Lazy Girl’s Guide to Photo Styling

The Lazy Girl's Guide to Photo Styling: for blogsHey there, hey. In this age of Pinterest, it is really hard to tell if I have actual regular blog readers or if they are just popping by to check out one project they came across while browsing. Bounce rates are through the roof. And if you know what that means, this post is for you. People like to see pretty images and while they may have come over for a specific post, you want your content, when they click over to the home page to see what you are all about, to grab them and make them stick around. Pretty pictures don’t have to be hard to produce.. For some people, styling photos for blog posts comes super naturally. For me, I have a huge hurdle I have to over come. Laziness. Oh and I have two kids and only a handful of hours where I am kidless to get the work done, but more importantly, I’m lazy. Producing a gorgeous series of blog post photos can be a big undertaking. For a really long time, I didn’t put a ton of effort in to it. But over time, I figured out ways to create better, more visually pleasing images, without exerting a ton of energy. Granted, some photo shoots are more grand and take more time and money to put together, put for consistently good content, here are some tips that will save you effort and hopefully give you more Pinterest worthy photos.

Blog post photo styling tips. Simple ways to make your photos better.Start with a white background. Any one will do. Even a door. Sure it takes a little bit to work around the frame and handles, but you can get really clean, nice shots and you don’t need to paint your walls or freak out because your house isn’t photo ready. I also have a photo frame, that I’ve strung a large piece of white plastic from, to give me a larger space to work with. I leave it up in an area of my kitchen so that it is ready to go when I need it. But this white door idea is super great when I’m feeling super lazy. Or if my work table, in front of my kitchen backdrop, is too full of stuff I haven’t put away from a previous photo shoot. Lazy. Also, any table will work, including a TV tray. Simply throw a cloth on it and get started. I know some people have bought wood and weathered it themselves to make great faux table looks. I ain’t got time for that. You can also get a large piece of wood and paint it white, like I have in the past (but then you have to store it and lug it around). And you can also use white foam core pieces from the local craft store. Prop it up behind your table and you’ve got an instant white background for a few dollars. Don’t think the big bloggers aren’t doing this. Sure, some of their houses have been featured in magazines. But I promise you that most of them do some sort of photo staging such as this.

The lazy girl's guide to photo styling for your blog. Simple tips that help your photos be gorgeous with minimal effort.Pretty pretty glassware. Get some. If you are shooting cocktails, pretty glassware will instantly elevate your photo. You don’t have to spend a ton of money and you don’t need to buy more than 1 or 2. You should also frequent thrift stores looking for interesting glassware. Or you can pick up inexpensive glassware, that you can modify yourself, to make a one-of-a-kind look. Also, glassware will fill out your photo frame. If you are shooting a recipe, but want it to look more like an actual dining situation, you can add some glasses in and it will enhance the feel of the photo. Leave them empty, or even just fill them with water. Or wine. Whatever. Also, consider a prop swap with your blogger friends. I don’t want to shoot every single cocktail recipe in the same glass but I also don’t want to buy expensive glasses all the time. Other local bloggers might feel the same way and it would behoove everyone involved to share their prop wealth.

Blog post photo styling tips. Simple ways to make your photos better.I used to think it was cheating to use fresh flowers or leaves in photo shoots. I would get so bummed out when people would fawn all over someone’s instagram shot and think, you guys! It’s just flowers. I felt like it didn’t really require that much in the way of styling because the flowers did all the work. But people like flowers. And they are super easy to use in photo shoots. So now I use them and/or greenery. It requires less styling and adds SO much. I have stopped buying (when possible due to the season) and go walking around my neighborhood for flowers or branches I can “borrow.” It adds a really great pop of color and a more natural feel to the photos. Something living is always a good boost for a photo (this also includes hands so recruit friends on shoot days when at all possible!). A simple cut flower, next to a cocktail? Boom. Gorgeous photo. Minimal effort. They help to fill in spaces and add another layer to the photo.

How to style photos for blog posts. A lazy girl's guide.Candles are another thing that are super easy to keep around and add a really nice quality to photos. Just make sure that you have burned them before hand so it comes off as a lifestyle-y “I live by romantic candle light at all times” rather than overly staged. You can use groupings of inexpensive candles like above, or look for really great looking vessels holding a scented candle. Or make your own. Also, there are a few photoshop tips you should know that will help you in your photo shoots. If nothing else, learn the “clone stamp” tool. In the photo on the left, you can see a blue mark and wrinkles. With a few simple clicks, I am able to get rid of both for my finished blog post photo. So instead of going to find another table cover or pulling out the iron, I can take care of those things after the fact. You can also learn to brighten your photos which is ideal when you don’t have awesome natural lighting.

