Saturday, July 1, 2017

Royalton Punta Cana: Wedding Review

As I had mentioned in my welcome back post, Zac and I tied the knot at The Royalton in Punta Cana on May 16, 2017! After six years together and almost three engaged, we're officially husband and wife, yay! It was an amazing day with 21 of our closest friends and family. I will cherish the memories we made that day (& all week) forever!

I read many reviews before deciding on The Royalton for our big day! I thought I would return the favor and post a review of the resort in general but more specifically on our wedding! We booked through Vacation Express and I would highly recommend them as they have competitive pricing that combines air and hotel (which is all inclusive!)
When you book a wedding with the Royalton you get two wedding planners, one based in Canada (mine was Charlyne) whom you communicate with via email. She gives you all the information you need to make your decisions and creates the invoice, then sends the information to the onsite coordinator. Both of my wedding coordinators were so helpful and Charlyne was always quick to respond to my (never ending) emails. 
Charlyne didn't attach a copy of the music form for the reception. This was an easy fix as Ines realized at our initial meeting and I simply emailed the file to Ines and she printed it out. I would suggest printing another copy of your music form just in case so you don't have to waste time looking through your emails to find it!

I'll start with check in, which was refreshingly simple after a long day of traveling. We were greeted with a frozen beverage and cold towel, then asked if we were Diamond Club. We had booked Diamond Club so we told them yes and we were escorted to the private Diamond Club lounge for check in. It took less than five minutes, then our butler was showing us the grounds and to our room! It was stress free and easy to relax as soon as we arrived. We were in the ocean less than a half hour after we arrived!

We were upgraded to a honeymoon suite that was amazing and had plenty of room for us to get ready in the day of the wedding. I had hired Magda Riccardi for our hair and makeup so it was important we had plenty of room for the total of nine people that would be in the room! Magda did an amazing job on our makeup and her partner was great with our hair. They started at 8am and we were done by 12:30, our wedding was at 4 so I was happy to not be rushing or anything at the last minute.
In regards to the room, while it was spacious I think I would have preferred a swim out. We upgraded for the last two nights of our honeymoon and the swim out was breath taking. It was room 1430 in building 6, right across from the diamond club beach! It was absolutely amazing and I will definitely request this room for our future stays.

We met with our on site wedding coordinator, Ines, the day after we arrived. She was so attentive and was happy to answer my questions and add on a few things.
The ceremony was done by Pastor York, who I highly recommend if you're looking to get married in Punta Cana! He made it personalized and formal. Investing in Pastor York to perform the service was the best decision we made!

We had brought fans and programs to be placed at each seat. I was pleased to see most people using the fans as I was on the fence about it. It was a nice touch!
We chose the dream package which includes cocktail hour and a musician. The saxophonist was incredible and started playing right away. Appetizers were also included, we chose guacamole and chips, chicken satay with roasted red pepper cream and coconut shrimp. Our guests loved them! We also had the bahama mama as our signature drink but I was pleased they had a pretty well stocked bar so our guests could get whatever beverage they would like! The champagne toast we did right after the ceremony, there is also the option of doing it at dinner.

We had our semi private dinner at Opa! It was the perfect location, right on the beach, and the food was fantastic. It felt like a private dinner because the table is set up outside of the actual restaurant. We brought with us table runners, mason jars (10 in total, we used 7 but I wanted to bring extra in case some broke), shells, sand dollars, starfish decorations, tea light candles, Mr & Mrs signs (a set of burlap ones for our chairs and wooden signs to go in front of our place settings), thank you cards and place cards. Ines did an outstanding job setting up the table for us! It looked amazing. We used the bridesmaids bouquets in four of the mason jars and three mason jars were filled with sand, shells and a tea light candle. I made a seating chart and put the place cards in order so the seating would be in order. I brought everything to the initial wedding meeting and Ines took notes and put all the center pieces together for us! It was stress free and perfect!

