Where Did My Essential Oil Blog Posts Go? i.e. How I Lost 67% Of My Blog Traffic

Where Are My Essential Oil Blog Posts and Pins? | Living Consciously Blog

So hey, apparently upwards of 20,000 of you used to visit my blog every month from Pinterest for my essential oil recipes. Recipes that I still use literally every single day, multiple times a day. Where did my essential oil blog posts go? Well, I was forced to remove them all from my blog. Not only my own blog posts, but my entire Pinterest board of other peoples’ blog posts, as well any Twitter or personal Facebook posts where I mentioned how I used essential oils or how they work.

For the record, I’ve never really made discernible income from selling essential oils. I published the recipes for literally thousands of visitors to use and fewer than 20 people ever actually bought oils from links on this blog over 3 years. Even when those people bought oils from my site, I only got gift certificates for the purchase of more oils, at a ridiculous percentage like 5% or 10% of their purchase (I don’t even know because it was insignificant. I think the most I ever got was $10. Which required me to buy product to utilize.). When someone “signed up” under me, I got a one-time payment, but only if I had spent enough on product in the last few months, myself. I have had less than 40 people sign up “under” me in 3 years because I have never pushed oils on anyone. I never contacted anyone who signed up “under” me in order to pressure them to buy or sell oils. I also made sure to always post recipes that could be used with any brand of oil, not just the one that I sold.

I offer all these qualifications, not because I owe them to anyone, but because I want you to understand that I was not making money hand-over-fist from this endeavor. The only entity making money from the posts on this blog were the companies who sold the oils. The same company that came to me and told me that they would disconnect my account if I did not remove all these posts.

Not only was I asked to remove the posts on this blog, but also all the Pins of recipes I had pinned on Pinterest from other people’s blogs. You might say, “hey, no one can tell me what to Pin!”. That’s what I thought too, but apparently I was wrong. Because I tried to preserve some of the recipes on the Pinterest board and the company DID disconnect my essential oils account until I had deleted the entire board. All of the saved recipes, gone. So if you followed that board on Pinterest, that’s why you can’t find them anymore.

Why? Because of the FDA. In January 2015, the FDA sent warning letters to the two primary essential oil companies, who are both network marketing organizations {definition}, to alert them that their company representatives were making health claims about oils that are restricted only to drugs in the U.S. You can read the letters here. If you don’t live in the U.S. or aren’t familiar with the way the FDA works, it is an governmental organization that takes craptons of money from large corporations to put it’s stamp of approval on their products saying those products are safe. This organization is responsible for approving such chemicals as trans fats, in which evidence of serious harm built up for nearly 20 years before the organization finally admitted that the substance was clearly toxic. It had to wait that long to say something because it’s primary source of income is from drug companies, most of which sell drugs that combat the effects of trans fats.

Was it ridiculous that some people selling oils were claiming they could cure cancer and ebola? Probably so. There are also plenty of uninformed people out there advocating the misuse of oils without proper dilution, even now. And yes, that kind of abuse should be regulated by someone. But how far is it ok to take this? For example, a “headache” is a symptom of a number of diseases including glaucoma, brain cancers, and migraines. In the U.S., diseases are only allowed to be treated by FDA approved drugs. Only companies that have paid the FDA for review and approval can claim to cure disease. Therefore, according to the FDA, I cannot tell you that essential oils can help your headache, because that is the same as claiming the oils cure cancer or glaucoma (even though that’s not what I said). Because the essential oil companies didn’t pay the FDA for the right to say that.

As a Pinterest user, you’ll find that Pins about essential oils are being deleted from your boards or that the Pins now link to pages that no longer exist. All the recipes are gone, slowly being removed by the bloggers if they want to keep their personal access to the source of the oil.

For now, if you want to use essential oils daily for wellness as I do, my recommendation is to buy an essential oils pocket desk reference (affiliate link), which contains an extensive index of health issues and the appropriate oils and safe usage to treat them, as well as scientific research to back it all up.

I have deleted all references to the brand I use on this blog and also deleted the personal web site portal that I paid the company to allow me to offer the oils for sale directly online. Honestly, I have considered ending my relationship with the company. Right now, that’s still not off the table completely. But as I mentioned, I do use oils literally every day and believe in their effectiveness. I just can’t tell you about that anymore.