Rowenta iron for steaming tablecloths already on the table! And other photo styling tips for the lazy girl. But sometimes you still need to use an iron. A lot of my photos are straight from the front of the table or shooting down from above. But it is always good to get a wide shot, to show the full set up, especially if the focus is on entertaining. This Rowenta iron is crazy awesome and has a vertical steam option so I can get out the wrinkles, while my table is set up, and not miss a beat. And keep in mind that you don’t need to use a tablecloth. You can use anything that gives off the vibe you are after. I’ve used shirts, skirts, towels, blankets, etc. Be creative. And a large piece of muslin fabric is always less expensive than a tablecloth. Grab a few different colors and textures that you can just grab when you start setting up your shot.

I hope these really simple tips will help you to not feel so overwhelmed with photo styling. I hate extra work, but I love traffic. So making a few of these changes might help you increase your traffic as well. It isn’t going to happen overnight, but as you start to develop your look and find your groove, putting a great blog post photo together won’t feel like work at all.

If you are a blogger and you are willing to share your quick photo shoot styling tips, leave them in the comments!

*Iron provided by Rowenta. The Rowenta Pro Master Iron features a precision tip which is awesome for crafters, vertical steaming for use in the upright position on hanging clothes, drapes or tablecloths (works best on hanging fabric with nothing behind it – do not use on the top of a table as the steam might damage the wood). It has variable steam settings and an anti-drip system which prevents spitting and leaking when set on lower temperatures. This is huge! And the iron has a 3-way automatic shut off system that is crazy awesome including shutting off if the iron is knocked over and lays flat for 30 seconds. So you won’t ruin your fabric or burn down your house (probably – this is not a guarantee).

A lot of you probably don’t know this but I spent a lot of my life being an avid ironer (made up word alert). I ironed my full outfit, every single morning, all though high-school and college. And in to my adult years. Even jeans. Even on vacation. Thank you for supporting the brands, like Rowenta, that let you share a little bit more about my loves and quirks with you. A good iron can change your life.

*This post contains affiliate links.  Read more about my editorial policies here.


Retreat Planning and Wendy’s Fresh Salads

Wendy's Fresh Salads are a great quick lunch option. #BeyondTheBowl #CleverGirls #ad

I never ever thought that I would be someone who can’t find the time to eat. I love food and I hate to be hungry. But over the last few months, I have found myself missing lunch. It is always on super busy days of shuttling kids around or trying to get in a photo shoot for the blog that I find it hard to take the time to stop and eat. But I’ve also noticed something else. Where, in a jam, I used to be able to eat chips and call it lunch on those busy days, now I am resisting those empty calories. Am I growing up? Maybe a little. Or maybe it is because summer is coming up and I’d like to still be able to fit in to my clothes. And I’ve totally been craving salads lately. I never thought I’d find a decent, fresh salad from a fast food joint! But I did!

A better fast food option, Wendy's Fresh Salads. SO good! #BeyondTheBowl #CleverGirls #adAbout once a week, I pack up all the things I need for photo shoots, and head to Lauren’s house where we work together to hammer out posts for both of our blogs. If we’re lucky, one of us has to shoot a recipe that we can eat for lunch, but last week I needed to grab us a quick lunch on my way over. Have you heard about Wendy’s fresh salads?! OMG! They were so good. And a lot of chains claim to have fresh salads (wherein they use fresh, but then frozen items, which are then shipped to the locations to be assembled on site), these are legit fresh. Like, they cut heads of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and more, each morning for their salads. And the white meat chicken actually looks and tastes like chicken and is made to order when you order a salad. They make the salad from start to finish, at each Wendy’s, as if you would if you were making it for yourself at home. P.S. Wendy’s does not condone smoking. Especially smoking cats. (How hilarious is that shirt?!)

Wendy's Asian Cashew Chicken Salad. A fast, healthy lunch choice. #BeyondTheBowl #CleverGirls #adIt has come time for us to start planning our end of summer retreat for creatives and so we decided to make it a working lunch picnic. Our retreat is always in Palm Springs. And when Coachella rolls around, it is our reminder that we need to get planning. It is a total bucket list item to go to Coachella. Maybe next year we will begin our planning in between sets…a girl can dream, can’t she?

