Getting Healthy

Music and Sleep

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla

Listening to about 45 minutes of relaxing music before bed can help you relax and fall asleep faster, sleep longer, wake up less during the night, and feel more rested in the morning.

Listening to the “right” kind of music can slow down your heart rate to the 60-beats-per-minute range needed to enter the “sleep zone,” help you breathe easier, and lower your blood pressure.


The “right” kind of music can masks background noise,

The “right” kind of music can shorten stage two sleep cycles and help you reach restful REM sleep, the restorative part of our sleep, more quickly.

The “right” kind of music can blocking both disruptive external sounds, such as traffic, and internal sounds, such as tinnitus.

The “right” kind of music can fill in uncomfortable silences.

And the “right” kind of music can provide a sense of companionship and security.


So what is the “right” kind of music to listen to if I want to have a good night’s sleep for a change…and what makes it “right”…

Music is a always a matter of personal preference…(just ask any Southern Baptist about their preference between singing hymns or 7-11, seven words sung eleven times, songs in big church)…

But there are certain things to keep in mind when choosing the music that you do listen to at night, such as…

  • Beats Per Minute…Choose something that has a rhythm of about sixty to eighty beats per minute.
  • Familiarity…Choose something that you actually are familiar with and like.
  • Neutrality…Choose music that does not evoke strong emotions.
  • Pitch Perfect…Choose music with lower pitches, nobody wants or needs to hear anyone scream and squeal right before they go to sleep and tranquil melodies.
  • Rhythm…Choose music a regular rhythm, not too much syncopation.
  • Words…Choose music without words…it’s more likely to make you sleepy. Our good friends Johann Sebastian Bach and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, not to mention Frederic Chopin, have written enough music to fill our playlists from here to eternity.

So what IS the “right” kind of music to listen to if you want to have a good night’s sleep for a change…and what makes it “right”…

The “right” kind of music for you personally to listen to in order to have a good night’s sleep for a change may not be, and probably will not be the “right” kind of music for any other person on this planet Earth.

So the “right” kind of music for you personally to listen to in order to have a good night’s sleep for a change should be music that you choose, based on what you like and what you need from the music at the time.

But to get an idea of the type of music and playlists that have worked for other people, take a look at these top  “sleep” playlists from Spotify and these options available from Bedtime Beats.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday, Getting Healthy

Book Review…Essential Glow

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla

Essential Glow: Recipes & Tips for Using Essential Oils is an all-inclusive guide to natural beauty written for people who would like to learn how to use essential oils in their daily lives to boost their beauty, home, and general wellness.

This book sparked my interest because I am just now starting to use essential oils in my home now that I have started this journey to a happier and healthier lifestyle.

The title, Essential Glow, is appropriate for the book because the book was written by the same people who host the popular Hello Glow website—the ultimate source for daily inspiration, recipes, projects, and tips for living a healthy, mindful life and learning more about natural beauty and wellness.

The author of the book is Stephanie Gerber, a Nashville-based natural living blogger, who has also written…Stephanie Gerber says that she believes that “the journey to well-being can and should be, simple and beautiful, natural and stylish.”

The book is filled with over two hundred simple recipes and tutorials for making organic skincare and haircare-products, household cleaners, and even cosmetics at home…all using essential oils…including recipes for laundry softeners, all purpose cleaners, steam tablets, masks, bath oils, and invigorating scrubs.

Getting Healthy

Book Review…Essential Oils: The Complete Guide: Essential Oils for Beginners, Aromatherapy and Essential Oil Recipes



Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla

Essential Oils: The Complete Guide: Essential Oils for Beginners, Aromatherapy and Essential Oil Recipes is a guide book about essential oils written to “introduce you to the world of essential oils and aromatherapy.”

The book was written primarily for beginners who have absolutely no prior knowledge about using essential oils and carrier show how to use them properly…

This book sparked my interest because so many of the natural body care and skincare products that I will be making and sharing in the near future contain them.

The title, Essential Oils: The Complete Guide: Essential Oils for Beginners, Aromatherapy and Essential Oil Recipes, is appropriate for the book because the book explains everything in simple, easy to understand steps..

The purpose of the book–showing how to use essential oils  properly-is carried out throughout the book as evident by the fact that the book tells the reader how to store your essential oils and carrier oils, and the fact that It is important to know what you are doing when you are using essential oils because some essential oils can do things such as increase UV light/sunlight sensitivity and affect your hormones.

According to the introduction, this book promises to teach you a natural treatment that takes care of both your mental and physical health at the same time…how to cure your common cold without the use of drugand how to start the day exploding with motivation and energy, whilst finishing the day calm, content and stress-free.all through the proper application of essential oils.

The author of the book is Amy Joyson.

The main idea of the book is that both your health and vitality can be improved through the use of essential oils.

My favorite part of the book was definitely the over 100 recipes for natural body and skincare products, as well as home cleaning products because this is something that I am focusing on right now in both my life and my blog…recipes to enhance your calm or self-esteem and confidence, to uplift your mood, to support your detox and many, many more.

Other topics discussed include what aromatherapy is and how you can use aromatherapy at home for stress relief and weight loss, what carrier oils are and how to use them, and what exactly essential oils are and how they work in the body.

I highly recommend this book, and feel that you will also be happy that you bought it.