Fortunately, I’ve never been an essential oils blogger. This blog is a chronicle of my ongoing journey for health and wellness. It is indeed unfortunate that I am not longer allowed to share this facet of my journey with you. I hope to be following this blog post with another post about what direction I’d like to take with the blog in the future, as the drastic decrease in traffic leaves me with a bit of a challenge. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Working out with kids in tow: the SAHM fitness dilemna

5 Ways to fit in working out, even with kids | Conscientious ConfusionI finally “got around” to working out again when my second child was 18 months old, after taking a break for a little more than 2 years. Part of the reason it took so long for me to get back on board with fitness was my own confusion after becoming a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM): how could I work out regularly when I have two children with me all the time? It’s been a little over 2 years now and I’ve developed several sneaky ways for sneaking in fitness. To save you the time and experimentation, here are my hacks for working out with kids in tow!

1. At home workout videos

While this is the most-touted and perhaps glaringly obvious choice, I have to caution that this option only works long-term for those who are extremely self-motivated. If we work all day in the home, it is extremely difficult to snap out of “work mode” long enough to commit to exercise. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve put on workout clothes, set up the DVD, and then spent an hour doing laundry and cleaning the kitchen instead. Then of course, there is the random child walking in and interrupting, the baby crying, etc. etc., etc. Workout videos are great in a pinch, but they probably should not be the mainstay of your exercise routine, because they are unreliable at best for a SAHM. If you are up for it, my recommendations would be: Cody App for iPhone/iPad (which allows you to purchase as many specific workouts as you want) and Sara Ivanhoe yoga DVDs.

2. Bring the kids into the workout

There are several types of fitness workouts specifically designed to include your younger children. For organized instructor-led workouts, search for Mommy & Me yoga, Stroller Strides, and Baby Boot Camps. These classes work best if you have a child under the age of 3 who will stay in one place on the ground or in the stroller for short periods of time. A cheaper options is to walk or run with your child in the stroller, which is free and very flexible when it comes to time! Unfortunately, once your child reaches about 3.5 years old, they aren’t usually interested in these integrative forms of exercise anymore and will start to throw fits and become truly difficult to contain, so you’ll have to switch at that point or you’re basically wasting your money.

3. Fitness facilities with childcare

You’d actually be surprised how many gyms, yoga studios, and boutique studios offer babysitting. Make sure you’ve checked the studio web site for these offerings. If you are in North Dallas/Richardson, the YMCA locations in this area are known to have great babysitting, as well as several of the nearby 24 Hour Fitness locations. I have been told by Valerie that LifeTime Fitness in Plano has an excellent kids care area. Yoga studios offering babysitting include We Yogis in Dallas and Samatone Yoga in Addison. Many yoga studios also offer kids yoga classes at the same time as adults classes for children 3 years old and up.

4. Small boutique studios that are tolerant of children 

If you have an ongoing relationship with a small boutique studio, they’ll often allow you to take a child into a corner of the workout room or the glassed-in waiting area (where you can see them) with an iPad or book to read. This works best for children over the age of 4 years. We have several moms at our studio who do this and it works perfectly fine!

5. Lean on your partner – early morning workouts

Early morning workouts are best maximized by taking group fitness classes specifically designed to pack an efficient workout into an hour or less! There are hundreds of 6am classes at gyms, boot-camp style workouts, yoga, Pilates…the entire world of fitness is open to you, if only you are willing to be there by 6am and you’ll get home by 7am to allow your partner to go to work! Will your significant other cuddle the baby or change a diaper the exact same way you do? Maybe not, but that’s what’s special about his or her bond with your kids. It’s different. And they need that time together, just like you need your alone time. Let go of your inner control freak, go to bed a little earlier the night before, and start the day energized and refreshed from your workout! Warning: you might end up foregoing a shower and being in your workout clothes all day. Utilize nap times for showers!

 

There are probably more options that I’m missing right now, but the point is that you keep fitness in mind as one of your goals. Work to fit it into your schedule where you can, and let it be something that you do for you, with or without your kids. They will see your commitment and internalize health as something important as they grow older.

Dairy free frothy coconut coffee creamer

I love a creamy cup of coffee. Who am I kidding, I love coffee regardless of what is in it! But my favorite is when the coffee turns a light brown color and has some nice froth on top. Since I rarely spend money on coffee outside my home, I don’t get froth very often. And since I’ve made an effort to cut back on dairy, I had even been skipping the creamer regularly.

Then one of my green blogger friends recommended full-fat coconut milk. You know, the kind that you buy in a can for cooking Thai food. I tried that for a while but it was thin & watery compared to half and half.