I need to be honest here. I am a fast food lover. I feel like it isn’t trendy to say that but I love a good hamburger/fries/soda combo from time to time. But I wouldn’t have even thought to order a salad. A bad salad is just plain awful. But look at those fresh veggies! They are crisp, not soggy, bright in color instead of not right looking. And that perfectly grilled chicken was so good! Check out this video which follows the romaine lettuce as it is picked in the farm to when it ends up in your Wendy’s salad. Pretty cool. They will be releasing more videos in this series sharing just how fresh the salads are. And for when I’m really trying to eat cleaner, I can skip the dressing and use just a squeeze of lime or lemon. Which will be a really hard switch since the BBQ Ranch dressing was so tasty.

Creative planning picnic. #BeyondTheBowl #CleverGirls #adThere are 5 different salads to choose from. Lauren tried the Asian Cashew Chicken Salad and I did the BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad. Because Applewood bacon and ranch. Yum. We talked about how we want to make our retreat a little bit different this year and set to work showing each other some visual inspiration we had gathered which will guide the look of our creative weekend in Palm Springs. If we couldn’t actually be in the desert, at least we really enjoyed our picnic lunch out in the sunshine. And I am sure if I had put the salad in to a real bowl, Lauren wouldn’t have known it wasn’t a homemade salad, which can’t be said for all fast food salads.

#campmixalot Pool Balloon BannerOur retreats include lots of pool time so you know a salad is the perfect lunch idea…You can see more about year 1 of our retreat and year 2 here and here. Want to come? Let us know here.

Backyard business planning with fresh Wendy's salads. #BeyondTheBowl #CleverGirls #adBeing able to grab a healthy, fresh lunch fast was awesome. Instead of focusing on what we were going to make, we could eat something prepared fresh for us and hash out plans for the retreat. Our retreats have a distinctive look each year and they also have a specific sound. I’m not sure the participants would even pick up on that but for me, a good playlist or even one great song, can really share the vibe I’m going for like nothing else. We brought the music out to our picnic so we could start to dial in what the weekend will feel like. So basically, we brought Coachella to us.

Easy summer picnic with fresh salads. And a little wine. #BeyondTheBowl #CleverGirls #adAnd since this was Friday, and we had a bottle of wine open for one of our shoots, we brought a little out for our picnic. For a minute, it felt like we were not in the middle of a work day but hanging out in the desert. Thanks, Wendy’s!  (Please drink responsibly. Wine is not sold at Wendy’s.) And I’m really excited to have a new go-to lunch option in these salads (I’m going to try the Apple Pecan Chicken salad next!). No more missing lunch because I can’t find something good to eat!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Summer Travel Essentials

My summer travel essentials. The items I need to have with me when I head out on vacation.There is nothing better than travel during the summer. This year I am SO excited to share a place with my kids that my family vacationed every year growing up. Which is also where my dad vacationed as a boy! It is going to be so special. And I CAN’T wait! I’m sure we will also end up in Palm Springs (a few times) and who knows where else! Today I’m sharing some of my summer travel essentials. Be warned. I am not a light packer. You may be able to do without these things, but I know what I need to have a good time. I hate forgetting things at home. And I like to be prepared for just about every possible scenario.  I never leave home without a good sun hat. This one, from Goorin Bros. (similar style) (remember it from Mexico) is awesome because it packs really well. I have to wear a hat in the pool or on a boat or anywhere where there is too much sun. And it’s cute. I also have to bring along a good portable speaker. On a girl’s trip, it is essential for getting ready and setting the tone for the evening. And with my family, music and instantly change moods (thank you, Uptown Funk!!) I never leave home without one.

My summer travel essentials. A good tote bag is a must for magazines, snacks and whatnot. I always have a tote bag with me on a trip. I pack it full of magazines, snacks, water, whatever I think I’ll need depending on the days activity. It’s perfect for a car trip and then the contents change from day to day. It has to be larger than a purse, like this one from RVCA, but smaller than an overnight bag. And I like it to be a darker color so that it doesn’t show the inevitable dirt.

