Essential Oil Box by Anji Naturals

So I’ve recently become obsessed with essential oils, if you haven’t already noticed.

And when you end up with fifteen different bottles of oil, you need a good way to keep it organized. I’ve tried a few different options, but this box by Anji Naturals is the one I love.



The box is massive. It comes with little stickers for the caps, little pastic drippers, and an essential oils DVD.




There are even 6 slanted holders for roller bottles. Only thing I wish it had was more sections for roller bottles! It only has 6!




Special thanks to Anji Naturals for sending me this awesome box for review!!! I love it and recommend it to anyone with enough oils to fill it up!

Quotes to live by - on Struggle

Quotes to Live By is a blog series of the most important things anyone has ever said to me, sharing them, and then explaining why they're so special and important. Hopefully you can find some truth in them the way I have.

One of my mentors and ballet teachers, Eileen Juric, is full of great sayings and silly words. She likes to make up funny phrases to help the kids learn technique. But along with the silliness of "stinky mushy puppy poopoo arms" and "Michael Phelps Phlaps" she also has some real gems.

Very much along the same lines as the quote by my Father that I featured yesterday, this line is one she throws out when she introduces a hard combination. It's basically saying "Look this is going to be hard, and you're going to struggle with it. And that's okay." 

In fact it's a good thing. We have to struggle sometimes. If we don't struggle, we aren't going anywhere. We need to look forward to the struggle as a new challenge to conquer. It's going to be hard, and it's okay that we aren't going to have it perfect the first (dozen) times we try. 

In fact one thing that Eileen does in her classes that I've never seen any other teacher do is congratulate the students on struggling. It's not rare to hear "Who struggled with that?" or "Wow, you really struggled with that," or  "That was a good struggle, I'm proud of you." etc. This teaches kids that struggling is okay, and is a good thing. They become less afraid of working hard, and less afraid of failure, because they don't see struggle as failure anymore, they see it as a job well done. 

The only failure is not struggling

You can follow the rest of the blog series here!

Quotes to live by - on Challenges

Quotes to Live By is a blog series of the most important things anyone has ever said to me, sharing them, and then explaining why they're so special and important. Hopefully you can find some truth in them the way I have.

My dad is filled with puns and jokes and interesting anecdotes. I've already done a post on one of my other favorite quote by him.

He's an artist, and he taught art classes at our art-supply store for a long time. And the kids in class would complain about the project saying, "This is hard! I can't do this!"

And his response? 100% of the time?

You can do hard things.

It seems fairly obvious. But after hearing it for years and years and years, guess what comes to mind as soon as you think to yourself, "this is too hard"?

It's like a conditioned response at this point, guys. No matter what comes up, if something's hard, yeah okay, it's hard. Welcome to the life and ies. Life is hard. That doesn't mean you can't do it, it just means you're gonna have to put some effort forward.

And when you can do hard things, you can do anything.

You can follow the blog series here!

Quotes to live by - On Focus and Self Control

Quotes to Live By is a blog series I'm doing taking some of the most important things anyone has ever said to me, sharing them, and then explaining why they're so special and important. Hopefully you can find some truth in them the way I have.

When I was a kid, I was what my mother called a "doddler." I would sit at my desk or at the table or in my room, stare at the wall, or look out the window, and go on exciting magical adventures in my head. I've always been able to step outside my body and into another life, another world, and feel it like it's mine. That's what makes me a writer.

But it frustrated my mom.

She thought I just didn't want to do my schoolwork, or that I was lazy, or that I was unfocused. I was very focused; on my adventure! I just couldn't focus on what she wanted me to focus on. I couldn't turn it off.

original poem: http://poetrynook.com/poem/one-thing-time

She made me memorize this poem in hopes that it would remind me to keep work and play separate. It did. I still doddled a lot and wasn't a very good student (like, ever. I never grew out of it). The poem didn't really change me until I got older, in college and beyond. It's still a struggle to stay in my work and out of my head, but I have the self control to be able to do what I need to do.

You can follow the rest of the series by clicking here

Quotes to Live By - on Memory

Quotes to Live By is a blog series I'm doing taking some of the most important things anyone has ever said to me, sharing them, and then explaining why they're so special and important. Hopefully you can find some truth in them the way I have.

