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Hello 2015! We're a few weeks into the new year and it's probably time for an update. I'm not one for making resolutions (because who am I kidding, right?) but for some time now I have been on a mission to detox my life--and I'm kicking it up a notch this year with a new book. But before I tell you what it is, I'll tell you why.

About a year and half ago I decided that I wanted to significantly reduce my exposure to chemicals and synthetic substances as much as possible. It started with someone on Facebook posting about a no-poo experiment (meaning going without shampoo) and they shared this link here. I know what you're thinking. No shampoo? What is this madness? But then I realized that of course shampoo hasn't been around forever, it only feels like it's been around forever thanks to decades of marketing and consumer conditioning. I never considered that before the invention of shampoo and toothpaste and foaming facial cleanser with patented micro-bead technology people used natural products for personal health and hygiene.

After some reading and research, I decided to give Mother Nature a try out. I concluded that if a product wasn't safe to put in my body, I would rethink whether I would put it on my body. So I got in my kitchen and went all DIY with my personal products and found that it's really fun to mix up your own batch of toothpaste or custom blend of moisturizing facial oil or an all-in-one cleansing and moisturizing hair and scalp spritz.

I am in the process of slowly replacing my commercial products for homemade products because I have found that 1) it's cheaper, 2) I can customize recipes to suit MY unique needs and personal taste, 3) my skin/hair look and feel nice and healthy without those chemicals I can't pronounce on the ingredients label, 4) I like knowing exactly what is going on my face, on my teeth and in my hair because I made it myself, 5) I'm lazy and hate shopping and I'm cheap (see #1), and also 6) it's probably good for the environment and stuff...

And that brings me back to this year. I tend to use a lot of the same multi-purpose natural items (like apple cider vinegar, coconut oil and baking soda) but I want to start incorporating the power of essential oils into more of my recipes and even experiment with making cleaning and household products. If you don't know what essential oils are, they are described as the "life force" or "essence" of plants. They have powerful healing and antimicrobial properties that can be used in a variety of personal care and cleaning mixes. Best of all, they are 100% natural, smell great (most of them) and are easy and safe to use!

Complete Aromatherapy and Essential Oils Handbook
Back when I decided to kick commercial products I started off with a basic set of six popular essential oils (Lavender, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Lemongrass, Orange, Peppermint) and have enjoyed using them in my recipes. Now I'm curious to learn more about a larger variety of essential oils and their uses so I decided to purchase a book called The Complete Aromatherapy and Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness by Nerys Purchon  and Lora Cantele. I usually avoid buying printed books (unless they're coffee table or photo books) because I am a hoarder/clutter magnet but this book is worth it. When/if it comes out in a Kindle edition I will probably buy it again.

The book is so easy to read and really informative. There are profiles for over 100 oils and their properties as well as tons of recipes for all kinds of uses along with a list of substitutions in case you don't have a particular oil for that recipe. You can make a homemade first aid ointment, carpet fresh powder, all-purpose cleaning solution and lots more! I have learned so much in the week that I have owned this book and I can't wait to play around with new essential oils in my concoctions to replace more commercial products this year.

I am also going to try to do better with blogging this year as well. 2014 kind of got away from me but I have some project ideas in mind that will hopefully keep me coming back to share with you.

Post Script: If anyone is curious about making your own natural products or just want to learn more about natural options I learned a lot from www.CrunchyBetty.com and www.WellnessMama.com. They share a lot of recipes and information, plus their communities of readers are full of interesting ideas as well.