I purchased a matching layout for the program, thank you cards and place cards from Etsy. I also mailed out a brochure that matched two weeks before we departed. This had some information on The Royalton, advised people on the $10 tourist card you have to pay upon arrival and gave a full schedule of events for the week.

Instead of giving favors we decided to rent out a full day excursion to Saona Island with Kelly Tours RD! They were amazing to work with and it was awesome to extend the wedding festivities into the next day! The excursion included a private Catamaran ride to Saona Island with open bar (rum, coke & sprite), a few hours on beautiful Saona Island, delicious buffet lunch and open bar on the island and a speed boat ride to a natural pool in the middle of the ocean (there is an abundance of starfish, awesome for snorkeling!) It was an hour bus ride to and from the area where the boat left from. Everyone really enjoyed this day trip and I'm so happy we decided to thank our guests in this way! On the thank you card we reminded our guests to meet in the lower lobby at 7:45 in the morning. We also mentioned it on the brochure we sent out ahead of time so everyone was already aware.

Now back to the day of the wedding, for the reception we chose to rent out the Disco (it was $850 for two hours, full bar & DJ included!) I'm so happy I found out about this option through the Royalton Brides Facebook page! They don't advertise it and I was afraid our only option was to rent out the beach or poolside area and add on open bar and the DJ, and boy does that add up quickly! The Disco was air conditioned which our guests loved after being out in the heat for the ceremony and dinner. We hired a MC when we met with Ines, so he could announce our walk in, the cake cutting and get the party started. I originally thought the included DJ would do this, so I would advise other brides to book the MC in advance just in case they are not available the day of you wedding if you decide to add it on last minute as we did.

Originally, the wedding coordinator based in Canada, Charlyne, told me that I could not do the cake cutting in the Disco and it would have to be done following dinner at Opa. I was a bit disappointed as I knew dessert was included in the menu and I knew most of the guests wouldn't want double dessert. When I met with Ines for our meeting, she informed me that I could do the cake cutting in the Disco! This was greatly appreciated as we got to have our cake cutting song play and our guests were ready enjoy some of the delicious cake! We also upgraded the cake so it had two layers (one chocolate, one vanilla) and each layer had a strawberry filling. This was well worth it, such delicious cake and the second layer made it feel like more of a traditional wedding cake.
We brought our cake topper with us (they have great, customizable ones on Etsy!) and I asked to add on three cake flowers. I also brought the cake cutting utensils!

I couldn't have been such a calm, cool and collected bride without my Stress Away essential oil, not only did it calm my nerves from the plane ride but I practically bathed in it the entire week leading up to the big day! I put a drop on each of my wrists and wow, it's just heavenly. Think vanilla, lime and lavender bliss. This is a must have for any bride! Who has time to be bridezilla while in paradise?! Not I! Email jessicamdeer@gmail.com for more information on this amazing essential oil! 

Our day was everything I dreamed it would be. My biggest advice to brides is do not stress! Everything will work out. Most days, The Royalton does two or three weddings, they are professionals! Have trust in them ~ they do an outstanding job. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Introduction to Essential Oils

Thanks for stopping by to learn about essential oils! I am a Young Living independent distributor and I'm so excited to share my love of their products with you!

Young Living essential oils are therapeutic grade and they offer a seed to seal promise, meaning they control everything from the growing of the plants to the distillation of the essential oils. Young Living essential oils are the highest quality oils on the market! 

Essential oils are the aromatic liquid found within flowers, trees, roots, shrubs, seeds and resins. Most essential oils are extracted from the plant source using steamed distillation and are highly concentrated, making them much more potent than dried botanicals. Some people refer to essential oils as "nature's living energy" as they contain unique components that provide a variety of benefits. Essential oils are volatile, meaning the scent of the oil rises quickly in the air. 

There are so many ways to integrate essential oils in your daily routine! Before you begin your journey, be sure to understand the three ways to use the oils: topical application, inhalation and ingestion. Each oil will be labeled with how that oil may be used.