When I was 14, I had the unique opportunity to study ballet twice a month with Galina Panova, former Prima Ballerina at the Kirov ballet company, and currently the department head of the Ballet program at East Carolina University. She had to be in her 60's, dancing en pointe with us like she was just as young as we were. Just her dancing was an inspiration.

She coached me on one of my favorite pieces, Fokine's Dying Swan. Her version of coaching involves walking around me in circles and yelling at me in Russian, sounding very angry, and then after the dance saying "Good, good, very nice." It was very confusing.

But at one point, during all the russian screaming, she popped out this piece of wisdom as well. 

Do it right or don't do it at all? Well, okay then.

It seemed a little harsh at the time, but in hindsight, it's brilliant.

Panova was operating under the understanding of muscle memory. When you do anything at all, your body stores the movement as muscle memory. After a few times of doing it exactly the same way, it becomes locked-in and will be done that way every time. But what if you do it wrong?

Every time you do it wrong, you need to do it right 4 times to make up for it, to replace and override the muscle memory.

That's why dancers train for so many years.

So when you are going to do something, physical or otherwise, do it correctly the first time, so you don't have to retrain and override those muscular memories. 

This can, of course, be applied to much more than ballet. Do it right from the beginning so you don't have to go back and correct it. If you're going to do something halfway, you might as well just... not

Better Eating Challenge, week 2!

I survived the first week! I didn't eat out, and I didn't eat sugar with every meal, and I worked out five days! You can see my meals and workouts by following the #bettereatingchallenge tag on instagram and Facebook.

This week, I'm not going to be able to do a perfect job. I'm only in town today and tomorrow, then I'm out to my hometown of New Bern NC to help my sister get ready for her wedding on Saturday! I'm going to work out today and tomorrow, and I might be able to get into the PF down in New Bern, if I have an extra $5 hanging around.

But it's a better eating challenge, not a perfect eating challenge.

My meals this week:

Graze snacks
Peanut Butter or Avocado Toast

Baked Potato covered in amazing goodness
Cheese, Chicken, and black bean quesadilla

Pasta with sauce (red or white) and chicken, steamed broccoli
Spinach, mandarin oranges, chicken, and blueberry salad with vinaigrette (if you haven't tried this, TRY IT IMMEDIATELY).

I'm telling you, guys... I already started feeling less crappy, even after two days. More energy, less sluggishness. Hoping I can keep the sugar to a minimum with the wedding this upcoming weekend!

Quotes to Live By - on Perspective

Quotes to Live By is a blog series I'm doing taking some of the most important things anyone has ever said to me, sharing them, and then explaining why they're so special and important. Hopefully you can find some truth in them the way I have.

My father is an amazing guy. I absolutely adore and respect him. He is a wonderful leader, he's smart, brave, full of wisdom beyond his years (Yes I know that sounds silly but really he's always been wise).

He has several catch phrases. We hear this one around our house all the time.

"Dad can you open this pickle jar for me?"
*dad opens on the first try and says, "You just have to be smarter than the jar."

"Dad I can't get the lawn mower started."
"You just have to be smarter than the lawn mower."

"This phone is so messed up!"
"You just have to be smarter than the smart phone."

You get the idea. 

I used to roll my eyes and huff and puff (we were all teen-agers at one point, right?) but as I got older, I found myself stuck in tricky situations without my dad there to help me, and that phrase would pop back into my head. I'd ponder and think on something, trying to get it worked out, and when I was about to give up, there it would be, in his voice: you just have to be smarter than the...

So what? Sometimes we can't just be smarter, Haley. Thanks for nothing.

You don't have to, though. You don't have to be smarter. You just need to be smarter than the problem. Look at it a different way. Look at the world through your problem's eyes. 

Think about a step ladder. You are a rung up from the ground. The problem is at least a rung above that. You don't need to climb the ladder to the top, you just need to get one rung above the problem.

It's about baby steps. Looking at things from the other side. Perspective.

Keep your perspective.

You can follow the other posts in this series by clicking here!