Heading Off to Work

The “About Me” Blog Page


(posting this here because I just updated my “about me” page today and wanted to see if I could get any feedback, positive or negative, about what I have written, as I start reworking my site…

…yes, I do know that’s not me, just the me that I aspire to be perhaps…

…no, not off on another tangent just yet…sleep is just too dang important not to keep talking about, right(?!))…

One of our primary goals as writers, bloggers, and simply people in general should be to establish friendships and relationships…

A good place to start building these relationships as a blog writer/reader is on the the “About Me” page of any blog…


The “About Me” page is one of the most important pages on any blog. Not only is it one of the most popular pages, but it’s also the page that will make your audience fall in love with you and want to keep coming back for more.

The “About Me” page should basically answer two very important questions…


1.  Who am I?
2.  Why would anyone want to read anything that I might write?


In addition to answering these two very important questions, your “About Me” page should tell…should keep…and finally should give.

So what should your “About Me” page tell?!

Tell your perspective…Although this is called the “about me” page, it’s not actually about you yourself at all, but really all about your audience. Make sure that you’re attracting the exact audience you’re looking for within the first sentence of your “About Me” page by asking yourself…

  • What am I providing for them?
  • What makes your website different from all of the other ones out there?
  • What should my readers expect to find when they come to your site?
  • What will they get out of visiting my site?
  • Who is my target market?
  • Why should they bookmark your site and keep coming back?


Tell your story…Your story is the one unique thing that separates you from the crowd. Telling your story helps potential followers, clients, employers, and readers relate to you.

People want to know the formal you, not the polished you…the real you probably sitting on your couch in your pajamas with your hair on the top of your head in a ponytail and no makeup on drinking coffee…lots and lots of coffee…

When writing your “About Me” page, answer questions such as…

  • How can knowing you, following you, or working with you change your life?
  • What do you like? Now what do you absolutely love?
  • What do you want to be recognized for?
  • How did you get started? What inspired you to create your blog?


So how should my “About Me” page be kept?

  • Keep it concise.—Your audience doesn’t need to know every detail of your life.
  • Keep it real.—Make sure your About Me bio expresses who you are as a person and a professional in an authentic way, both in terms of content and in terms of your writing style.
  • Keep it relevant.—Make sure that your About Me bio is relevant to your blog.


So what should your “About Me” page give?

  • Give your audience a photo or two.—Include at least one high quality picture of both yourself and your workspace. Use this as another chance to truly express your personality and confirm the fact that you’re a real human being that people can know and love.
  • Give your reader an idea of what city or region you live in—. This gives your readers and followers something to relate to, as well as a peek into your world.
  • Give your audience the opportunity to stay connected with you. Include links to your Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram account along with an opt-in form for your email list.
  • Give your audience some direction as to where to go next...such as a list of your most popular articles or a specific page you want them to look at.


All that being said, here is my personal “About Me” page for this Muffins and Magnolias blog…


Christy Floyd, the blogger behind Muffins and Magnolias, has been happily married to  her wonderful husband Kurt for the last thirty-one years, and is the mother of three awesome grown daughters and  a very active “resident four year old.” She and her husband have lived in Arlington, Texas for the last thirty years, but are originally from Houston, Mississippi.


About Muffins and Magnolias

I write this blog predominantly for me because as I get older, the more easily I forget what I’ve learned or read and wanted to have a single place to look up the things that I should know and used to know, but no longer know.

Feel free to join me on my journey if you dare.

This journey is towards a more minimalistic, cruelty-free lifestyle than the one that I first began creating when my husband and I got married thirty-one years ago.

Back in 1986, when I first got married, homes and lifestyles were completely different and much more cluttered. I realized this fact about a month ago when I wandered into my first craft show in about twenty years.

Back in 1985, the big-hair and lots-of-hairspray newlyweds like myself desired clutter, ornamentation, and…looking back, perhaps, gaudiness. In 2018, as I help my daughter prepare for her upcoming wedding and new life, it seems like everyone is looking for minimalism and simplicity…

What a change from the days of Silver Dollar City country to farmhouse country during the last thirty years, right?!

Here on my website, I invite you to join me…

…as I break habits that I’ve formed over the last thirty years and swap them with new habits that are better both for my family and the environment….

…as I change our family’s eating habits from what-used-to-be the fast food generation that my kids and myself were all brought up in to a vegan or raw foods…or perhaps just healthier…diet…

…as I take each of the steps throughout my day and attack that particular part of my day to discover how I could be streamlining and doing this better and smarter…such as my mini units on “taking a shower” and “going to bed.”


Join this journey with me. Let’s fight this “yes, I’m having yet another zero birthday this year” drama with courage and skill. Learn with me. Come grow old with me, the best is yet to be.

Join me as I learn about eating a healthier diet, dressing more appropriately for this stage in my life, and celebrating life and making life better one Happy Planner section, one habit, and one day at a time.

Join me as I share stories of true-life Steel Magnolias, those women that I have known, both personally and not, who have truly inspired me.

Join me as I share stories about my own life when I have had to be a “Steel Magnolia,” such as my husband being deployed five times to Afghanistan and Iraq, living with a spouse who has PTSD, and adopting/raising a four-year old in my fifties…

Come grow old with me…Join me as I journey…



Now for overkill, I found this list of questions as a post on the GoodReads website in the Young Adult section with the following introductory paragraph…

posted a list of questions that you can answer if you are bored or something or just for fun. You don’t have to answer any or all of them. Its kind of a waste of time!