When using the essential oil topically, be sure to use a carrier oil (I suggest coconut oil, my favorite!) this will ensure the oil is applied comfortably and isn't irritating to your skin or overpowering. Just place a drop or two in a small amount of carrier oil before applying to your skin. 

You can inhale the oils by using a Young Living diffuser, it's a great way to have your house smelling wonderful without the synthetic scents that many candles have. Plus, essential oils have amazing benefits in addition to their great scent! You can also rub 2-3 drops of the oil between your palms and inhale or add a few drops to a bowl of hot water and cover your head and bowl with a towel, breathing deeply and slowly.

Young Livings Vitality line offers dietary grade essential oils that can be added to food and drinks for a delicious, concentrated flavor. They also make a great addition to your wellness routine. Dispense the oil directly on your tongue, mix with water or put in a capsule to enjoy all the supportive properties.

Eleven of the most popular oils are included in the Premium Starter Kit: Lemon Vitality, Copaiba Vitality, DiGize Vitality, Thieves Vitality, Peppermint Vitality, PanAway, R.C., Purification, Frankincense, Lavender and Stress Away.
These oils will give you a solid base to begin integrating essential oils into your daily routine. Below is an overview of each oil along with a few ideas on how to use them!

Lemon Vitality is an bright, uplifting oil that can be used many ways. I combine it with my hot water with honey first thing in the morning. I also love adding a couple drops to my favorite marinates and salad dressings for a fresh, lemon flavor. Get the fresh flavor of lemon juice without all the zesting, grating and juicing!

Copaiba Vitality is unlike other essential oils as it is tapped directly from the tree rather than distilled. Copaiba Vitality can be ingested as an important part of a health regimen as it promotes wellness. I also enjoy adding it to herbal tea as it has a complex, soothing flavor. Copaiba can also be diffused as it is emotionally calming, securing and grounding. Try Copaiba with epsom salt for a relaxing bath! 

DiGize Vitality consists of a blend of sweetly aromatic essential oils. When taken internally it can support your digestive system and promote wellness. Add 1-2 drops of DiGize Vitality to a capsule and take after a meal to support normal digestion. You can also add a couple drops to water and drink in the morning or at night. For topical application, combine with coconut oil and a drop of Peppermint Vitality and rub your tummy in a clockwise direction. This works wonders!

Thieves Vitality essential oil blend is composed of cloves, rosemary, lemon, cinnamon and eucalyptus. When taken internally, it can support a healthy immune system. Add 2-3 drops in a capsule and take daily for extra immune support.
 This carefully crafted blend is infused in many home and body products that Young Living produces. You can also make your own homemade, natural cleaning products using Thieves! It is an amazing cleaning agent, just dilute in warm water and clean your entire bathroom! It's truly natural cleaning at it's best! 

Peppermint Vitality has a fresh, minty taste and supports digestion when taken as a dietary supplement. I love adding a drop to my tea for a minty kick. You can take 1-2 drops drops in a capsule after mealtime to help with normal digestion. I also love diffusing a combination of Peppermint Vitality and Lavender for an uplifting aroma!

Panaway blend is a combination of peppermint, clove, wintergreen and other essential oils. It is amazing to use after a hard days work or after exercise. Dilute the oil with a carrier oil (coconut or olive oil) and apply topically for a soothing, aromatic experience. Apply several drops on the bottoms of feet for a relaxing foot massage. You can also place 3-4 drops on a hot towel and hold over the abdomen for a cooling effect. I love combining Panaway and Peppermint Vitality with coconut oil for a soothing muscle rub. After I have massaged most of the oil in I then add a couple drops of Copaiba and continue massaging. My husband loves it!

R.C. essential oil blend combines three unique varieties of eucalyptus along with peppermint, pine, lavender and other essential oils. Diffuse or add R.C. to a bowl of hot, steaming water and place a towel over your head and the bowl, inhaling the aroma deeply and slowly. R.C. can be diluted and applied to the chest, neck and throat areas as needed to enjoy the invigorating, cleansing aroma. I also love adding a couple drops to a hot shower!

