Healthy Holiday Gift Guide

Here are some of my favorite wellness gift ideas for everyone in the family. Many holiday catalog items are here for a limited time only, so feel free to check with me on availability. 

Young Living members get wholesale pricing on all purchases. Use my link to create your account and sign up as a retail customer or purchase a starter kit for $35 or more and add these items at wholesale pricing! 

For Dads

Car Vent Diffuser – $14.75 wholesale | $19.41 retail
Season’s Greetings Air Freshener Set – $12.00 wholesale | $15.79 retail

For Moms:

Christmas Spirit Hand Soap Gift Set – $18.50 wholesale | $24.34 retail
Joy to the World Bath Bomb – $12.00 wholesale | $15.79 retail

For Spouses:

Sweet Aroma Diffuser – $39.75 wholesale | $52.30 retail
NingXia Zyng – $35.75 wholesale | $47.04 retail

For Kids:

Feather the Owl Diffuser – $49.75 wholesale | $65.46 retail
Kidscents MightyPro – $32.75 wholesale | $43.09 retail

For Babies:

Seedlings Calm Essential Oil Blend – $12.75 wholesale | $16.78 retail
Seedlings Calm Linen Spray – $12.50 wholesale | $16.45 retail

For siblings:

Chocolessence Bundle – $36.00 wholesale | $47.37 retail 
O’ Christmas Tree Bath Bomb – $12.00 wholesale | $15.79 retail

What gifts are you most excited to give or receive this year? Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!

Be well,

5 reasons I would NEVER join an MLM

You read that correctly. And I’m guessing many of you share the sentiment. Here are the main reasons I promised myself years ago that I would never join an MLM (multi-level marketing company), also known as network marketing or direct sales.

  1. Misinformation and false claims
    This was a huge reason for me. Years ago I saw a seemingly endless stream of posts on social media making pretty outrageous claims about diet shakes, drink mixes, supplements, and yes – essential oils. It was so prevalent that it actually became difficult to weed through the overblown claims and figure out if any of it was actually true. It was easier write all of it off as misinformation spread by snake oil salespeople.
  2. Cold messaging on social media
    This one… just ICK. Raise your hand if you have ever received a friend request on social media almost immediately followed by a message that went something like this: “Hey girl! How have you been? We haven’t talked since high school, crazy how time flies! I saw you just had a baby, cute!! If you’re looking to lose some of that baby weight, I have an AMAZING exercise program with proven results! Are you interested in joining my challenge group?” Ugh… this is just plain wrong on so many levels.
  3. Predatory recruiting
    The statistics about direct sales companies and their distributors can actually be pretty alarming. It’s well known that very few people in MLM companies make it to the top ranks, and the vast majority never make any money at all. It’s hard to see that data and then believe someone when they say “earn full-time income doing part-time work!” or “become a millionaire right from your smartphone!”. These tactics often target low-income people who need the money most, and also have the most to lose.
  4. Overpriced products of low quality
    This one is obviously quite subjective. Everyone has a different idea of what affordability means, and quality can also be viewed subjectively. But there are myriad honest product reviews out there from customers and even former distributors who speak to the poor quality of the products. It’s often believed that the prices are high in order to pay out commissions to distributors and “uplines”.
  5. Scams
    Of course MLM scams do exist. The number one sign that an MLM opportunity is a scam is an obvious lack of product or a focus on recruiting over selling. While not necessarily scams, it’s also true that direct sales companies pop up (the industry is growing quickly) and then shut down abruptly, leaving distributors out of luck after sometimes investing significant funds into the opportunity (or perhaps worse – purchasing a massive amount of inventory they won’t be able to sell).

I can imagine that this might resonate with you, you might be nodding your head in agreement, but also thinking “Ok Allison… but aren’t you a Young Living distributor? That’s an MLM too!” And you’d be correct. But I wouldn’t be giving you the full story of how I got here without being transparent about my thoughts, beliefs, and background.

So this is the part where I tell you that not all direct sales companies are created equal. The five reasons listed above STILL get my blood boiling, and I have a hard time supporting distributors that engage in those practices and companies that encourage them. So I’ll address what changed my mind about Young Living in those same five categories.