I took the time to answer all 110 questions…

Yes, I must have been bored or something…Yes, surprisingly I actually found time to waste…Yes, perhaps I could be called narcissistic and vain…

But more importantly, for you as a fellow blog reader and/or writer, to see how even stupid quizzes like this can be used to brainstorm blog topics and fill in an editorial calendar…


  • 1. What is your favorite Primary song? Jesus Loves Me
  • 2. What is your favorite nursery rhyme? Hickory, Dickory Dock
  • 3. What is your favorite subject in school? Statistics
  • 4. What is your favorite flavor of jelly beans? Licorice
  • 5. Which flavor of ice-cream do you prefer? Coffee
  • 6. What do you think is your very best feature or characteristic? Perseverance
  • 7. What is your strongest talent? Knowing when to keep my mouth shut
  • 8. Do you play a musical instrument, if so which one(s)?vyes…piano…
  • 9. What do you usually do when you have leisure time on your hands? Sleep
  • 10. What is your favorite season and why? fall…SEC football…
  • 11. If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go? London
  • 12. What is your favorite color? Red
  • 13. Who is your best friend and how did you meet? Jesus…nursery at church
  • 14. What is your favorite home cooked meal? Chicken and dumplings
  • 15. What is your favorite grab and go meal? Chipotle
  • 16. Do you prefer to wear pants or dresses? Pants…duh…
  • 17. How many siblings do you have? Two
  • 18. What is you favorite snack? The first thing that I can find
  • 19. When do you usually do your homework? Really?!
  • 20. What is your favorite electronic device? My back-up mirror on my car
  • 21. If you could be any animal which one would you prefer to be and why? Possum…they can actually get by with rolling over and “playing possum”…and even toddlers fall for it…
  • 22. What kind of vehicle do you usually ride in? Ford Edge
  • 23. Do you have pets? Two cats and one dog
  • 24. When was the last time you visited a park and what did you do while there? Two weeks ago…ate ice cream with my grandson
  • 25. What is your favorite sport to watch? SEC football
  • 26. Which sport do you most enjoy actively participating in? Too funny…
  • 27. What do you usually do when you meet someone for the first time? Hope that they won’t shake my hand, or even worse hug me…
  • 28. When was the last time you stayed or hosted a sleepover with friends? Does going to my mom’s last month count…
  • 29. If you have to dress and leave in a hurry what is the one thing you can easily cut out of your routine? Bra
  • 30. Do you plan to go to college? Been there, done that, got a t-shirt
  • 31. What job do you think you would most enjoy as an adult? The one I have now…
  • 32. Do you hope to have children of your own? If so how many. Another funny question…probably three girls…
  • 33. What was the last item you cooked and ate? Watermelon
  • 34. How many books did you read last year? One..,the Bible…
  • 35. Where did you spend your last family vacation? my mom’s
  • 36. Do you have relatives in other states? If so, which ones? Yes…Mississippi and North Carolina
  • 37. Have you ever made jell-o? It’s disgusting
  • 38. Are you ticklish? Yes
  • 39. What size shoe do you wear? 6
  • 40. How many pairs of shoes do you currently own? Too many to count…that I actually wear—two…
  • 41. Which one fashion accessory do you like better than others? Wedding ring
  • 42. Do you have chores at home you are responsible for? Another funny question…
  • 43. If you were called on to serve a mission where would you least like to serve? Somewhere where people hugging and touching and kissing each other on the cheek is not a part of tradition or custom…
  • 44. If you were called on to serve a mission where would you most like to serve? Somewhere not too hot but not too cold…
  • 45. What age do you consider old? Maybe 80
  • 46. Which birthday are you most looking forward to and why? At this age?!
  • 47. Do you prefer pens or pencils? Pens
  • 48. Do you like your handwriting? Yes
  • 49. Were you named after anyone? Named after the book Christy
  • 50. When did you last visit the zoo? October
  • 51. Have you ever stayed on a farm? Yes
  • 52. Have you ever been horseback riding? Yes
  • 53. Have you ever been water skiing? No
  • 54. What do you most like to do in the snow? Get out of it
  • 55. What is your favorite all-time movie? the Blind Side
  • 56. Can you change a tire? No
  • 57. Is your room more clean or more messy? Perfectly clean
  • 58. Do you prefer a bath or a shower? Shower
  • 59. What do you prefer to drink with your morning meal? Vodka
  • 60. If you had to be stranded on a deserted island with one person who would you want that one person to be? Brad Paisley
  • 61. Which animal would you most like for your pet? Reptar
  • 62. Do you like sweet treats or salty treats? Both
  • 63. Have you ever sung in the shower? No…I hate to sing…
  • 64. Do you find it easy to save money? Not with three daughters in college
  • 65. Do you get an allowance? Whatever Kurt wins from his fishing tournaments
  • 66. Do you have more friends that are boys or girls? Most are men and women of legal drinking age…except for Emily
  • 67. Which do you prefer you had – straight or curly hair? Washed and combed
  • 68. What color eyes do you most like? Green
  • 69. Do you prefer colored or white socks? With what else?!
  • 70. What would you say is your normal exercise routine? Rolling out of bed…
  • 71. Have you ever had acrylic nails? Yes…they would get caught between the keys of my piano and fly across the room…
  • 72. Have you ever colored your hair? Would I ever admit it…
  • 73. What do you do when something funny happens? Pee my pants
  • 74.  mountains in a very, very long time…
  • How do you earn money? Play piano for dead people
  • 75. Do you like to dance? Nope…
  • 76. Are you on any teams or in any clubs in your school? If so which ones? I would love to go back to school…maybe I could be on the badminton team…
  • 77. Where do you keep your spending money? starbucks
  • 78. Do you save trinkets and mementos? Not on purpose
  • 79. Did you have a favorite toy as a child? Yes…wanna know what it was…
  • 80. Do you share a bedroom? Yeah…most married people do that…
  • 81. Do you like drinking from the cup or a straw? Depends on where that cup came from…
  • 82. Do you like ice in your cold beverages? Yes…unless it’s a beer…
  • 83. What is your favorite sandwich? Reuben
  • 84. Do you carry floss in your purse? I don’t even carry a purse…
  • 85. Where is the fartherest you have ever traveled? By car or boat or plane…probably Frankfurt, Germany to Atlanta
  • 86. Do you have family members who live in another country? If so, which family members and where do they live. the country, yes…in another country, no…
  • 87. Which family member do you most resemble? Probably my Dad
  • 88. Which family member are you more like? Probably my Dad
  • 89. What is the weirdest thing that has ever happened to you? Life in general
  • 90. Do you live in a house, trailer or apartment, etc.? House
  • 91. Have you ever won anything? If so, what did you win? Yes…won $100 playing Bingo at my dad’s Christmas party when I was three…
  • 92. Do you prefer fresh air or air conditioned air? What’s the difference?
  • 93. Do you prefer mountainous or flat regions? Haven’t seen
  • 94. What is your favorite reading material? Facebook
  • 95. Name all of the pets you have ever had? Tramp, Chloe, Sheldon, max
  • 96. Do you mow the lawn at your residence? You have got to be kidding!!!
  • 97. Have you ever been in a musical drama or play? If so, what was it? No…I’m usually behind the piano…
  • 98. Have you ever visited a planetarium? if so, where? No…
  • 99. What is your favorite childhood memory? Just being a “lucky bum” in general
  • 100. Do you usually buy or carry your lunch when at school? Don’t go to school…I dropped out..,
  • 101. What is your favorite fruit? Strawberry Ice Cream
  • 102. What color of clothing do you most like to wear? Black
  • 103. What is your favorite cereal? Frosted Shredded Mini-Wheats
  • 104. What is your favorite breakfast? Cinnamon rolls
  • 105. Who do you spend more time with? My “significant other”
  • 106. What is the longest car trip you have ever taken? Columbia, South Carolina to dfw
  • 107. Do you know how to iron your clothes? No
  • 108. Can you sew a button on your clothing? No…well, yeah…but usually just shove that article of clothing into the closet and find something else
  • 109. Have you ever cut your own hair? No
  • 110. Are you creative in any way? If so, which way(s)? No
Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Essential Oil of the Month—March 2018—Bergamot