My travel essentials: Yoshirt custom phone case with kids photo (makes a great gift!) and my fave perfume that is hard to find.When I am away from my kids, I really like to have pictures of them handy for when I miss them. I just made this Yoshirt custom phone case and it is awesome. Since you always have your phone with you, you can see your kids adorable faces the entire time you are away. And of course I am going to leave it on my phone all the time. I also recently found my favorite perfume in a travel size and it has changed everything. Years ago I had it in a travel size and then it leaked on a trip and I stopped taking any kind of perfume with me. But I realized that it helps me feel put together for dinner out. I found a site that has some harder to find travel sized perfumes and ordered my signature scent. I have taken it with me on my last few trips and it’s made me really happy. I can’t believe I traveled for so long without any perfume!

Amuse Society bikini and XO, G wine for summer travel.You guys, I’m totally not a wine-o. I promise. But you know how expensive a glass of wine can be at a resort. I’m in love with this XO,G pinot grigio. The packaging is darling, they are super easy to pack and you can just have a glass at a time. You don’t need a wine opener, or a glass. These are perfect for the hotel room as you are relaxing in the evening or to take with you on a tropical excursion (where allowed, of course – drink responsibly…) And you can bring home whatever you don’t drink, which you totally can’t do with a bottle.  And of course you need a darling swimsuit like this one from Amuse Society. I’m in love with this adorable pattern.

Coolibar leggings with SPF for summer travel. Be prepared for being stuck in the sun with comfy leggings that provide sun protection. I’ve recently fell in love with garment bags. This lightweight Cinda B bag in Noir is perfect for quick trips. I wouldn’t check this on a plane for a weekend away, it is fantastic. I love that I can store my clothes, keeping them from getting as wrinkled as they might be in my suitcase, and look chic doing it. There is something kind of fancy about a garment bag, isn’t there? And a small hard shell suitcase with wheels keeps everything super easy.

Coolibar travel umbrella to keep you sun safe on vacation. If you know my history with skin cancer, then you know that I can’t really worship the sun any more. This Coolibar travel umbrella is a must for me when I travel. It easily fits in a tote bag so I can take it with me and I know I am protected no matter where I end up. It’s light and has a vent so that air can move through it making it perfect for a breezy day. It is hard to tell from this picture but the exterior is sort of a metallic silver so it is pretty neutral to match whatever you may be wearing. It feels really sturdy, for being made for travel, so this will last for tons of trips.

Coolibar leggings with SPF for summer travel. Be prepared for being stuck in the sun with comfy leggings that provide sun protection. And you always need a good pair of comfy pants on vacation. What I love about this pair from Coolibar is that it provides sun protection as well. These can be used to work out in, or just lounge. Did you know the tops of the knees are a really common place to get skin cancer? Think of sitting outside in the sun all day at an 8 hour baseball game. Having some protective pants is key. These would be perfect for time on a boat but are just as perfect for wine time. See there I go with the wine again.

What are your travel essentials?

phone case c/o Yoshirt, wine care of XO,G, swimsuit c/o Lulu’s, garment bag c/o Cinda B, travel umbrella and leggings c/o Coolibar

*This post may contain affiliate links.  Read more about my editorial policies here. Some items have been supplied by the brands noted above (where noted “c/o”). As always, all opinions are mine and are truthful and based on my personal experience. 

How to Get Started with doTerra Essential Oils and FREE OFFER

How to get started using essential oils.Can’t stop, won’t stop. I am loving my essential oils. I’ve been using them for several months now and although I am still new, I’ve learned a ton. There are some things that I know now that would have really helped me out when I was just getting started. So this post is all about how to get started with doTerra essential oils. And it is full of really helpful things like, you are going to want to buy all of them. And OMG they smell amazing! And you will feel like a crazy hippie when you talk about them to other people. But also suggestions on where to buy some of the accessories you will need to make your own rollerball recipes and remedies (I use that word lightly as these are not medicine, they do not cure, they may help alleviate symptoms and generally boost your mood). This info mostly covers doTerra oils, because that is what I use and love.

