These are some products, tools, and supplies I use on a regular basis. If you're interested in what I use and why I like them, please take a look! If you're in the market for some new supplies, I hope this list will help you out.
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Blog & Business
Bloggers Guide To...
Terra Dawn over at Uncork Your Dork has a ton of amazing resources and courses. I've loved taking all of her free courses and more! If you're interested in being part of a blogging community and get access to all her courses, sign up for Bloggers Guide To... The courses include all the different steps of blogging including finding your writing style, managing SEO, downloads, Pinterest, and launching a first product.
The membership site has:
- a forum
- every course plus more from the original program
- an area for mini trainings
- and even a monthly subscription to her Bi-Weekly Traffic Calendar sent straight to your inbox!
Social Media Scheduling
You may have heard me mentioned it here once or twice, but blogging is not my full time job. I love to keep up with some social media (mostly Instagram and Pinterest) but I can't really be on it all day. I use some awesome nifty tools to help me continue to add content without having to be at my computer all day!
Samsung Chromebook Pro
I've recently gotten the Samsung Chromebook Pro and I'm loving it! I'll admit it isn't for everyone -- in order to get the most use out of it, I've installed Crouton (Linux) on it, which is definitely not for someone who isn't technically savy -- and I still use it in conjunction with my Macbook. However, and this is a big however, there are a couple of things I do with the Chromebook Pro that I love and can't do with my more expensive Macbook.
- Touchscreen! I love that I can draw and make vector images on this baby, using a native Android app.
- Built in stylus. Guys, you have no idea how fun this is!
- Light & portable. This guy is so much easier to carry around and write blog posts, etc. on.
Photos & Memory Keeping
I love using Blurb to print my high-quality, keepsake photo books. I love that they're both reasonably priced (due to fairly regular sales and incentives) and that I can make a completely custom book using their Adobe inDesign plugin. If you're not comfortable with going off on your own -- don't worry! They also have an online editor and an easy to use desktop application.
Chatbooks is just right for printing those every day moments that you want to keep around, but might not necessarily want to shell out lots of money for. Their books are only $8 for 60 pages and the slowest shipping method is free! I make my series books by choosing my favorites from my photo roll, but you can also speed up the process by having it automatically pull pictures from your Instagram or Facebook.
Snag a free first book!
Printables & Art
This printer is great -- I use it to do both my regular printing and my photo printing. As a bonus, it also scans! I've had this printer for several years now and it's still going strong. Although the Canon PIXMA MG5520 is now discontinued, the slightly newer model MG7720 is still available on Amazon. I found these to be excellent replacement inks, and I love that I can replace individual cartridges instead of the whole thing.
The quick rundown of my favorite papers to use:
- Canon Semi-Gloss: I use this whenever I want to print out quality photos. I'm not a big fan of high gloss photos, so this is a great in between for me. (Note, this is most like what most photo printers call "matte" or "luster".)
- Canon Matte: This is a true matte paper and has no sheen. This does NOT look like the prints you buy from the store when you have the option of picking matte or glossy, so I use it when I have printables that I want to frame as art or need extra sturdy. I get really nice, crisp pictures with this paper. Think of it like cardstock. (Note, this has a "right" and a "wrong" side -- if you print on the wrong side, your colors will look dull and washed out and have a different texture.)
Essential Oils & DIY
I know everyone has their favorite essential oil brand. Honestly, I use just about everything. I've found that for some particular scents, I like a certain brand's more than others, but I'm always open to trying out new essential oils!
In the past, I've purchased Now Foods (on Amazon) and Jade Bloom and been gifted DoTerra and Young Living oils. I've honestly found that I enjoy them all and haven't noticed a huge difference between them.
However, the one thing I really wanted to mention was Jade Bloom University. It's a set of online videos and text that you can read to learn more about essential oils, including how to use them safely and what certain oils are good for. The best part, however, is that you can earn up to $32 worth of free essential oils! As you finish each section (and they are fairly long since they're packed with info), you'll earn reward points to spend in the store. I found that the best way to spend these was to wait for their "free oil" offers which rotate every two weeks or so and then put just over $10 of product in my cart. Since it's impossibly to get exactly $10, you'll probably end up spending $0.20 to $0.50 per order, but it has definitely been worth it for me.
Check out my post on how to get free essential oils.
Essential Oil Diffuser
An essential oil diffuser is a perfect way to get started with essential oils. They make it so easy to use the oils - just put a couple of drops into the water and you're all set to go! It's a great way to experiment with different oil blends and not have to worry about carrier oils, etc.
I have the Riverrock diffuser and it works great for me! It's pretty basic and there isn't much more to it that adding the water and turning it on. It does have a color band that you can switch between changing colors, solid color, and off. (One note: even though it has the word 'humidifier' in the title, I wouldn't call it a humidifier. It puts out a very fine mist, but that's not enough to add a lot of moisture to a room!)
If you're looking at other diffusers, the biggest things to take a look at are if they have lights and if so, can you turn them off, and to make sure it's an ultrasonic diffuser. There are some that work like warm humidifiers which heat up the water and turn it to steam, but that can damage the oils and they tend not to work as well to put out the smells.
Containers: Mister, Rollerballs, and More
There are a lot of different ways to use essential oils and the container you choose will depend on your application. Here are some of the ways I will store or package my oils.
In general, you'll want glass bottles so that any citrus oils won't leach the plastic and something that's darker colored so the oils don't react to the light. I prefer amber-colored glass, but another common option is blue cobalt glass, though you can find these in many colors.
A fine spray mister is great for - you guessed it - sprays! Whether that's a linen spray, DIY makeup setter, or even perfume, you'll want something that gives out a nice, even spray. I've found that these amber glass misters do the trick.
Roller bottles are great for targeted applications onto your skin. They make it easy to apply essential oils without having to deal with dropper bottles and you can choose exactly where the oils will end up. Remember to always use a carrier oil when applying essential oils directly to your skin! These glass roller bottles even have pretty gold tops which would make them perfect gifts.
If you're making liquid soap, creams, or lotions, a pump bottle may be your best choice. I wouldn't use them for directly storing oils, since you tend to get a lot of product out with each pump, but they're a great way to store a lot of DIY beauty products.