Finding Inspiration When There Doesn't Seem To Be Any

"Oh God I need to write a blog post."
"I haven't blogged in (length of time)."
"Help what do I write about?"
*google searches "blog post prompts"*

I've done that. Many times. In fact The Life and Lies died at one point, (well okay, several points) and it's only recently that I've been able to get back in gear. Eventually I'd like to do a blog series about how I got it alive again, but that's for another day and another time.

I've found that blogging prompts and writing prompts don't help me. My articles need to come from internal inspiration. That's what makes me a writer: I take what I know and create something with my knowledge and experience.

So here are the things I do when I don't know what to blog/write/journal about.

1. Get on Pinterest. Look at the stuff I've pinned before, or just browse stuff on my home page. Don't search anything specific, just browse. Find stuff you like and look at it and let thoughts come naturally. When I browse Pinterest, I find something to write about within 20 minutes.

2. Go through your old photos or Facebook memories. Write about one of those photos and--this is the important part--why it's special, and how you changed as a person because of the experience.

3. Make a to-do list. Not a blog to-do list, but an actual "things I have to do today." Don't let blogging be a part of that list. If you're like me, your list is a gazillion miles long. And one of those things might be "mix up some more all natural bathroom cleaner" or "back up computer on external hard drive" or "re-organize the laundry room." Any one of those things could be a blog tutorial. Just take photos while you do it, and write it up later!

4. On that note, make any kind of list. Lists are great ways to start thinking of things in categories. Most of my blog posts either are lists, or were inspired from lists. 11 Things you need in your bathroom ASAP, or 5 ways to survive a hurricane, or 10 things you can do on a Saturday when it's raining. etc.

from http://compasssocialstrategies.com/blog/

5. Get on Canva (A great online image creator for blog and social media graphics). No seriously, I found at least 8 new blog post ideas just looking at their templates and pre-made designs. You can also get on your favorite stock photo website (here's a huge list of the good ones) and just find images you like. Visual images create mental stimulation! If you're a creative, you will find inspiration everywhere.

6. Call your mom. Yeah I know, weird. But chances are she'll say something you'll be able to blog about. Most moms do. If she doesn't say something within five minutes, straight-up tell her "Mom I need a blog post! Help!" Moms are great at helping, especially when you ask. And you might not end up writing exactly what she says, but it might be enough of a kickstart to get you thinking on the right path.

from http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/05/12/stress.mother.voice.call/

7. When all else fails, Quit for the day.

Say what?

Get on Netflix and eat your favorite comfort food. Go on a walk. Go to the gym. Have a drink. Read a book. Read someone else's blogStop trying to force it. A forced piece of writing is the worst piece of writing... sometimes you just need to open up your hands and something will fall in. ;)

from https://formingtogether.wordpress.com/2015/10/01/with-open-hands/

How do you find inspiration when you are lost?

Quotes to Live By - on Depression, Joy, and Focus

We all have that thing we say, or that our friends say to us, or things that hit us like a rock and never leave us. I've started collecting them and I'm going to share them with you. One quote at a time, one story at a time, a little tidbit for you to hold onto.

I've struggled with depression since I was about nine years old. That's pretty young to start struggling with crap like that. Most of the time I was okay, but occasionally I would get so down and upset, and I'd get stuck that way. Unable to think clearly, unable to find happiness or joy in anything. And I was a pretty happy kid. 

My mom said something once that jolted me out of my funk. To this day, if I can force myself to do this, it will pull me right out of blackness and back into light.

Go find something to do... Doing is a way to get your body and mind synchronized and focused on something outside of your thoughts.

...for someone else... when you can focus on loving and serving and blessing others, you find joy... true joy.

...and do it quietly. Don't brag about it. Don't post about it on Facebook. Just do it, for that person to be blessed. Do it anonymously. Do it for their benefit, not for your reputation. 

Why does this work?

Thing is, when I'm depressed, it's because I'm looking in. I'm focused on myself, and I'm focused on how I feel, and what's happening in my life, and what's wrong with me, etc. 

One of the reasons Jesus told us to love our neighbors is because we were made in His image, and we were created to be social creatures. We were made to serve and help each other.