A great first kit to get started with essential oils. People start using essential oils for different reasons. Some may want to be able to use them to help family members with some of their ailments. And others might just want their house to smell good. For me, it was a mixture of both. I started off with just one blend and then knew that I wanted to be able to make my own recipes. Very quickly I ended up with the Family Physician kit. This is a great first collection and contains a lot of the popular oils like lavender, peppermint and lemon in single oils, and Breathe, Deep Blue and On Guard in the blends. They come in 5 ml bottles so you can see what you like best and what you seem to be going through quickest. This kit is mostly for “fixing” things but of course I think they smell wonderful too. So once I had this, I realized that I wanted to round out my collection with some of the ready-made blends that smell AMAZING. And that is where I am right now. Each month I usually buy 2-3 oils. And trust me, I’m spreading my purchasing out. I’m not made of money. I look for one new blend, a single oil that I need in order to make a specific recipe and a reorder of something that I have found that I use a lot of. You should also pick up a bottle of fractionated coconut oil right off the bat as well. Since the oils don’t dilute with water, having the oil handy to dilute them is key. I didn’t think my skin was that sensitive, but then I made a blend with lots of peppermint and man, oh man, was that tingle-y/ almost felt like a burn. I’ve also had to use it to tone down my kid’s headache blend when my youngest thought it was a touch too strong.

I'm obsessed with using essential oils. This wooden box is awesome for holding the oils. I didn’t have it for the first few months and my oils got really messy from rolling around in a plastic storage tub. At first I was moving my oils from the kitchen, where most of my day is centered, to my bedroom where I wanted my night oils. This month I’ll be ordering a second wooden box that I will keep by my bed for the blends that make the most sense to keep out-of-the-way or the ones I use at bedtime. And I have been using the Modern Essentials book (there is also an app!) to help me learn more about the oils and figure out what will help my family the most. The product catalogue has also been my bff for looking up what is in specific blends and for planning my next purchase.

My favorite essential oil diffuser is this ZAQ diffuser. Although there are diffusers on the doTerra site, this is the essential oil diffuser my mom bought me for Christmas. She researched a bunch of different ones and this had great reviews. I love it. My kids think it is a UFO. So that’s fun too. I move this between the kitchen and by the couch depending on what I’m using it for and who needs the oils. I’d love to get another one and it is on my wish-list.

Some essentials for creating your own essential oil rollerball recipes.When I wanted to start making my own rollerball recipes I didn’t really have any of the stuff I needed in order to make them. The gal I signed up under to become a Wellness Advocate (which gives you wholesale pricing, allows you to sell oils and has a plan to earn points that can be used towards free product) helped me figure out where to order from. At first I was ordering through Amazon, but is actually a little bit cheaper and has great customer service. I have no affiliation with them at all but have been really happy with my orders so far.

If you want to create your own rollerball blends or potentially share oils (either with prospective new clients if you are wanting to sell them, or with other friends that use essential oils to keep costs down and also found out if you want to spend the money on a whole bottle) here are some of the items that you might want to get:


5/8″ dram bottles. These come with a little cap that lets a little drop out and don’t leak. They are perfect for sharing oils or making only a single recipe of something. And they are just really cute.

5 ml rollerball bottles. You can buy them in a pack of 10 or individually. I like this size better than the larger size roller bottle. When making a rollerball recipe, I generally double or triple the recipe. I usually don’t end up filling it the rest of the way with fractionated coconut oil so the majority of the bottle is empty. It’s just wasted space. Oils are expensive, and it takes a while to get through a rollerball recipe (I’m finding about 2 weeks at least) so I prefer to replenish the recipe rather than make a ton up front. That’s just my opinion. During cold season, however, I did fill a whole roller ball with a recipe since we were using that a bunch.

4 oz Trigger Spray Bottle. My boys and I use this every night with a pillow spray that I made with Serenity. It works perfectly.

2 oz Dropper Bottle. I haven’t used these yet but they should be arriving any day. I got these for making my own blends for the diffuser. The rollerballs are so easy to use topically but sometimes I want to diffuse a blend. While I could make them in one of the small dram bottles, these are just super convenient with the dropper. And it is a glass dropper which is important when using essential oils.

Blank Cap Stickers. You definitely want these for making your own rollerball recipes. These will help keep you organized.

And if you plan on selling the oils, you will want to check out their tear pads of how to use the oils and other business management forms.

What you need to get started with essential oils.

From Amazon:

Stainless Steel Mini Funnel. This is great for making spray blends that you’ll be putting in the spray bottle above.