Purification is a refreshing blend that includes Lemongrass, Rosemary, Melaleuca Alternifolia (tea tree oil) and other potent essential oils. It is uplifting and can be used to neutralize odors and enhance the air in your home. Combine 12 drops with distilled water and store in a glass spray bottle for an all natural, odor reducing spray! Put a few drops on a cotton ball and place in vents around your home and car to freshen the air. It is also can be used to moisture dry skin, simply apply 1-2 drops to area of concern and massage in. Apply to the bottoms of your feet to enjoy the outdoors pest free! It's also great to combine with other oils for an all natural bug off spray!

Frankincense has been used for aromatically for thousands of years to increase spiritual awareness. I love diffusing this while I'm practicing yoga at home and during my morning meditation as it is very grounding. If I am going to a yoga class, I dilute a couple drops with coconut oil and apply on my neck and wrists to enjoy the scent throughout my practice. 
Frankincense is known to help support the appearance of healthy looking skin. It can be used topically to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It is also antiseptic, meaning it helps eliminate bad bacteria and viruses from your home. It can be used in household cleaning, as a natural deodorizer, as a natural hygiene product and may even help decrease the appearance of scars. Frankincense is one of my favorite oils!

Lavender essential oil is regarded as one of the most powerful and versatile oils. It is definitely one of my favorites with its calming, floral aroma and endless uses. Some of my favorite ways to use lavender include applying it directly on the skin, mixing with coconut oil for a soothing lotion and diffusing it. It instantly fills any space with a calming aroma! I also love adding several drops to a cloth and using in the dryer as an all natural freshener. 

Stress Away is a unique, sweet blend combining lime, vanilla, lavender and other essential oils that has quickly become a favorite in the Young Living community. It can be used by ingesting a couple drops in a capsule or dilute in a glass of water. It is also available as a roll-on so you can take it with you on the go! Perfect to apply during your busy day to keep the stress away! 


Adding essential oils to your household is the first step in eliminating toxic products! From beauty products to cleaning products, essential oils can replace a wide variety of chemicals you currently use! 
I will be starting to publish DIY recipes and in depth posts on different oils so you can learn of all the different ways to incorporate essential oils in your life!
Are you ready to transform your lifestyle using essential oils?! There are so many ways to incorporate essential oils into your daily routine! 

I suggest buying the Premium Starter Kit as it includes all eleven essential oils I mentioned above. It also comes with a diffuser so you are ready to go! 
The best part? It's almost 50% off!!! Pay $160 for over $300 worth of product!
You must sign up as a "distributor" when buying the Premium Starter Kit, therefore you get to enjoy 24% discounted, wholesale prices! Don't worry, you don't have to sell Young Living oils to get the wholesale prices, you just have to make a minimum purchase of $50 once a year to continue to get the discounts!!!
 If your friends and family start inquiring about your oils, you can refer them to using your link and start earning more rewards! If you decide to pursue the business side of Young Living, you will need to make a purchase of $50 once a month to earn commissions.
Visit my Join Young Living page to learn more about the details.
If you don't want to make a commitment you can still sign up as a retail customer or buy the products directly through me!


*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, Young Living products are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease.

Thank you for choosing my blog to help you learn more about essential oils! If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me by emailing jessicamdeer@gmail.com
 I'd be happy to help :)

Thursday, June 1, 2017

I'm (finally) Back!!!

A whole three years later, but hey I'm finally back! A lot has happened since I stopped blogging! First off, I got married to the love of my life in Punta Cana on May 16th, 2017. We had a wonderful, intimate destination wedding with 20 of our closest family and friends and it was everything I could have imagined! 




It was truly the best two weeks of our lives and I wish we could relive it over and over again! So much fun! We all agreed we will have to go on more family vacations in the future!