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla

When I first heard of bergamot essential oil and found out that it was a citrus fruit, my initial reaction was, “Gee, I’ve never heard of that before. Let’s go to Sprouts and go buy some bergamot oranges.”

But nestled among all the other citrus fruits, there was no sign of the bergamot orange.

Perhaps because the bergamot orange itself is inedible? Kinda like the penguin who can’t fly in the bird world, right?!

Anyway, bergamot essential oil is extracted from the rind of the bergamot orange, a fragrant citrus fruit that is the size of an orange and has a taste that is much sweeter than your typical lemon.

The bergamot orange is the most delicate of the citrus plants, requiring the special climate and soil found mainly in the Mediterranean. For this reason, most of the oranges used to make bergamot essential oil will have been harvested from trees located in the Ionian Sea coastal areas of the province of Reggio di Calabria in the southern part of Italy. Considering that the production of three ounces of bergamot oil requires one hundred bergamot oranges, there must be too many trees there to count(?!)…


If you’re like me, you’ve been enjoying the benefits and taste of bergamot for years without even realizing it. This is because an essence from the skin of the bergamot orange is extracted and used to give Earl Grey tea its distinctively citrus aroma and flavor.

And even though the bergamot orange is supposedly inedible, the bergamot orange is still used in Italian cooking to make Turkish delight and marmalade such as this recipe from The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook by Rachel Saunders.




As far as essential oils are concerned, bergamot has a very strong, very sweet citrus-based scent with a hint of florals and a strange spiciness. It is considered to be uplifting and relaxing, and blends particularly well with sandalwood, jasmine, and rosemary.


As far as the best uses for bergamot essential uses, here are a few of the best reasons to open the bottle…(no, not that bottle of whiskey or gin…the bottle of essential oil that you only spent how much for(?!))…


1. Aches and Pains...Bergamot essential oil stimulates the secretion of certain hormones which lessen the sensitivity of nerves to pain and help reduce the feeling of pain in the body. This makes bergamot essential oil an excellent choice for using topically when you are seeking quick relief from muscle cramps and headaches.


2.  Anxiety…Bergamot stimulates the activity of certain hormones in the body, like dopamine and serotonin, and improves blood circulation. This makes bergamot essential oil a good choice when you are looking for an essential oil that will help the most in relieving stress and anxiety, and soothing frazzled nerves…and helping to treat stress-associated ailments such as high blood pressure, insomnia, and depression.


3.  Cardiovascular Disease…The iconic coast of Italy in the Calabria region, where the bergamot orange is grown, is an area where people have experienced low incidents of cardiovascular diseases for generations. The soil in the region supposedly has some secret “fountain on youth” potion that results in the fruits and vegetables having been grown there, such as the bergamot orange, positively affecting your cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, HDL and blood glucose level.


4.  Deodorants…The refreshing aroma and natural cleansing/disinfectant properties of bergamot oil make this an excellent choice whenever you are considering which essential oil to be used in deodorant or household cleaners and air fresheners.


5.  Digestive System…According to traditional Chinese medicine, bergamot essential oil is the best treatment for keeping your your digestive system work properly. So if you’re needing anything pertaining to your digestive system and pooping mechanisms—indigestion, gas, constipation—this is probably the essential oil of choice.