Disposable Plastic Pipettes. These are a must for making your own recipes. Although you generally aren’t supposed to use plastic with essential oils because it can break down and contaminate the oils, these are disposable and you use them only in one oil and then throw it away. They come in a pack of 100 and work great. When you are making recipes you tend to have out lots of oils you are using. I prefer to use a sharpie and write the oil name or an abbrev. at the top of the pipette to ensure that I only use it in that oil. It just helps keep me organized. Some oils you will use in lots of things, like lavender, so I try to have one for that and use it for all my blends. But something like Roman Chamomile, I may only add to one blend so I throw it out right when I’m done with it. These also help ensure that all drops are fairly uniform in size. I’ve noticed that some oils come out of their bottles a lot faster than others.

NOTE: Please do not ever buy oils from Amazon. Although they come in a doTerra bottle, they might contain diluted or otherwise compromised oils.

Essential oil rollerball recipe for general happiness.One of my favorite mixes to use in a rollerball and to diffuse I call ‘Happy Town.’ It is equal parts, Serentity (calming blend) and Balance (ground blend). You don’t need to add any coconut oil to this as these blends already have it. The reason my graphic doesn’t call the oils by their doTerra names is because for Pinterest and other social media purposes, you can’t use the trademarked names from what I understand. This blend smells SO good! I roll it on my inner wrists and behind my ears. If I am relaxing on the couch I may also roll some on the bottom of my feet. Try it, you’ll love it! It will remind you of being in a spa and it helps to lessen your anxiety and make you generally happier (in my opinion). I’ll be sharing more of my favorite recipes over the next few months.

Using essential oils on the go. I also felt like I needed to have this key chain case of mini bottles to take some essential oils on the go with me. I have used a headache blend multiple times. I’ve also used my favorite lime oil in water and iced tea when out at restaurants. This was not something I needed to buy right away but somewhere along your oil journey you will probably want it as it makes taking your oils with you a breeze.

I’m so glad that doTerra offers different levels of purchasing. While I signed up as a Wellness Advocate to get the best pricing and earn free product, you totally don’t have to. I know it freaks people out that they have to sign up to something but I want to be clear that there are no minimums at all! To earn products via the Loyalty Rewards Program, there are certain point levels you have to achieve each month, but there are no minimums if you just want to be able to buy at the wholesale pricing. I watched a video recap of the recent convention and they mentioned that a really high percentage (something like 80% if I am remembering correctly) of the Wellness Advocates actually do not sell the oils but only are purchasing for themselves. You can always sign up as a Preferred Member if you want to get discounted pricing without becoming a Wellness Advocate (there is a small fee to do this). And if you just want to buy oils, without signing up for anything, you can do that to. Just go to 

If you want to sign up as a Wellness Advocate I’m offering an incentive for the month of April (will run through April, 2015 only).

Anyone who signs up for a wholesale account here with the purchase of the Family Physician kit or Home Essentials kit during the month of April, will get this FREE Cupcakes and Cutlery exclusive offer: I will buy you the Modern Essentials book (shown in my photo above) that will help you better understand how to best use the oils for your family. (a $25 value). The book is full of tons of valuable info on the oils individually but also contains an index that will help you look up things that might be bothering your family and help guide you towards the best oils for it. This book has helped me SO much! OR I’ll buy you a bottle of Fractionated Coconut Oil and my favorite blend, Citrus Bliss (a $27 value). You choose! Citrus Bliss is a blend of Wild Orange Peel, Lemon Peel, Grapefruit Peel, Mandarin Peel, Bergamot Peel, Tangerine Peel, Clementine Peel essential oils and Vanilla Bean Absolute and it smells CRAZY good.

Modern Essentials Book for Essential OilsModern Essentials Book for Essential Oils

You can sign up here to set up your account. Select “wholesale prices,” then enter your info. Be sure to include my doTerra Wellness Advocate number 1515604 (it should already be in the field) when you sign up. I highly recommend enrolling with the Family Physician kit ($150) and this will include your $35 wholesale enrollment fee. It is a great value and gives you so many of the oils you are going to use right away. The kit includes 5 ml bottles of Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, Melaleuca, Oregano (be careful with this one – it MUST be diluted if it is touching your skin!!), Frankincense, Deep Blue®, Breathe, DigestZen®, and On Guard® and now comes with Slim & Sassy! You’ll also get cap stickers that help you organize your oils, a full product guide and other great info on essential oils. There are other enrollment kit options but this is the least expensive and best suited for a beginner (in my opinion). The Home Essentials kit is also a great option. It is the same as the kit above, minus the Slim & Sassy, but has 15 ml bottles instead of the 5 ml bottles. It also comes with a diffuser ($275 which includes the enrollment fee). The book or oils will ship separately from your kit as it will come to me and not doTerra.