So now that the most exciting day of my life is over, I'm beyond ready to get back to blogging! After taking a few years off, things have changed a bit! Rereading my blog posts after so long has shown me how much I have changed! Three years ago I was longing to get out of Connecticut and live in the Caribbean, since then I've realized that staying close to my family is more important to me than an endless summer. As we think about having children in the future it's important that they grow up spending lots of time with their aunts, uncles and grandparents!

So, why did I stop blogging so abruptly? I was just starting to get the blog off the ground when I stopped. I think the real reason that I stopped blogging was because my natural lifestyle had fallen off course. I was getting a little too comfortable in my relationship and instead of going to the gym and cooking healthy meals we were eating out and bumming on the couch. I longed to get back on track and become my healthiest self. About a year ago I decided enough was enough and I got back in the gym and got my eating habits back on point. I lost over fifty pounds and was finally starting to feel like myself again.

The new year came and with it came my new years resolution: wake up earlier. I work second shift as a server in a high end steak house, so getting to bed at two or three o'clock in the morning was (and is) the normal but I was allowing myself to sleep late, sometimes I wasn't even getting out of bed until noon! After going to the gym, it was practically time to get ready for work. I felt like getting up earlier would allow myself more time to do what makes me happy. All of January I tried and tried to get up early but my motivation was lacking.

The final week of January I decided to take some classes at my local yoga studio. They offer lots of classes such as bootcamp, TRX, cycle and lots of different styles of yoga. I thought, this is it! I started looking forward to my workouts instead of dreading them and what a difference that made! In addition to finding my love for fitness, I started naturally waking up around 7:30 and found myself on a natural endorphins high, every single day! 

Since then I have signed up for a monthly membership every month and I absolutely love it! Going to the gym just wasn't cutting it, I love the group fitness environment, it makes me push myself that much further! Furthermore, the yoga has been life changing and really has helped me learn how to cope with my anxiety and fast racing thoughts.

A couple months ago, I started to notice that even though it had been over three years since I was active on OrganicallYou, I was still getting a couple new likes on Facebook a week. Then, I got a couple checks in the mail from my affiliate links on the blog. Hmmm, I thought. This may be a sign! I missed blogging so much and I thought, wow if I'm getting likes and making a couple dollars off of my website that I hadn't touched in years, imagine what kind of a business I can grow if I put my all into it! Now that I had made serious changes in my lifestyle I felt so inspired to share the natural lifestyle with others!

So I decided why the hell not! It's never to late to start over! Now that I am feeling more in tune with my body and mind than I ever have, I have so much more to share and feel like this blog will be a million times better than it used to be (not that there was anything wrong with it, I'm just excited to share stuff thats not just reviews & giveaways! Although there will be plenty of those as well!)

The first big change in my blog is that I now use and sell Young Living essential oils, hands down the BEST essential oils on the market! They have helped me in so many different ways! My favorite ways to use essential oils include diffusing them to create different amazing smells, using them in DIY beauty and bath products (that replaced basically everything I used to buy!), cooking with the Vitality line and taking them internally to promote health! Not to mention Young Living has so many awesome products such as Thieves cleaner, laundry detergent, deodorant and toothpaste, just to name a few of my favorites :) They make it easy to create a natural environment for you and your family!
If you are interested in living a natural lifestyle, using essential oils is the first step to replacing toxic, harsh chemicals that you currently use! The possibilities of different uses is endless! I'll be posting about my favorite oils included in the premium starter kit tomorrow, but feel free to reach out if your interested in starting you're natural journey! (Send me an email at jessicamdeer@gmail.com!) If you'd like to read more about the premium starter kit be sure to click "Join Young Living" on the navigation bar on the top of this page :) I'm so excited to share with you DIY recipes and ways to replace practically all the products you use in your daily life! 
I have so many ideas and I'm so excited to share them all with you! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read this, there is much more to come!


 
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