  1. They take a stand against misinformation and false claims
    While I didn’t see anyone I know personally do this, I saw other Young Living reps doing it years ago. And it was problematic. Since then, the company has cracked down on reps making exaggerated or unverified product claims through their conduct success training. They strive to make sure all distributors are educated on FDA compliance and ensuring proper labeling. This means a lot to someone like me, who values evidence-based practice. It also means that noncompliant distributors can have their accounts terminated, which I am not opposed to.
  2. No cold messaging on social media
    Of all the cold messages I have received, interestingly none of them have been from my MANY friends involved with Young Living. I finally signed up with my membership in July 2019, but folks in my social circles have been members since as far back as 2014 (that I know of). There still may be leaders telling people to use this strategy, and the truth is that cold messaging can be effective when done correctly. It’s just a method I chose not to employ. I have a professional background in B2B marketing and am comfortable contacting people in a courteous manner who give me their contact information. I won’t target anyone directly on social media, especially if we haven’t spoken in years.
  3. No predatory recruiting
    All of the leaders I hear from in Young Living make the same claim about the income opportunity: that it takes hard work to succeed (just like anything else in life!). No rank or salary is ever promised, and it is company policy to share the income disclosure statement any time the business opportunity is discussed. You can read that statement here: https://static.youngliving.com/en-US/PDFS/IDSOnlineVersion_PDF_US.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1O7oLpBkTUq-xTRxTlheesnJBoWEFO_54GJW5bWtNwEItHDlIQMnphDjs
  4. High-quality products that are responsibly sourced
    This one is SO important to me and a big part of my story. I was introduced to Young Living essential oils in early 2017 when my mother-in-law was in hospice care. Her longtime friend gifted us several oils and products to help her feel more comfortable. After she passed, they sat in our house untouched for months (which was unfortunate because we needed the emotional support). I finally began to explore the oils and what they could do, and I was honestly blown away. However, what I didn’t understand then was that you really do get what you pay for sometimes. So when those oils ran out or ran low, I started purchasing and using other brands (in part because of my frugal nature, and in part because of my anti-MLM stance). Here’s the thing: the results were not the same. I had to use TWICE as much product to get the same effect. I was using the product more quickly. I was experiencing respiratory issues when diffusing oils that were supposedly the same as the Young Living ones I loved before. Skin irritations occurred. They are not the same, friends. Not even close. My personal experience was that store bought essential oils pale in comparison to the quality of a 25-year old company with the highest standards in the industry.
  5. It’s not a scam
    This one is pretty obvious. Young Living has been in business for 25 years. They are the industry leader in essential oils. They are transparent about the business opportunity and have real, quality products for sale. There is no “scheme.” The company is pretty transparent and there is a wealth of resources available for product users and business builders alike.

If you’re on the fence about joining a direct sales company, know that there certainly is a legitimate business side and that some have phenomenal products that stand the test of time. Think about how many direct sales companies have been around for decades and are household names because their products are well-liked (Tupperware, Mary Kay, Avon, Young Living, etc.). It’s important to do your research, separate fact from fiction, and get to know the distributors you are purchasing from. Trust is crucial.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!

Be well,

Toddler Travel: 5 Lessons From Our First Family Flight

Some families travel frequently and their Instagram feeds are filled with beautiful photos from incredible destinations. This blog is not for them.

This blog is for the family that has to prepare, save up, and plan every detail of their vacation in order to make the most of their limited funds or time off from work. It’s for the families who only dream of maybe finally taking that family vacation next year. You know, the trip that didn’t work out this year.

Listen up, fam – you can make it happen! If you’re not sure where to start, I’m here to share some tips to help you see the world with your little one(s). Here are a few things I learned from our first cross-country family vacation:

1. Children under 2 fly free on a parent’s lap.

For many jet-setters, this is common knowledge. For families looking to afford their first trip together, this information might be a game-changer. For us, this information was used as motivation to finally book our trip from New York to California before our son’s 2nd birthday. For our family of three, purchasing one less plane ticket meant making a cross-country trip much more affordable.

