Hope everyone has had a great weekend! Mine has been quite eventful in some ways, and then not so much in others. We had an awesome snowstorm (they are calling it Snowzilla 2016) that totaled to over 16 inches at my house. We had practically no snow over the course of the Winter so far, so this was a wonderful surprise. However, this did mean that I was pretty much house-bound for the weekend…which I didn’t mind at all.  It gave me time to focus on things that I needed to accomplish such as school work, but also provided a much needed relaxation period. My life is constantly on the go and sometimes it is hard to find the time to just sit down and do something enjoyable like read a book, watch some Netflix, or take a soothing bubble bath. We all deserve to pamper ourselves once in a while with the things that we enjoy.

Staying inside all day for several days in a row kind of drove me nuts, so the second day of the blizzard my boyfriend and I took a drive in his car (that goes great on snow covered roads) to the South Toe River area. This is a beautiful area on the back roads of Western NC that leads to the Blue Ridge Parkway. During this drive, I was mesmerized by God’s amazing creation. The snow was coming down in delicate little tufts, sparkling on the tree branches and the rivers. It’s amazing how something that you have seen so many times before looks completely different covered in snow; it’s like a whole new level of respect and admiration is developed. It was really meditative for my mind to just ride around with amazing company, and just experience the beauty.

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Another thing that I love to enjoy when it’s snowing outside is fix myself a nice pot of hot tea. I’ve just recently become a tea-addict after discovering the Celestial Seasonings tea holiday collection (my favorites were the Caramel Apple Dream and Gingerbread Spice. They are fabulous!  The only one that I was not a fan of was the Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride…it kind of tasted and smelled like mushrooms…not good. Another favorite of mine is any type of Chai tea. Some brands that I have really enjoyed are TAZO and Stash (the vanilla Chai). When making my tea, I add a splash of almond or soy milk and a sprinkle of Stevia. It gives the tea a creamy and sweet taste that is not only delicious and refreshing, but healthy too! This is how my Grammy used to make tea when I was little, having regular tea parties. In case you don’t know, Stevia is a calorie-free sweetener that takes just a tiny bit to sweeten something that would normally take several spoonful’s of sugar. My favorite brand of Stevia is Kal’s pure powdered Stevia. It’s organic and a 13 oz. bottle lasts a really long time. Like I mentioned, it only takes a sprinkle to sweeten things such as tea, coffee, lemonade, etc.

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One of the most helpful things that I did this weekend was taking a hot, relaxing bath. It’s not only good for your body to detox and release muscle tension, but it’s good to have some time alone without any distractions. I always put essential oils in my bath water for an aroma therapy experience. Combining the hot water with the aIMG_0856roma therapy of the oils is healing to stress, anxiety, and muscle aches. I added 4 drops of lavender to my bath water today and not only did it smell amazing, it provided such a peaceful feeling. In addition to the oils, I lit tea lights, added some soap roses, and streamed Frank Sinatra Pandora, making for a perfectly relaxing environment. My favorite essential oil brand is a fairly new company called Nature’s Fusions. I have tried the doTerra oils but I am not really a fan. Nature’s Fusions not only smell better, but are priced more reasonably, have more blend combinations, and I experience more of a positive effect. Check out their products at: http://www.naturesfusions.com/

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If you find yourself having a snow day anytime soon, I hope you take the time to pamper yourself and maybe even venture out to explore nature. You will be surprised how much better you will feel once you give your mind and body a break.

Relax and stay warm,

Ashlyn Tori<3