So when I get down, if I can go find someone who is actually in need, if I can find something to do to help someone who really cannot help themselves, if I can force myself to look out of myself and into someone else, and up towards the Glory of the Most High, my thoughts are re-directed towards what's really important.

Everything falls into place.

So if you're having a down-day, a black-hole day, if you can't find the strength to even get out of bed... go find something to do for someone else, and do it quietly. 

If you missed the first post in the series, you can see it here. You can follow the series tag here.

Quotes to Live By - A blog series

We all have that thing we say, or that our friends say to us, or things that hit us like a rock and never leave us. I've started collecting them and I'm going to share them with you. One quote at a time, one story at a time, here's a little tidbit for you to hold onto.

We'll start with the most important one.

I'm engaged to an amazing guy. He's cool, laid back, funny, passionate, and a really good kisser. He loves Jesus and he points me to him when I am down or depressed. He reminds me of what's really important.
One of the first things I noticed about him was he tended to say "it's all good" a lot. It sort of became a catchphrase around our families. We would say it when something happened that wasn't ideal, or a mistake, or an accident, or when something annoying happened. 

It wasn't until about a year ago we were really talking about some heavy stuff when he mentioned it's not just about letting stuff go, not worrying about stuff, or not being bothered.

It's about trust.

When we were created by God, he said it was good. And even though there is sin in the world and we are no longer perfect, we are still made in His image. And everything that happens in our lives is meant to happen, and it's all part of a bigger plan. So no matter what happens, it's okay. It's all going to work out. It's all good. It really is all good.

And one of the things I've found about myself is that I'm a worrier.

Now let me define worrying.

Ew, Haley. Why all the nasty pictures?

Because this is what worrying looks like.

Worry isn't just thinking about bad things, or stressing about stuff. It's going over it in your head, and going over it, and over it, and over it... and chewing on it. Really tearing it apart in your heart.

Since adopting "It's All Good" as a quote to live by, I haven't been able to completely let go of worry, but I am able to set it down and step away from it, at least for a time. When I say it out loud, or in my head, it's my way of saying "Okay, God, This is yours, and you made all things good and new, including me, so take this and let me see the goodness in it."

Find the goodness.

Do you have a quote that you find yourself saying all the time?

Check back tomorrow for part 2!

Annmarie Essential Oils sample review

Somewhere at some point, someone posted a link to this website offering free essential oil bottles from Annmarie.

I'm always up for free bottles of essential oil. So I went for it. You only pay shipping (which was like, seven bucks. In hindsight, not worth it. It came in a bubble bag and there's no way it cost seven dollars to ship it to me).

The set came in with the two bottles in a little burlap bag, four cards (which were wrinkled due to bad packaging) and a statement of my purchase.

As far as the bottles of oil, the photos on the site were deceptive. I thought they'd be full size bottles, or at least small bottles, but they were sample bottles. Here's a photo for comparison.

baby bottles

That's okay. It was a free sample after all. And I checked again using a different email, it never specifically says on the site how big the bottles are. 

As far as the oils themselves, I loooove the Love  blend. It smells like roses (and something else, maybe Lilacs, or Frankincense? Jasmine?) It was sweet and earthy at the same time.

The Passion was more fruity and flowery. I like them both but I prefer the Love. 

I will probably order full size bottles of the Love blend, if I ever manage to get an extra $50 hanging around, although the whole overall experience has left a disappointing taste in my mouth. Again, when you think you're getting something and you get something else, it doesn't feel good. And when you pay for it and it's a quarter of the size you thought it would be, it's frustrating. I recommend Annmarie drop the shipping cost or waive it all together. You're trying to get customers! Give them a treat, win them over.

Annmarie also has makeup samples, and skin care samples

Radha Beauty's Peppermint Essential Oil

Guys, if you haven't already got yourself a nice big bottle of Radha Beauty Peppermint oil, I suggest you get on that immediately. Here is my first experience with the oil. I love it so much, I'm doing a second review of it!

I love this stuff! As soon as I got it I put it on my warmer, and I could feel the stress seeping out of me instantly. In fact, I could smell it before I lit the candle, so it was basically diffusing even without the heat under it!