When you do sign up as a Wellness Advocate, and decide to become an LRP member (LRP stands for Loyalty Rewards Points and is like a frequent flier club) you earn points based on the amount of product you buy and also get free product. The promotions are different each month but usually they offer a free 15 ml bottle of a specific oil for reaching the 125 PV (product value) points and some months feature other deals, like the March promotion that they extended until April 14 which includes a free 15 ml bottle of Deep Blue oil and the Deep Blue Rub (an $80 value!) when you reach the 200 PV threshold. This is awesome. I’m in my third month of using the oils and ordering regularly on the LRP program. I realized that after my March order, near the beginning of the month, I have about 45 PV points to use towards free oil (and will cover about two 15 ml bottles) AND I got a free 15 ml Wild Orange oil! I can use those points any time but I try to stock up the oils I want to order so that I reach the minimum requirement for getting the free products the next month. But again, these requirements are ONLY for the LRP program which is totally optional (but in my opinion a really great way to get more product!). DoTerra has a great video that explains the program and if you have any questions, feel free to email me! cupcakesandcutlery at

If you have been thinking about signing up, you totally should! I’m really enjoying the oils. And when you love something, of course you want to share it! Remember to sign up before the end of the month to get the free book or coconut oil/Citrus Bliss combo!!

Read more about my journey with essential oils here.

*This post contains affiliate links.  Read more about my editorial policies here.

*I have the right to cancel this promotion at any time. There are no substitutions. Just be cool. I’m trying to do something nice for you here. :) 

Pear and Wine Cocktail Recipe

Wine cocktail with fresh herbs. You guys! Pear nectar, fresh thyme and lime juice. Sounds refreshing, right? And chardonnay? Hmmmm. When that recipe showed up in my inbox I just wasn’t sure. It had flavors that I love. It has wine which I love (although I am not the biggest chardonnay fan). But together? I had to try it.

Ice Princess Cocktail with pear and chardonnay.Fresh thyme. Could this be my herb for summer? Last year was all about the basil, but thyme! SO good!

Cocktail recipe with wine and pear nectar. The ingredients are simple. You just need pear nectar, lime juice, fresh thyme, a sweetener (mine was agave syrup) and Once Upon a Vine chardonnay.

Pear and wine cocktail for spring. Add it to a shaker.

Pear, lime and thyme cocktail with chardonnay.Add some ice. Next time I would give that thyme a quick muddle to release a bit more of the flavor.

Pear cocktail with wine, fresh thyme and lime juice. Don’t you just love the color? It’s super refreshing. And the flavor of this particular chardonnay worked really well with the pear. The Once Upon a Vine chardonnay isn’t overly oaky and has subtle honey flavor. It was super yummy on its own, but also makes for a perfect wine to use in a wine cocktail.

Refreshing summer cocktail idea.

Pear nectar and fresh thyme cocktail recipe

Wine cocktails for summerWine is the only alcohol used in this recipe so it is a really light cocktail. This would be a perfect one for a bridal shower or larger party where you are trying to keep your beverage budget in check.

Pear and wine cocktail recipe..Yeah for spring and summer cocktails! I love these lighter, more refreshing recipes.

*Wine and recipe provided by Once Upon a Vine wine. The cocktail was inspired by ABC’s Once Upon a Time and the “Frozen” storyline.

Pear and Wine Cocktail Recipe
This recipe was created by Once Upon a Vine Wines and was inspired by ABC's hit show, Once Upon a Time.
Recipe type: Cocktail
  • 4 oz. Once Upon a Vine Fairest Chardonnay
  • 2 oz. pear nectar
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • ½ oz. simple syrup or agave syrup
  • 3 springs of fresh thyme
  1. Shake ingredients in a cocktail shaker and strain in to a chilled glass.
  2. Optional, give the thyme a quick, gentle muddle prior to adding ice to the shaker and shaking.
  3. Garnish with a slice of fresh lime and a sprig of thyme.
  4. Be sure to clap the thyme sprig between your hands to release more fragrance.


Need more spring cocktail ideas:

Blood Orange Sorbet Gin Float (One of my most pinned cocktails!)

Grapefruit Hibiscus Vodka Soda Cocktail

Strawberry Mint Moscow Mule

Best Champagne Punch Recipe

Lavender Lemonade