October 2017 / Carmen Varner // Lifestyle Blogger & Social Media + Blogging Coach


Essential Oil Accessories on My Wishlist

Thursday, October 26, 2017

This post is sponsored by Aroma Outfitters, but the content & opinions expressed here are my own.

Essential oils are a consistent part of my life, but it wasn't always that way. I first got into essential oils in 2014, when a brand sent me a few bottles of their top-selling essential oils to share on my blog. I was in heaven. I enjoyed them & used them frequently, always researching different ways to use them. 

But then I moved. 

My essential oil collection sat tucked away in a box in the bathroom cabinet for nearly a year. I forgot about them. Eventually, I went through my belongings & found them again. It was like finding a treasure hidden within my own possessions. I was positively thrilled.

My tip: Keep essential oils within eyesight, not tucked away in a hidden box in a hidden drawer. When you can see your essential oils, you're more likely to use them. That's my experience anyway.  It's all about essential oil storage. Now that I use them frequently, my boyfriend makes a habit out of it as well. We love it. We even include essential oils as an activity at parties. 

Aroma Outfitters has a few essential oil accessories I'd love to get my hands on. The 3D Gala Ultrasonic Glass Diffuser comes in multiple colors. I love the whole crystal ball vibe I'm getting. Imagine having this beauty in your room.

I've been looking into car diffusers, but haven't made the leap yet. The Tree of Life Car Vent Diffuser Clip looks like a cute option that doesn't release any steam. Simply add a few drops as you go.

The Lava stone diffuser bracelet is absolutely stunning. Although they have several color options, I can't choose between blue or green. What do you think? These are so gorgeous!

I'm eyeing the 7 Piece Aromatherapy Set because it would make a convenient essential oil case for travel. It's compact, durable, & light. As a travel & lifestyle blogger, it's important that I can bring my favorite products in a convenient way without it hindering my travels.

What are your favorite essential oil accessories? What's your favorite essential oil of all time? :]

* Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Aroma Outfitters. As always, all opinions are 100% mine aka Carmen's. Learn more about my disclosure. :]

How to Include Guests in Party Decision-Making

Friday, October 20, 2017

This post is sponsored by Pernod Ricard, but the content & opinions expressed here are my own.

Cherish every gathering with friends. We often forget how quickly time goes by, how the good ol' days are often the days we're already in. Eventually, we catch ourselves saying, "remember when?" I say, remember now! These are the moments that matter!

Fred & I decided to host an impromptu party with a few friends. Because, why not? Whether it was cooking with purple potatoes or blending essential oils, our guests loved that they were a part of the decision-making throughout the entire party experience. 

Start Off with Drinks 

We picked up a bottle of Absolut Elyx at the store. It was locked behind glass doors & the cashier needed a key to unlock it. That's how I knew we were in for a treat! Elyx is a single estate, copper crafted, vodka that is the luxury expression of Absolut. The unique copper catalyzation process gives Absolut Elyx its renowned taste. I created a cocktail with a few items I had on hand: vodka, fresh fruit, & sparkling water. 

Do a House Tour

Your guests need to know how to navigate through your house during their stay. It helps to go together to create a little tour out of it. Take this time to point out the bathroom (definitely the most important part of a house tour!), any notable photos, souvenirs from trips, or intriguing bits of information. 

Get the Music Started

Hook up a speaker. Pop open your laptop. Whip out your phone. Just put on some music. Music is a party catalyst; it's known to transform the entire vibe of a gathering. Get your friends involved. Ask them to play a song or music video they're currently loving. Any genre, any language. 

Let's Get Cooking

After doing a poll to see if anyone wanted pizza, tacos, something from takeout, there were absolutely no decisions. Someone sighed & said they wanted a home cooked meal, so that's what we did. We took out whatever we had & got the guests involved in choosing what to include or what to put back in the fridge. After all, these are the moments that matter. 

"No, I had spaghetti for lunch."

"No, hate them."

"Purple potatoes?"
"What?! Ooooh yes." 

Time for Essential Oils

With all the delicious stuff happening in the kitchen, it's prime time for some essential oils. My guests loved experimenting with the diffuser. They were able to work together, mixing & matching essential oils to fit the mood.

"Who needs rejuvenation? Anyone in the mood for lavender? What about eucalyptus or lemon?"

Refresh the Drinks

Does anyone need a fresh drink? Get them involved. Do you want grapefruit sparkling water or plain sparkling water for your beverage? Much like my own core hosting values, Absolut Elyx tells a story that embodies true hospitality, integrity, warmth, playfulness, & style. Every drop of Absolut Elyx is produced using winter wheat grown on one single estate in Southern Sweden. The copper cups made the entire experience better & to be honest, really gorgeous to look at.

Browse Elyx Boutique & check out their timeless stemware. Copper makes it better! 

These are some of my simple tips on how to include guests into partying decision-making. It totally elevated the entire experience. Everyone had a say & made their own contribution throughout the evening. After all, these are the moments that matter!

* Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Pernod Ricard. As always, all opinions are 100% mine aka Carmen's. Learn more about my disclosure. :]

Beauty & Makeup: New Products I'm Excited About

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Whether it's makeup, cell phones, or cars, there's always a new product, new version, new colour, or new model to choose from. If I purchased every product I ever liked, I'd need a few warehouses to store everything, or maybe my own mall. I try my best not to have too many products at a time (or what I like to call blogger backups), where you have 12 facial cleansers, 78 unused lipsticks, a hoard of product samples,  & millions of other things lined up to try.

I have backups but it's manageable. It's something I'm trying to cut down on, especially since I'm traveling more & can work from anywhere. All that aside, you're here to learn all about my latest purchases. So, let's get to it!

* Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

OSEA kindly send me a second Ocean Cleansing Mudd after I showed it as an empty favorite on my Instagram Story. I've mentioned OSEA in a couple of gift guides:  Valentine's Day & Mother's Day. It's a brand I genuinely love! This Cleansing Mudd is invigorating, the perfect wake-me-up in the morning. Both Fred & I love using it!

There was a packaged deal with the Physicians Formula Nude Wear Nude Glow Powder Light & the other Physicans Formula facial powder. The Glow Powder has initial glitter on the very outer layer; after about two uses it was gone & now there's no more shimmer. Boo! But still some good basics to have around.

The boscia Tsubaki Oil Infused Exfoliating Powder was a random Marshall's find & I'm couldn't be happier. This is a gem. I love everything about it — packaging, scent, effectiveness. However, I was reading a few online reviews & some people said they didn't like smell. Different strokes for different folks.

I'm absolutely in love with this Crabtree & Evelyn Sweet Almond Oil Shower Gel. I love almond & marzipan, so this smells delectable. Fun fact: you can see this exact product in the background of a Friends episode. The one where Monica is in the bath...I don't remember the exact episode. Dang it!

Do you know which Friends episode I'm talking about? Which of these my latest finds looks the most promising? Tell me about your latest purchase. :]

* Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. As always, all opinions are 100% mine aka Carmen's. Learn more about my disclosure. :]

If You're Feeling Fed Up with Your Blog, Read This Post

Thursday, October 05, 2017

From brainstorming content to shooting photos to publishing & promoting on social media, there are so many moving parts in order to run a successful blog. Sometimes it feels like the whole world is spinning around you & nothing makes sense. Sometimes it feels like the trends & algorithms keep changing & you can't keep up. Sometimes it feels like everyone is improving & you haven't made any progress at all. If this sounds like you, keep reading.

Sure, I quit my job in June to blog & coach full-time, but did you know I've been blogging for six years? It's true!

Have I had failures? Um, yeah. I've been rejected hundreds of times. I've sent hundredssss of pitches to brands. A brand asked me to create content for them, then didn't accept my submission. I've spent a countless amount of hours writing, creating, content, promoting without any foreseeable progress.

Have I had successes? Hell yeah! I recently hit 1 million total page views! I've gone on press trips. I've earned thousands of dollars from my blog. I began blogging + social media coaching as a direct result of reader interest. Now I'm figuring out other ways to expand my business & reach.

But the thing is, any success I had took time, effort, consistency, & a million other moving parts. Any success came with a failure or two. If you're feeling frustrated with your blog, read this. It comes from the heart. It comes from someone who feels the same way sometimes. 

Shirt: from my Nana // Dress: H&M // Sunglasses: O by Oscar de la Renta

Do Not Compare Yourself

"Blah Blah Blogger only started two months ago & already makes $1,000 per month & has 50,000 followers on Instagram & gets thousands of daily blog views." Comparison is the thief of joy, my friend. You have no idea what's going on in their life or what they do to make it work. Maybe they're putting in 50 hours each week for their blog/social media channels. Maybe they hired a team of 8 staff members to help them take photos, edit graphics, & even write their posts. Each person is different, so different steps & actions are needed in order to receive results.

Put in the Time

It's up to you to put in the time, the effort, & the work needed to succeed, that applies to anything in life. It doesn't happen overnight. Chip away at blog tasks throughout the week, or bulk it all up in one day. Find a method that works for you. I worked full-time & I still blogged about 20 hours per week for about three, maybe four years. There was also a time where I was a full-time university student (30-40 hours) with a part-time job (15 hours) & part-time internship (15 hours), but I still blogged 15 hours per week (time-management is essential). Be patient & assess results regularly. Whether you're taking photos, editing captions, scheduling out content, responding to comments, you have to put in the hours over a period of time to build your blog & social media channels.

Experiment More

"Will this trend work?" In order to make progress, you need results that work. In order to get results that work, you need to see what doesn't work. In order to see what does & doesn't work, you need to experiment, fail, get rejected. Test different methods, vary your publishing times, publish your post on different days of the week, experiment with photo filters, then see what resonates with you or your readers. Take a look at current trends, experiment, then find a way that works best for your brand. You can understand more about what works for you, your blog, your social media channels if you try it out & then look at your results.

Evaluate Your Goals Regularly

Have you ever worked so damn hard to achieve your goal that you failed to realize it wasn't your goal anymore? It happens more often than you'd think. Take a step back. Assess, evaluate, & reevaluate your goals on a regular basis. Is this goal still relevant? Is it the same goal I had a year ago or six months ago? Has this goal changed? If so, how so? What have I learned since I first wanted to achieve this goal? How can I clarify & reach my goal in the next year? What do I need to do? Evaluate your goals regularly.

Ask For Help

Google might help, maybe a peer or coworker or friend, but maybe you need one-on-one assistance, kind of like a tutor. Some people are so used to struggling, they never even thought to ask for help. Whether you're wondering "what do I want to do with my life? or "how can I monetize my blog?" or "what content should I be producing?", it can be beneficial to chat with a coach who listens to you, believes in you, & helps you work toward your goals.

If you're feeling frustrated with your blog, please know that you're not alone. It's completely normal & it happens to me all the time, even though I do this professionally. So keep doing you & the rest will fall in place. Focus on your blog. Focus on building a community. Focus on authentic growth over a period of time. 

Did this post help you at all? Are you a new reader? Old reader? Where are you on your blogging journey? Please leave a comment. :]

Subscribe to my newsletter to get an inside look at a full-time blogger, coach, & entrepreneur's day-to-day life. Get blogging behind-the-scenes, insider tips, exclusive info, & all the cool stuff. See you there.

* indicates required
Email Format


© Carmen Varner // Lifestyle Blogger & Social Media + Blogging Coach • Theme by Maira G.