You might have seen the idea going around Pinterest where a can of coconut milk is refrigerated and beaten until fluffy. My creamer idea is built from that, with two added ingredients. I’ve been totally addicted to this dairy free coconut creamer lately!

Dairy Free Frothy Coconut Coffee Creamer | Conscientious Confusion

Dairy Free Frothy Coconut Coffee Creamer

1 can full fat coconut milk (buy here – affiliate link)

1/4 cup organic raw sugar (buy here – affiliate link)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

1. Put the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight.

UPDATE: Upon removal from fridge, I have lately started trying to drain as much of the separated liquid as possible from the solid. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Some brands separate better than others. If you can find a brand without guar, those work best. I usually can’t, so I use the brand linked to above and it typically separates somewhat.

2. Whip the coconut milk with a hand or stand blender until it is light and fluffy.
Whipping coconut cream for a dairy free frothy coconut coffee creamer | Conscientious Confusion

3. Add the sugar and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated (do not over-whip).

4. Store in tightly closed container, such as a reused glass jar, in the refrigerator. It will keep for 7-10 days.
Container for dairy free frothy coconut coffee creamer | Conscientious Confusion

I drop mine but the spoonful into the cup before pouring coffee, and often add even more after the mug is filled! It’s especially yummy with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

 

The Non-Organic Apple Wreath Solution

The other day at Trader Joe’s I got distracted by my children tipping over the kid-sized shopping carts and accidentally grabbed a bag of apples that were not organic. Oh no! Seriously, I wouldn’t freak out about this as much if apples weren’t rated #1 by the EWG as the most toxic fruit when grown conventionally. And yes, the testing is done on apples that have been thoroughly washed and peeled. The toxins run that deep in apples. Scary.

I’m not going to lie, I took it upon myself to eat some of them, but I didn’t enjoy it. All I could think about was the toxins! I had 4-5 apples left in the bag. What could I do with non-organic apples that are not fit for eating? I consulted Pinterest and found this wreath from L.Michelle using dried apples. She did a great job, it was very artsy. Fortunately, I have a dehydrator and one of those fruit/veggie slicers that consistently slices off large chunks of my fingers.

Non-organic apple wreath supplies

I have to admit that I did not look at her wreath’s picture when I ran to the craft store for supplies. I was too busy keeping both my kids in the cart and running to the potty with them midway through a 10 minute shopping trip. So my wreath doesn’t have the beautiful star anise or acorns or whatever. I made this thing on the floor with my kids jumping over it while trying to prevent them from actually eating the apples. Here is the result:

Apple Wreath made from accidentally purchased non-organic apples | Conscientious Confusion Definitely not as awesome as the original, but I hope that, with her instructions and my personal recommendation that you can do this even if you have two little “helpers”. Remember: you, too, can prevent the unintentional eating of non-organic apples by gluing your apples to a bunch of branches and hanging it on your door!

If you do make an apple wreath, please send me a link to your picture or tweet/Instagram it to me! I promise not to get mad when yours looks more awesome than mine.

Earth Day Lesson: Upcycling

upcycling from ThredUP

It’s April, and that means Earth Day! I am attempting to feature educational content on green living throughout this month, perhaps simple things that we kind of take for granted when it comes to the small steps that help us live more consciously in respect for the things we have been given.

Obviously, one thing we all need to do is reduce our waste. Did you know that according to Environmentalistseveryday.org, if we put all of the solid waste collected in the U.S. in a line of average garbage trucks, that line of trucks could cross the country, extending from NY to LA, more than 100 times?  I have recently been working with a company who has some great ideas on their Pinterest page devoted exclusively to “upcycling”, which is a buzzword for reusing items that would otherwise be thrown out.  Here are some favorite pins from that board:

Blue Jean Planters – Perfect way to extend the life of all those old jeans you have laying around!

Rain Boot Flower Pots – This just makes me happy!

Tank Top Tote – Easy way to turn your old tank in to a bag!

Easter Egg Slithering Snake – Don’t throw out those old Easter eggs!  Turn them in to a toy.

Placemat Basket – Don’t waste your money on buying storage baskets when you can easily make one from an old placemat.

Ketchup Bottle Pancake Mix Dispenser – Makes the perfect pancake!

Today’s word of the day is “upcycle”.

I know you’re probably on Pinterest too — what are your favorite ideas for upcycling? Have you tried any of them?