6.  Respiratory…Bergamot essential oil is one of the best essential oils for anyone suffering from respiratory problems or asthma…

Honestly, this is the one essential oil that I made a special trip to Whole Foods to buy as soon as we completed last month’s journey to Cook’s Children’s Hospital after the “resident four year old” had an asthma attack.

Much rather breathe in bergamot and cough up that phlegm and mucus, than breathe in a deep sigh of relief when you finally leave the pediatric ward and have to cough up enough to pay for an ambulance ride and two night vacation with room service.

Might be using bergamot in my diffuser for a long, long while now…


7.  Skincare…Bergamot is used extensively in such cosmetic and skincare products as creams, lotions, shampoos, soaps, cleansers, and perfume. In fact, about one-third of all men’s and about half of women’s perfumes contain bergamot essential oil.

One main reason that bergamot is used in these products is its ability to help more evenly distribute pigments and melanin when used to help heal marks on the skin, such as wounds and scars and acne. Using bergamot topically to treat such marks allows these marks to gradually fade away into a more even, attractive skin tone instead of leaving noticeable scars on the affected areas for many years.

Also, bergamot acts as an antiseptic agent that allows for fast healing of not only wounds as previously mentioned, but also helps heal cracked heels, ulcers, and eczema.


Bergamot Rollerball Stress Mess…Combine 3 drops grapefruit essential oil, 2 drops frankincense essential oil, and 2 drops bergamot essential oil in a dark rollerball bottle. Fill remainder of bottle with a light carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut oil. Apply to pulse points as needed. Store in a cool, dark place.

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Essential Oils to Keep…If You’d Like to Be Able to Sleep

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla

When I first started using essential oils, I felt overwhelmed by the selections and how little I knew. Which one should I choose, and why? Almost like being a kid in a candy store.

But as I have started reading and studying more about living a healthier lifestyle and beginning new habits, I have also learned more about which essential oils work best for what the problem is.

For example, these are the best essential oils for helping to cure insomnia that are out there…but instead of going into depth about each one of these in this post, I have decided to choose one oil per month, and detail more and more reasons and ways to use that particular essential oil that particular month…

For example, the Essential Oil of the Month is bergamot (see next post…oh wait, you can’t…because at this point I haven’t finished writing it)…

Anyway, here are the best options as far as essential oils to help you sleep…

1.  BergamotBergamot essential oil is a cold-pressed essential oil that is produced by cells inside the rind and peel of a bergamot orange, a citrus fruit that has been used as a fragrance ingredient since around the year 1714. It takes about one hundred bergamot oranges to yield three ounces of bergamot oil.

Bergamot essential oil smells like a sweet light orange peel oil with a floral note and has a bright, yet calming and relaxing, effect. Bergamot essential oil is used to give Earl Grey tea its flavor, to calm anxious feelings, and to reduce both the heart rate and blood pressure.

2.  Cedarwood…Cedarwood essential oil is an essential oil that is produced from the foliage of various types of pine and cypress trees. The oil has an earthy, woodsy smell and supports healthy function of the pineal gland, which releases melatonin, the body’s natural sleepy hormone.

3.  Frankincense…Frankincense essential oil is a steam-distilled essential oil obtained from the tree resin of four main species of trees from the Boswellia genus. Frankincense essential oil has an earthy, balsamic fragrance and is perfect for balancing emotions, supporting healthy sleep, calming your mind and supporting your body’s natural response to healing.

4.  Juniper Berry…Juniper Berry essential oil is a steam-distilled essential oil that has a calming, grounding effect and an earthy, woodsy smell. The oil is extracted from the leaves and twigs of about fifty different species of junipers plant, a member of the cypress family that can grow anywhere within the Northern Hemisphere, all the way from the Arctic down towards tropical Africa, Pakistan, and the mountains of Central America. Most of the juniper berry essential oil that we use here in America has been harvested from juniper plants found in middle Tennessee, northern Alabama, and southern Kentucky.

5.  Lavender…Lavender essential oil is a steam-distilled essential oil that is obtained from the flower spikes of certain species of the lavender plant, a member of the mint family. Lavender essential oil has a relaxing and calming effect…and is used to reduce heart rate and blood pressure, help reduce feelings of tension, and calm emotions.

Most of us are already familiar with the lavender plant because the plant has been used as ornamental plants in garden and landscaping, as a culinary herb, and was one of the common colors in that magical 64-count box of Crayola crayons…the bo that had the sharpener on the back of the box…and that every kid in the classroom envied unless they had one themselves.

6.  Marjoram…Marjoram essential oil is steam-distilled from from the flowering leaves and tops of the marjoram plant, a somewhat cold-sensitive perennial herb or undershrub, that was referred to by the Romans as the “herb of happiness” and to the Greeks as the “joy of the mountains.”

The leaves have a unique mixture of sweet “pine” and citrus flavor. Most of us have had a marjoram spice container at least once in our spice cabinet of marjoram. If not an actual jar of marjoram by itself, perhaps a spice blend containing marjoram, such as herbes de Provence and za’atar…(I probably still have all three of these spices in the same container from back when I purchased thirty-one years ago when I first got married….let me go see)…

Anyway, marjoram essential oil is wonderful for muscles and joints, but it also excels in creating peaceful sleep and calming frazzled nerves.

7.  Roman Chamomile…Roman Chamomile essential oil has a calming, soothing, and relaxing effect and is perfect for helping to get rid of restlessness and anxious feelings.

