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links i love: homemade vanilla extract, baked eggs, and the best way to prioritize


1. Oh, I so want to try these Indian style baked eggs with green harissa and naan!

2. Love this loft tour on Apartment Therapy.

3. I always love reading the Pioneer Woman’s posts about her Marlboro Man : )

4. How to make vanilla extract – I’m soooooo doing this!

5. How to prioritize: One tip that does it all.

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How to add an extra seven days to your year


How cute is this bedspread from Urban Outfitters? It makes me think of the beach at sunset on a warm summer’s evening. Plus, it looks soft and washable … two of my must-haves for bedding. I think I have bedding on the brain lately because I’m finishing up a book on how to sleep better, so you can sleep less. (Well, that’s essentially what it’s about.) Because who doesn’t want more time in their day?!

In “The Sleep Management Plan,” author Dale Hanson Bourke gives a list of 20 things you can do with an extra 30 minutes in your day.

  1. Workout to an exercise tape.
  2. Write a poem.
  3. Read a chapter in a book.
  4. Give yourself a manicure.
  5. Bake muffins.
  6. Write a letter.
  7. Balance your checkbook.
  8. Practice a song on the piano or guitar.
  9. Start and maintain a garden.
  10. Jog 2 to 3 miles.
  11. Begin a painting.
  12. Write in your journal.
  13. Buy groceries.
  14. Start a new hobby.
  15. Look through a cookbook for new recipes.
  16. Read the newspaper.
  17. Clean out a drawer.
  18. Shine your shoes.
  19. Ride around the neighborhood on your bike.
  20. Straighten your closet.

It’s, of course, no coincidence that she chose the things that we often hear people say they would do if they had more time in the day. Her point is that more time is available for the taking if you just get your sleep ducks in a row so you can sleep better … and therefore perhaps a little less.

Now, for some people, it’s not so hard to change sleep patterns. I am NOT one of those fortunate ones. So this is a challenge for me. But I keep thinking … if I sleep 30 minutes less every day of my life (of course, with an emphasis on having better quality sleep), I can literally add 168 hours to my year. That’s SEVEN WHOLE DAYS of time. Whoa. Think of all the things I could do with those 10,080 minutes this year!

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3 natural solutions that may ease the pain of your period


Raise your hand if you deal with horrendous menstrual cramps!!!! (Or, run far, far away if you’re a guy and don’t want to talk about periods!)

Now, if your hand isn’t up … you don’t need to read this post. But please, oh please, tell us your secret!

But more than likely, your hand is up. Mine, too. Well … it was, anyway.

Right from day one, my period was just pure evil. But as time went on, it became intolerable. It got to the point where I would have to sit at my desk at work with a giant heating pad wrapped all around me. I couldn’t take the pain otherwise. It was an open-concept office, so needless to say, people were talking!

I went and chatted with my GYN. He insisted that the only option I had was to go on the pill. Now, back then, I was a bit of a natural-health dummy. I happily ate at McDonalds and took any pill any doctor gave me. But even still, something about the long list of potential side effects associated with the pill just didn’t sit right with me. My firm “no” got him mad and he basically told me that he didn’t want to work with me if I didn’t trust his advice. No problem.

Right then and there I decided to do my own research and look for my own solutions. (I had recently had my first major success with a “natural” health solution — Egoscue Therapy — so I was feeling a bit empowered!)


I’ve done lots of research and tried lots of “solutions”. I already chatted about one solution I came across: fermented cod liver oil. Apparently, it does the trick for many, many women. Unfortunately, I can’t stomach it. But there are a few other things that have made a HUGE difference for me and have left me with a period that is now quite tolerable. First and foremost, I really do believe that shifting my diet away from grains and refined sugar has been very beneficial. (Some research shows that fibroids and ovarian cysts will shrink or completely go away with dietary changes.) In all honesty, removing refined sugar from the diet is HARD. So this is a constant work in progress for me.

