitting since we kicked off the week with Mardi Gras and a laissez faire attitude AND this week many celebrate Dr. Suess’s birthday. If you have a small child (or are a grown up Dr. Suess fan), this week you have been lucky enough to have “serious” conversations about crazy hats, funky socks, Wacky Wednesday’s mismatched attire, and green eggs.

Maybe you need these special occasions to bring out your ridiculous side, but… just for a moment… think about what your world would be like if you celebrated the ridiculous more often and just for fun.

 

The idea is appealing isn’t it???

 

Here are 5 suggestions to celebrate the ridiculous just because!

1-Skip! You cannot help but smile, laugh, chuckle, giggle (and hopefully all of them at the same time) when you skip. It might even give you a taste of what Rachel felt when she tried Pheobe’s crazy running style through Central Park (hee hee did you like the random Friends reference thrown in there).

2-Sing badly at the top of your lungs – Singing along to great music is a sure way to lighten your mood. The more off-key you are, the better! Think of it as a public service, because innocent by-standers will giggle too.

3-Splash in a puddle – Stomp and let the water droplets fly. Don’t let yourself think about it, just jump. One puddle won’t be enough (besides you are already a bit wet anyway), you will be scouting the nearby puddles to run and jump in.

ps: Playing in the mud is a very acceptable alternative.

4-Wear a cape… Kids want to be a hero and they believe that they ARE the hero. They change the world one adventure at a time. Play dress up, stage a sword fight and remember the time when everything was a possibility. Believe in yourself!

5-Give hugs freely. Hugs brighten your day regardless of whether you are the one giving or receiving the hug. Just think of an excited child’s hug. You know the ones where you have to widen your stance and open your arms as wide as you can so you can catch the flying leap and soak in bear hug that follows the leap. Add a little spin and let the smiles slide into giggles. “Free hugs” has it’s own movement – check out Free Hugs Campaign. Plus there is research out there showing that the body’s stress levels are reduced following a good hug from a loved one.

 

See the magic in the little things. Bed head, noooo… The fairies danced in your hair last night! Enjoy finding and celebrating the ridiculous in your world!

Aim HERE – The challenge of keeping a toilet clean

Living with boys (of all ages) is usually oh, so wonderful. One on-going challenge remains… aim and the clean up that ultimately follows when the illusive target is missed! Why oh why is it so hard to get all pee inside of the toilet? This topic is near and dear to many, but probably not a regular topic of discussion, right?!

Instead, it is more likely that demands are made in a louder than normal voice, probably from across the house:
“Make sure you aim this time,”

“Seriously?! Did anything actually get into the toilet,”

“If this keeps up, YOU are going to be cleaning the bathrooms,”

“Alright already, just SIT DOWN when you go!”

 

Sound familiar? If you are resigned to the fact that correct aim is an illusive goal bordering on full fledged myth, let’s focus instead on the clean up.


The supplies are easy to find, cost effective, gentle on the planet and fun for kids to use.

  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar (regular white distilled vinegar)
  • Essential oils (citrus, pines and /or tea tree are great options)*
  • Spray Bottle with All Purpose Cleaner –recipe below
  • Toilet brush
  • Rags

RECIPE for Cleaning the TOILET BOWL

  • Approx ½ cup of baking soda dropped into the bowl, then add approx ½ cup of vinegar and watch the chemical reaction, This is the fun part for the kids (of all ages) since watching the fizzing never seems to get old
  • Add 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oils
  • Scrub the bowl clean

 

Cleaning OUTSIDE and AROUND the toilet bowl (remember, bad aim is the reason for the mess in the first place)

Using paper towels or rags soak up the mess. After spraying the outside of the bowl, rim, lid, floor (and don’t forget the back and sides of the bowl), use your rags or paper towels, wipe the area.

RECIPE for All Purpose Cleaner Assuming you have a 16oz spray bottle

  • 14oz of water
  • 2 oz of vinegar
  • 40 drops of your favorite essential oils
    • Try 20 drops Lemon (Citrus sinensis)
    • 15 drops Siberian Fir (Abies sibirica)
    • 5 drops Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

 

These natural cleaning recipes will kill germs/bacteria (removing nasty smells) and leave behind a wonderful aroma!

We can not always limit or reduce everyday exposure to environmental toxins, but at home, we can control and influence it. You can start by removing commercial cleaners and reducing toxic chemicals in your home.

 

*To be even more cost effective use your essential oils that are nearing the end of their shelf life as your ‘cleaning oils’. This is especially true of your citrus oils. Check out Aromatics International for great prices on ‘cleaning oils’

Resolutions? Status update time

We all have our New Years activities and traditions – Watching as the ball drops, fireworks burst, kisses and hugs all around… No, that’s not you? Snuggled into bed with your comfy jammies by 10:00 p.m. and asleep by 10:05?! How about resolutions? Do you make them or not?

A new year is seen as a clean slate for some, so with it comes the flurry of New Year’s Resolutions. Some we make public (in hopes of being held accountable by others, right?) and others are kept private (just in case it doesn’t work out). This tradition has always been a curious one to me, well, that and eating black-eyed peas for luck.

 

It’s the end of February – How are you doing with your resolutions???

Have they made a difference? Any renewed motivation? As you probably already know, you are not alone.

Huffington Post article and Forbes article both reference the new University of Scranton study and they summarize the most common resolutions as well as probability of success (might want to skim past that part). While both are a bit interesting, the summary at the end of the Huffinton Post article and #4 (Enjoy Life to the Fullest) are closer to fascinating.