The Roman chamomile plant is a low perennial plant found in dry fields, gardens, and cultivated grounds in Europe, North America, and in Argentina…and is used for making foods, herbal teas, perfumes, and cosmetics.

8.  Sandalwood...Sandalwood essential oil is a steam-distilled oil extracted from chips and billets cut from the heartwood of various species of sandalwood trees. Sandalwoods belong to the same botanical family as European mistletoe and can befound in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Australia, Indonesia, Hawaii, and other Pacific Islands. Sandalwood is the second most expensive wood in the world, after African blackwood.

Sandalwood has a distinctive rich, woodsy smell that has been highly valued for centuries as an ingredient in perfumes, cosmetics.

9.  Vetiver…Vetiver essential oil is distilled from the roots of a type of grass that is widely cultivated in tropical regions such as Haiti, India, and Indonesia. Vetiver has a psychologically grounding, calming and stabilizing effect and a rich and earthy smell.

10.  Ylang Ylang…Ylang ylang essential oil is extracted from the flowers of a ylang-ylang tree that is native in the rainforest habitats of the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. Ylang-ylang is also widely used in oriental- or floral-themed perfumes such as Chanel No. 5…and is also believed to relieve high blood pressure, to help with skin problems, and to be an aphrodisiac. In fact, in Indonesia, ylang-ylang flowers are spread on the bed of newlywed couples.

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

While We’re Still on the Topic

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla
Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla is a member of the Aster Family, Asteraceae or Compositae, the dried flowewrs of which are one of the most well-known herbal teas of commerece, valued for flavor, mild anti-inflammatory activity, and a calming effect.

Another option for using your essential oils is topically.


There are times when deciding whether to use your oils aromatically or topically seems like perfectly good common sense.Applying oils topically simply works better for certain circumstances, such as when using them for aches, pain, sore muscles, and injuries. 


Then there are other times when how to best use your oils isn’t so obvious…such as when using essential oils for such issues as sleep, anxiety and lack of energy.


But how can I be sure that I am using my essential oils the “best” way possible?

The decision between using the diffuser to use the oils aromatically or applying the oil topically basically depends on whether or not you need the effects to benefit your entire body, or just one centralized area.

If you need the benefits throughout, it is best to use the diffuser because this delivers a quick dose of “good stuff” into the bloodstream.  This usually works best when dealing with emotional, neurological, and respiratory issues.

If you need the benefits to focus on one particular area, it is best to apply topically. Substances that are applied topically to the skin slowly permeate and are absorbed through the skin, eventually entering into the bloodstream.

For example, people suffering from problems sleeping benefit from using oils topically because studies have shown that the chemical components of lavender essential oil enter the bloodstream within five minutes of massaging the lavender essential oil onto the skin.


How do I use essential oils topically?

To use essential oils topically, start with only one or two drops of the essential oil. This should be all that you usually need because only a little bit of essential oil can go a very, very long way.

Sounds way too simple, right?!


Well, actually it is…and here’s why…

Before applying the essential oil to your skin, you will most likely need to dilute the essential oil with a “carrier oil.” (Examples of carrier oils that can be used to dilute essential oils include olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil, and avocado oil.)


“Most likely”…gee, that tells me a whole lot, right?

There are several types of essential oils on the market today that may or may not require diluting the oil with a carrier oil first. But the instructions on the essential oil itself will be the best place to figure out if and how the oil needs to be diluted.

But a few classifications of essential oils that you might want to keep in mind are…


Neat Oils…This may depend on the essential oil itself as to whether or not you need to dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil first. There is a category of oils classified as “neat” oils that do not require diluting with a carrier oil before each use.  These include…

Hot Oils…Then there are other essential oils that are high in phenols and must ALWAYS be diluted with a carrier oil before being used topically. These include cassia, cinnamon, clove, oregano, lemongrass, bergamot, and thyme.

Sensitive Oils…“Sensitive” oils are those that do not require dilution before use topically, but should be diluted before use on young or sensitive skin. These include black pepper, eucalyptus, ginger, and peppermint.

Photosensitive Oils“Photosensitive” oils contain furocoumarins, a type of extremely photosensitive compounds that may cause a rash or darkened skin if used before exposure to sunlight, sunlamps, or other sources of UV light. Such types of light should be avoided for up to twelve hours after using these oils topically. These “photosensitive” oils are typically citrus oils such as angelica, bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, orange, and tangerine.


Diluting your essential oils does not make the essential oil less effective, but actually offers many benefits that can make the essential oil work even better. These benefits include helping to “carry” the essential oil onto the skin, preventing particular oils from feeling too warm on the skin, keeping the essential oil from evaporating too quickly, increasing the surface area that your essential oil can cover at one time, enhancing absorption through dry skin, and preventing “sensitivity responses.”


Sensitivity Responses? Gee, made the skeptic in me wonder if essential oils are even worth the effort when I first read about “sensitivity responses”…

The truth is that just like almost anything else that you could possibly use on your skin, there is a chance—ever so slight—that a given essential oil could cause a reaction or “sensitivity response” for some individuals.

You can avoid such reactions by applying a small amount of essential oil to an ” inconspicuous” area and checking regularly to make sure that no reaction takes place before using it many more places also.

It is also a good idea to keep track of what oils you use, amounts used, where you apply, your thoughts and impressions on that particular oil, and any reactions that you do experience. Also try only one new essential oil at a time.



Another good idea would be to go ahead and mix your essential oil and your carrier oil together, and then store in a used or empty essential oil bottle or roller bottle so that you won’t have to dilute the oil every single time that you want to use it.

Finally, be aware of the importance of purchasing and using only quality essential oils from reputable sources. Do not assume anything about the purity, the efficacy, or the reliability of the essential oil.