There’s a lot to consider when flying with your baby or toddler, and flying with a lap child might not be the best solution for everyone. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) strongly urges travelers to secure children in a child safety restraint system in flight, which does require the purchase of an additional ticket per child. More information about the FAA’s recommendations can be found by visiting their website.

2. Car seats and strollers can be checked for free.

Airlines allow travelers to check a car seat and stroller free of charge. We opted to gate check our stroller so that we had it available for navigating busy airports. We did check our car seat at the counter with our other baggage since we opted to fly with our son in our laps.

If you do plan to check a car seat, as we did, there are some things to be aware of. Car Seats for the Littles, Inc is a 501(c)(3) organization, staffed by Child Passenger Safety Technicians who advocate for car seat safety.

They recommend placing the car seat in a box (its original packaging is preferred) with padding, and gate checking if possible. The concern is that car seats may arrive at your destination with damage that cannot be seen. You can read more about their suggestions for air travel with children at csftl.org.

3. Flying at night worked better for us.

This one will obviously depend on your child’s temperament, schedule and sleep patterns. Our son hasn’t always been the most reliable napper, but sleeps deeply and consistently overnight. I’ve also found that overnight flights, for the most part, are darker and more quiet, creating a better environment for toddler sleep.

We had a more difficult time finding an overnight flight for our trip home, so we ended up flying during our son’s normal nap time. Predictably, our son did not nap during the flight and the result was a restless, over-tired toddler during our long journey home.

4. Expect some sleep schedule adjustment and plan accordingly.

We intentionally left our schedule open for our first full day in California. This was such a good idea, as we all were adjusting the time different and lack of sleep from our long trip. Toddlers, in particular, require some leeway and grace in this department. A regular sleep schedule is essential to most children at this age, so a major deviation can (and probably will) cause some crankiness. Be prepared for an adjustment period!

5. Accept that screen time can be a big help.

Our family is generally not in favor of excessive screen time. While we haven’t exactly followed the American Academy of Pediatrics’ guidelines to a T, we usually try to focus on daily activities that include outdoor time, physical activities, and imaginative play. A lot of online resources suggest bringing along your child’s favorite toys and books. However, we found in packing for our trip that the items we could carry only provided about 15 minutes of entertainment at a time.

I had a strong feeling that this would not suffice for a 5+ hour flight, so I purchased several episodes of our son’s favorite age-appropriate show (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse!) and some over-the-ear headphones for him to enjoy during the flight. I didn’t want to be that mom who lets her toddler run up and down the aisle of the cabin, so I opted for a bit of screen time to keep him quiet, happy and in his seat for much of the flight.

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Are you ready to book a flight with your toddler? Where are you heading? I’d love to hear about your family adventures in the comments below!

Keep exploring,

Alli Signature

The World’s Cutest Snowboarder

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Yeah he’s cute, but someone else has got him beat.

I hate to be a traitor to my very talented partner (who gets all the credit for turning me on to snowboarding in the first place), but another snowboarder now has my complete adoration. Her name is Sloan Henderson and she’s only one year old! Sloan’s snowboarding video is going viral and has been featured on Today, ABC News and more. Check out her first time on the slopes in the video below!


Seriously – #lifegoals. You can also check out her snowboarding progression on her YouTube channel. This girl has some seriously rad parents and natural talent for “cruisin” on her board! I hope we see more of this little lady’s adventures in the future, complete with lots and lots of smiles and high-fives!

What do you think about Sloan’s snowboarding adventures? Is it possible to watch that video without wanting to give her some major high-fives?! Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Throwback Thursday: Snowboarding at Northampton Park

I previously posted some reflections from my first snowboarding season, however there was one time before the 2014-2015 winter season that I had attempted to figure out this thing called snowboarding, and that was a seldom-mentioned night in March 2013. Since my partner and a couple of his friends were still very new to snowboarding, and therefore not quite ready to make the trek out to Bristol Mountain, a bunch of us had the idea to purchase an inexpensive “lift ticket” at Northampton Park in Brockport, NY. The ski hill at Northampton Park is pretty rudimentary – featuring only one gradual ski slope and a single rope tow lift. Despite the lack of exciting features, the low price tag of $12 for open ski and $15 rentals makes it a nice place for those who just want to give downhill snow sports a whirl – like us!