-less than half of Americans make a resolution

-only 1 in 8 will make it through the entire year

On to the amazing part… Those who make the resolution (regardless of reaching end goal or making it through the year) are 10 times more likely to change their lives.

 

I like it!

 

So here is my wonder… Is it more about setting your intentions to the positive and less about setting a specific goal?

I vote for keeping it simple as suggested in the Forbes article, but why sell yourself short with a limiting goal? I love checking things off of my to-do list (doesn’t everyone), but I hate the judgment (all self imposed) that comes with missing an imaginary milestone or deadline.

GREAT read on the difference between setting goals and making a commitment to continual improvement.

My unsolicited advice???

Challenge yourself – Everyday do your best and celebrate the good, the wins and the amazing in your life. Yup, the crap will still be there, so picture that as better too. No imaginary, fantasy world needed. Did you miss a run (or two or three)? OK, you did, accept it and move on (just breathe). Instead of letting the negativity rule your thoughts, remember the time spent playing a game of chase with your little love or that you walked up 2 flights of stairs instead of waiting for the elevator.

 

Focus on what’s really important – You can ask yourself what the most important thing in life, the year or the day, then focus on that. The book, The One Thing by Gary Keller asks the question “What is the ONE Thing you do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” Gives us ‘multi-taskers’ something to think about.

Example of a resolution is to ‘Run a marathon this year’ Why? Bored with 5Ks? No?! OH! It’s because you are sick all of the time, stressed out, unhappy and out of shape. When you set a goal of running a marathon, then you only think running 26.2 miles vs. an intention of a healthy lifestyle, then you focus on your food, amount of quality sleep, exercise, relaxation and fun, hobbies, boundaries at work and even how the friends around you are able to support and lift you up.

 

You set the timeframe – Things that are important may or may not fit into a calendar year. Do what works for your life.

 

However you decide to make your world a better place, I wish you tons of fun and lots of success!!

Lip Balm Challenge

With the weather change, my lips have needed more lip balm than usual. Last night, I paused to think through the various locations for each lip balm – closest to my current location was the bathroom counter.

Fast forward a few minutes and the idea for a social media ‘contest’ formed!

 

Share or retweet the question below (include your answer too!)

How many lip balms does it take… to get you through a set of chapped lips?

For me, it takes FOUR

-Purse

-Bathroom drawer

-Kitchen counter

-My hubby’s pocket

 

FOUR winners will be randomly selected from all who share & tweet the contest AND share their answer on Friday, December 13 (Friday the 13th holds special place in my heart) to receive FOUR Krista Jean Lip Balms

 

For more info about Lip Care by Krista Jean, check out our website .

AND Like or Follow us on FB, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.

Removing Halloween Makeup – Naturally & Gently

Coconut Oil – a simple and natural solution to removing everything from your sparkles to your fake bullet wound.

Young and old – we all share a love of dressing up so Halloween brings out everything from fake eyelashes and inch thick eyeliner to blood and gore.

 

All of this gets painted directly onto our skin, specifically our faces, which all have to go back to normal at the end of the night. No turning into a pumpkin at midnight, but unless you live alone and work from home, you do have to trade in the costume and go back to being a parent, teacher, boss, etc. in the morning.

 

With all of the planning, trial runs and product options, it’s rare to think of how to take the Halloween makeup off. Use Coconut oil. This natural oil will help to loosen and dissolve the makeup and glues. Do not try to pull the glue (i.e. eyelashes) from your skin – um OUCH and it is bad for your skin.

 

Gently spread the coconut oil over your face (or wherever you used the makeup), then just as gently, wipe it away with a washcloth. Certain areas might need a couple of tries. If needed, follow this with washing with a gentle soap (i.e. castile soap, combined with a little jojoba oil).

Note: We use organic, unrefined coconut oil (remember it liquefies or solidifies depending on the temperature).

 

Makeup Artist Kara Winslow highly recommends only using high quality products for your costume makeup. Your costume will look more authentic and your skin will thank you. She loves glitter and rhinestones on her clients!


Wishing you a Happy Halloween and tons of fun getting your Trick or Treats!!

Running a little warm, try a swim in the tub

Not feeling well, dragging a bit and maybe the forehead is starting to feel a bit warm? Fever is our bodies’ natural defense against infections and viruses. Heat destroys the nasty invaders. In the meantime, you feel run down and crummy. Maybe even have some chills and aches.

 

To help your body heal itself and give you some relief from the symptoms, our family uses takes a warm bath with our newly deemed ‘Fever Salts’

The ingredients combine to soothe your symptoms, boost your immune system and reduce your fever. I have even heard (but not researched) that baking soda can be used in baths to draw out toxins and therefore, help reduce the fever.

 

Below is what works for us…

 

Supplies – you will need

½ – 1 cup good quality salts (KJ favs are Dead Sea Salts, Celtic Gray Sea Salt or Himalayan Pink)

½ cup baking soda

2 drops of Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides)

2 drops of Black Pepper (Piper nigrum)

1 drop of Thyme ct linalol (Thymus vulgaris ct linalol)

 

You can blend all of these ingredients in advance (or have your favorite aromatherapist create custom salts just for your needs), but more than likely, you will create this on the fly when someone doesn’t feel well.

 

If you are blending this beside the tub, I suggest adding the salts and baking soda (no oils yet) as you fill the tub. Right before you step into the tub, take a small palm-full of salts and add the essential oils. Drop the now scented salts into the tub and carefully step into it.

 

This is BEST done at night before bed or if you are home sick, then plan on climbing into bed for a nice long nap after your bath.

Relax and enjoy! Feel better soon!

PS I have read that drinking a glass of water before AND then after a bath is a good idea. When you are not feeling well, it is probably an even better idea.