Because many manufacturers have been reported as actually mixing essential oils with synthetic materials or other unknown ingredients to help stretch the oils and reduce costs, you need to be confident that you are actually getting the product that you are paying for. (no, this is not a plug for a future offer…just a fact…don’t worry)…

Essential oils should not have an expiration date. If there actually is a date on the bottle, this probably means that the oil contains additives and might not be from a good source.


Where do I apply the oil?

The soles of your feet have large pores that rapidly absorb essential oils and are not very sensitive, so this is a very good, safe place to start using essential oils topically. Simply and massage in two to four drops of your essential oil.

Other places where insomniacs and people who can’t sleep and people who are stressed out and so forth might want to try applying oils for help in dealing with stress and anxiety include across the forehead, behind the ears, the temples, the tops of your shoulders, and your wrists.

Good options of essential oils for this would be frankincense, lavender, peppermint, and cedarwood. (Just wait, my next post is about which essential oils are best for sleeplessness.)…



Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Essential Oils—“Aromatic” Use

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla
Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla is a member of the Aster Family, Asteraceae or Compositae, the dried flowewrs of which are one of the most well-known herbal teas of commerece, valued for flavor, mild anti-inflammatory activity, and a calming effect.

In order to enjoy the aromatic benefits of an essential oil, you could obviously take a few drops from the bottle into the palm of your hands, cup your hands around your mouth and nose, and inhale deeply for as long as needed…

…or simply hold the bottle of essential oil a few inches from your nose and breathe in the aroma…

or…add a drop or two of the essential oil to your pillowcase or pajama shirt, I guess…



But a much easier and smarter method would be through diffusion.

Diffusion is one of the simplest and most effective methods for using essential oils aromatically.

Simply putting two to eight drops of an essential oil that has been found especially beneficial for sleeping, (see next post), along with whatever water quantity is specified in the instructions for your particular diffuser, may be the perfect answer for your questionable sleep.

…and if you find using only one essential oil to become quite boring, you can also combine several essential oils in your diffuser. There are many such “sleep blend recipes” to be found on the internet or in books about essential oils. For example, try combining three drops of lavender, three drops of cedarwood, and two drops of frankincense.


So how does a diffuser work?  All diffusers work by breaking the essential oil(s) down into tiny molecules and dispersing them throughout the air, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of the oil as it circulates in the air for several hours while you sleep.



What should I look for when shopping for a diffuser?

Factors to consider when purchasing an essential oil diffuser include…

  • availability
  • ease of use
  • estimated operating time
  • material that the diffuser is made from (cheap plastic or polypropylene?)
  • noise level
  • price
  • product review
  • size of the actual diffuser
  • size of the room you want your diffuser to effectively cover
  • “special” features, such as a timer and ambient lighting
  • water capacity



Some of the most popular diffusers on the market today include…


1.  DoTerra AromaLite Diffuser

  • Estimated operating time…up to eight hours
  • Noise level…silent
  • Price…$102
  • Product review
  • Size area diffuser effectively covers…up to 1000 feet
  • “Special” features…optional night light
  • Type of diffuser…cool mist humidifier
  • Water capacity…3/4C


2.  Noor Litemist Aromatherapy Diffuser

  • Availability...Walmart,
  • Estimated operating time...four hours
  • Material diffuser is made from…plastic
  • Noise level…silent
  • Price…$30
  • Product review
  • Size of actual diffuser…5.9″x5″
  • Size area diffuser effectively covers…300 square feet
  • “Special” features…multicolor LED lights, automatic shut-off
  • Water capacity…1/4C


3.  Lagute Apple Shaped Diffuser

  • Estimated operating time…five hours
  • Material diffuser is made from…wood-grain BPA-free plastic
  • Noise…less than 36dB
  • Price…$25
  • Product review
  • Type diffuser...ultrasonic
  • Water capacity…100ml


4.  Plant Therapy AromaFuse Diffuser

  • Availability...Walmart
  • Estimated operating time…up to ten hours
  • Material diffuser is made from…BPA-free plastic
  • Noise level…very quiet
  • Price…$50
  • Product review
  • Size of the actual diffuser…8″x8″x5.2″
  • Size of area diffuser can effectively cover…at least 500 square feet
  • “Special” features...five different timer settings,  LED light
  • Type of diffuser…ultrasonic
  • Water capacity…300 ml ( a little over 1 ½ cups)


5.  PlantTherapy Advanced Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser

  • Noise level…output volume control
  • Price…$130
  • Product review
  • Size of actual diffuser…3.5″x5.5″x4.2″
  • Size area diffuser effectively covers…up to 700 square feet
  • “Special” features…two quick-change atomizer attachments
  • Type of diffuser…nebulizer
  • Water capacity…15ml


6.  Whisper Premium Silent Misting Diffuser

  • Estimated operating time
  • Material diffuser is made from
  • Noise level…completely silent
  • Price…$20
  • Product review
  • Size of actual diffuser…8″x3.5″x3.5″
  • Size area diffuser can effectively cover…up to 1,000 square feet
  • “Special” features…automatic shut-off
  • Type diffuser…ultrasonic
  • Water capacity...100ml
Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

The Essentials about Essential Oils

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla
Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla is a member of the Aster Family, Asteraceae or Compositae, the dried flowewrs of which are one of the most well-known herbal teas of commerece, valued for flavor, mild anti-inflammatory activity, and a calming effect.

Essential oils are perhaps the oldest known element in following a “natural health” regimen…dating back to the ancient Egyptians, who seem to have used them as far back as 3500BC for religious, cosmetic, and health purposes.