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Since most of us had never even attempted snowboarding before, and my partner – the lifelong skier – had only tried it once or twice, it was pretty much the blind leading the blind. I couldn’t figure out how to even maneuver on a snowboard, let alone make my way down the short, easy slope without falling. The most challenging part for me, however, was learning how to successfully ascend the hill using the rope tow. It wasn’t as easy as the little kids made it look! Once I was able to finally get myself back up to the top of the hill, I managed to get in a handful of runs – and one time I made it almost all the way down without falling. To me, that was a success!

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Inexpensive rental equipment with step-in bindings.

Even though I was atrociously clueless and clumsy on a snowboard that night, it made me want to learn how to do it right. I quickly realized that a lesson from a professional instructor was probably going to be the best way for me to get started in snowboarding – and I’m glad that’s something I eventually pursued. So far in Western New York this December has been incredibly mild and unseasonably warm, with absolutely no snow in sight. I’m aching for the chance to get on my board again and continue to work on my skills – whether it’s somewhere low-cost and nearby like Northampton Park or a more expensive, faraway ski resort.

Have you ever been embarrassingly bad at something new? Don’t worry, I have too! Tell me about it in the comments below!

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Reflections From My First Snowboarding Season

Here in Western New York the winters tend to be long and snowy. For those who don’t enjoy winter sports it can be quite dreadful. Before last winter, I was one of those people. I didn’t grow up skiing like many people in Upstate New York, so I really missed out on some of the best winter recreation available. After having ACL reconstruction surgery following injuries in both of my knees, skiing made me very nervous.

Snowboarding

For some reason, though, snowboarding always piqued my interest and seemed better-suited for my skills (and clumsiness). The first winter dating my partner, a lifelong skier and ski racer, also happened to be his first winter snowboarding. He was a natural and eventually snowboarding completely replaced skiing as his go-to winter activity. Fast-forward to the 2014-2015 winter ski/snowboard season and he was ready to get me out on the mountain with him.

Sunset Lift At Night
Riding the Sunset Chairlift at night is beautiful and serene.

We purchased a ski club package, offered through Rochester Young Professionals, that provided 12 weeks of Tuesday night twilight lift tickets at nearby Bristol Mountain. Since my partner gets a season pass at Bristol Mountain every year, we agreed to go each Tuesday after work from mid-December to early March.

First Snowboarding Lesson
All smiles after my first snowboarding lesson!

One of the biggest selling points of this package was that it included a group lesson each night, if desired. I took advantage of this option a couple times and, because I was the only snowboarder interested in a lesson on those nights, the group lessons actually turned into one-on-one lessons with a snowboard instructor. This was incredibly valuable, especially when I was first getting started. My partner was also able to provide helpful tips and instruction, though his patience turned out to be equally as beneficial as his knowledge.

Ski Pole Selfie with GoPro
Snowboarding with this guy makes winter a lot more fun!

Challenges of my first snowboarding season:

  • A collision with a skier who slammed into me from behind, causing severe lower back pain and bruising that lasted for weeks.
  • Getting the right equipment and gear – I had never even skied before!
  • Trying to master the toe side turn without catching an edge – I fell a lot.
  • Getting over my own fear of falling and crashing.
  • Getting easily frustrated with myself, and taking it out on my very patient, very loving partner!

Highlights of my first snowboarding season:

  • Finally getting my heel side and toe side turns!
  • Improving my technique and increasing my confidence.
  • Acquiring a few favorite trails. By the end of the season I was most comfortable on blue square trails.
  • Getting to experience all types of snow conditions for the first time: fresh powder, packed snow, slush, etc.
  • The Morning Star Cafe aka The Waffle Hut. I’m not ashamed of how much I enjoyed this yummy mid-mountain treat!
  • Spring snowboarding in 60-degree weather in April!
  • Bonding with my partner in a new way that brought us closer than ever.

Check out this highlight reel of my partner’s snowboarding videos from last season:

Overall it was an amazing winter and I learned that my love of the mountains definitely extends to snowboarding as well. I’m already eagerly anticipating the start of the 2015-2016 season – come on, snow!

What’s your favorite winter activity? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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