Recently, though, I’ve found some other solutions that have been really helping. I wanted to share them here because I know that this is a MAJOR problem for so many women. I’m no doctor or expert … but I am a big believer in sharing knowledge. It’s how we can learn and improve.



I heard through the grapevine (more specifically … my best friend told me that a Haitain woman she knows told her…) that raspberry leaf tea works WONDERS for severe menstrual cramps. Apparently other cultures that don’t rely so heavily on pharmaceuticals know ALL about the incredible benefits of raspberry leaf tea.

For me, it has definitely made a huge difference. My cramps are usually at their worst on day two of my period, so if I have a cup the night before and then a few cups that day, my day two isn’t so terrible anymore. Yay!

If you want to be inspired by other women’s success stories with raspberry leaf, check out these reviews on Amazon! 


Most feminine hygiene products contain an alarming amount of toxic ingredients. Conventional pads contain the equivalent of about four plastic bags, according to Dr. Joseph Mercola. Additionally, they’re treated with other potentially hazardous ingredients, such as odor neutralizers and fragrances. As if that weren’t bad enough, they’re also bleached with chlorine (to look fresh and white!), a process that can create toxic dioxin, which can collect in fatty tissues.

The FDA says they’re 100% safe for long-term use. After doing my own research, I decided that I wanted to make a switch to more natural products. I’m convinced that part of the reason my period is less awful these days is because I’m no longer using chemical-laden products.

Read more of what Dr. Mercola has to say in this Huffington Post article on the dangers of conventional feminine hygiene products.

Here’s a great list of the different natural options out there by Wellness Mama


Just a couple of months ago, I decided that I needed to up my Vitamin D intake. I read that you really need to take your Vitamin D with a fat soluble meal in order for your body to process it properly. I decided to take it with 2 TBS of olive oil at night before I go to bed. Let me just tell you … a whole host of amazing things started happening. My skin started to glow. My hair and eyebrows are becoming thicker. Aaaaaaand … my period is lighter with fewer cramps. I noticed the change the very first month, but I wanted to wait for a few more months to see if it was a one-time deal or if, in fact, I was on to something! The more I researched and thought about it, the more I started wondering if years and years of a low-fat diet (the one they told us we all needed to follow back in the 90s) wasn’t part of the reason my period was so awful. It, of course, reminds me of what I originally wanted to take for my period: fermented cod liver oil. But since I can’t, I’m glad the Olive Oil is proving to be so wonderful in so many ways.

Check out these 10 reasons why low fat is not high nutrition.

So there we have it. Three things that have made a major difference for me. I don’t know if they’ll help you or not … but you may wish to do some research to find out! If you find any other good information, let me know! Us girls have to stick together on this one!


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motivation monday: put your subconscious mind to work!

The other day I was wandering aimlessly through the library. I knew I wanted to check out a few books … but I didn’t have any specific topics in mind. I sat down on the little step stool in a quiet back aisle and let my eyes run over the shelf of old, worn-in books. Within seconds, a title caught my eye: “The Sleep Management Plan.” I pulled it out and looked at the cover:

  • Add hours to your week
  • Increase your energy
  • Improve your sleep
  • Bring balance to your life by using this simple, easy-to-follow program

For a moment, I thought, Ah! What a great coincidence that I found this book! I’ve been very actively working on trying to become a morning person and here I just stumbled across the perfect book to help me.

But just at that moment, I remembered something that I’d read somewhere … probably in a Jack Canfield book. When you actively think about a goal, your subconscious awareness is heightened and you will start to “magically” find the way. It’s not magic, of course. It’s simply awareness. Kind of like when you test drive a car and suddenly everywhere on the road you see the exact same car in the exact same color. Those cars were always there … it’s just that now you’re aware of them.

This little experience was a good reminder to me of how important it is to set goals and focus on them everyday. Your subconscious mind will then go to work even when you’re not.


p.s. Hey, did you know that Charles Dickens always slept with his head facing north so that his body would be in line with the earth’s magnetic forces? That’s what the book says, anyway!



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