Essential oils have been called the “life blood” of the plant and are typically extracted from within the many shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes and seeds in which they are found through the process of steam distillation. These essential oils have been used for both physical and emotional benefits for thousands of years.

Each person will respond to the aroma, or these specific chemical elements, when breathing in the scent of an essential oil, in his or her own unique way…based on individual emotions, behaviors, memories, and experiences.

That being said, certain essential oils are always considered to have a certain effect regardless of these factors. Certain oils simply almost always seem more uplifting, more invigorating, more calming, more soothing….

In a future post, I will be sharing a list of the best essential oils to use when fighting insomnia.


But what good is that list of essential oils and a brand new vial of essential oil…if you’re like I was the first time that I purchased essential oil. It sat in my bathroom for years before I finally gave it away to my daughter because I had no clue what to do with it…(okay, did I just admit that?!)

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla
Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla is a member of the Aster Family, Asteraceae or Compositae, the dried flowewrs of which are one of the most well-known herbal teas of commerece, valued for flavor, mild anti-inflammatory activity, and a calming effect.

Essential oils can have a huge positive influence on us both physically and psychologically.

Physically, using essential oils aromatically can help heal and maintain the respiratory system by improving the quality of the air we are breathing and protecting us from environmental threats…

Psychologically, using essential oils aromatically can help control moods, tension, and stress.

But first, how and why do essential oils work aromatically?

When you inhale essential oils, you are actually breathing in a fine mist or vapor of the actual oil. This vapor contains all the same properties of the actual liquid oil itself, just in a different format.

Once you have inhaled the vapor, the scent of the essential oil interacts with smell receptors located in the brain, known as “olfactory sensors.”

These “olfactory sensors” are part of the “olfactory system,” the part of the brain that regulates our sense of smell. The “olfactory system” part of the brain is located near and closely connected to the limbic system.

Once the scent is processed by the olfactory system, it travels through the olfactory nerve to the limbic system.

The “limbic system” is the part of the brain responsible for processing smell, emotions, behavior, memory, and thoughts…and that can help us feel calm, encouraged, and so forth. Here, the scent triggers responses in the brain based on memories and experiences.

Notice that the limbic system, the part of the brain most closely connected with the olfactory system, is not connected with processing sight, sound, or touch…explaining why smell, more than any of the other five senses, is so successful at triggering emotions and memories.

And why essential oils have a particularly powerful effect when used aromatically.


Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Book Review…Healthy Sleep


Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla
Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla is a member of the Aster Family, Asteraceae or Compositae, the dried flowewrs of which are one of the most well-known herbal teas of commerece, valued for flavor, mild anti-inflammatory activity, and a calming effect.

This audiobook is a guide written for insomniacs, and other people who have trouble sleeping quite often, to show the life-changing health benefits that optimum sleep provides….and more importantly how to have this optimum sleep experience.

This book sparked my interest because as I get older, the more I’ve started to realize that how well and how much I sleep impacts your entire life…(yeah, Mom, I shoulda listened to you all those nights when I was little and you told me to turn the lights off and go to bed.)

The title of the audiobook, Healthy Sleep, is appropriate for the book because the book explains how a healthy sleep cycle can improve your immune system, mood, sense of well-being—and even your weight.

This theme is carried out throughout the book as evident by the exercises and strategies that the book provides to help manage both stress and anxiety as well as common sleep disorders, such as insomnia and sleep apnea.

The authors of the audiobook are alternative medicine “guru” Andrew Weil, MD…and sleep expert Rubin R. Naiman, PhD.

—–Andrew Weil, MD, is a world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, a healing-oriented approach to health care which encompasses body, mind, and spirit. He is founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine (AzCIM) at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center in Tucson, and director of Integrative Health & Healing at Miraval Life in Balance Resort in Tucson. Dr. Weil s bestselling books include Spontaneous Happiness, Eight Weeks to Optimum Health, and Spontaneous Healing, and his popular audio programs with Sounds True include The Healthy Heart Kit and Breathing: The Master Key to Self-Healing.

—–Rubin Naiman, PhD, is an internationally recognized leader in integrative sleep and dream medicine. He is director of Circadian Health Associates, an organization that provides information, goods and services in support of sleep health. Dr. Naiman is the sleep specialist and clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of Arizona s Center for Integrative Medicine, directed by Dr. Andrew Weil. He also serves as Director of the Sleep and Dream Advisory Board for Sleep Studio. For more than a decade, Dr. Naiman served as the sleep and dream specialist at Canyon Ranch Health Resort in Tucson, where he founded the first formal sleep center at a spa. Subsequently, he served as director of sleep programs for Miraval Resort. Dr. Naiman is the author of a number of groundbreaking works on sleep, including Healing Night, Healthy Sleep (with Andrew Weil), The Yoga of Sleep, and To Sleep ToNight, as well as a number of professional book chapters and articles. He also blogs about sleep and dreams for The Huffington Post and Psychology Today.

This audiobook consists of two discs. The first disc is a discussion on why sleep is so important and why you may not be sleeping as you should. The second disc contains guided exercises, including three sessions to help you fall asleep.

Topics covered in the book include sleep stages, sleeping disorders, breathing techniques, good “sleep hygiene,” and safe supplements to overcome insomnia. The book uses a combination of creative visualization, self-compassion, and pranayama to explain insomnia and then lull you gently to sleep…

I would recommend this audiobook to anyone who has trouble sleeping…makes an excellent read about 2am when you should be sleeping instead of reading.