I also put a bit on my shoulders (they get really locked up) and put a few drops on my dryer sheets before drying my laundry. Made my whole load of laundry smell good, and helped my shoulder release.

This bottle is huge, and is enough to last for a really long time. It's high quality and pure. I'm so excited about all the different things I can do with this!! Thank you to Radha Beauty for giving me a discount in on this product!

Just a note... this stuff is really strong. A friend of mine put too much on her face near her eyes and it made her eyes water for 30 minutes. Cleared up her congestion though.

Peppermint is so amazing. If you don't already have peppermint as part of your daily ritual, I encourage you to begin immediately. This bottle of oil is huge, and it's so affordable!

Here's a great little infographic I made you just in case you don't know how great peppermint is.

Radha Beauty's peppermint oil is available here, or in The Life and Lies Quickshop.

What to do, what to do...

Oh my goodness guys.

There are so many things I need to do with this blog to get it acceptable. I figured I'd make a list so you could see what I'm going for over the next few months.
  1. Create a header and brand logo/graphics
  2. Update all my tags and labels
  3. Fix the older posts whose photos all got deleted and now they look horrible
  4. Update my Author Watch
  5. Update my Reviews (haven't done that since, like, 2015?)
  6. Update my Freebies page
  7. Update my Advertise page
  8. Take my reviews from Amazon that I wrote and add pictures/edit/fill out, and post them here (I have them all saved, but I just have to sit down and do it)
  9. Interview some more authors. I love doing interviews!
  10. Fix my SEO. This blog used to be at haleymathiot.blogspot.com, and whenever you search The Life and Lies in Google, it still takes you to that website!

I'm also directing a wedding, planning my own wedding, and attempting to work on my myriad of novels.

When am I gonna find time to do all this crap?

Stalking Jack the Ripper

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco, Narrated by Nicola Barber
Genre: Gothic thriller, YA, Slightly Steampunk
ISBN: 9780316273497
Pub date: September 20th 2016 by Hachette Audio (also published by Jimmy Patterson, a brand new imprint of Hachette)
Rating: 4

Amazon | Audible | Audiobooks.com | Goodreads

I knew right away that I would probably like this book; it's my favorite kind of genre and it has a girl holding a knife on the front. How could possibly NOT be good?

It was very impressive.

Stalking Jack the Ripper stars a brilliant kick-ass heroine who is trying to push her way out of the social norms and be free to follow her heart: to study medical science. And she does so by apprenticing her uncle and dissecting corpses and helping with autopsies. She accidentally gets involved in the "Leather Apron" case, aka Jack the Ripper. She ends up falling for a handsome and extremely annoying boy who is much more than he appears.

The story is filled with complex and interesting characters, all fairly well developed. The writing was descriptive without being overly flowery. As far as the plot, I had it figured out about halfway through so the ending didn't really come as a surprise, but I enjoyed it all the same.

If you're a fan of Gail Carriger, Julia Knight, Dawn Kurtagich, or Laini Taylor, you'll be adding Maniscalco to your Author Watch list.

About the Book

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

Stalking Jack the Ripper is the first in a new 3-book series published by a new imprint of Hachette Book Group, Jimmy Patterson.

About the Author

Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats. Stalking Jack the Ripper is her debut novel. It incorporates her love of forensic science and unsolved history, and is the first in a new series of gothic thrillers.

It will be available everywhere September 20, 2016.

Happy Tuesday; have some free books

Time for some free books! This week in honor of my Better Eating Challenge I'm sharing a collection of FREE COOKBOOKS AND RECIPES off Amazon!

If you don't have a kindle, you can download a kindle cloud program to read them off your computer. You can also get the kindle app on your Android device.

I am super impressed with this little book! It only has a few actual recipes, but it has a ton of valuable information!

Are you tired of slaving away in the kitchen FOR HOURS every time you fix a meal? Cooking for your family, or even for just yourself, can be a hassle....but it can also be very EASY! These delicious recipes are easy to follow, simply prepared, and just right for someone who wants to get in and out of the kitchen quickly!

Clean eating improves your health, it boosts your immune system, it helps you think better, it makes your skin look better, it makes your hair shine, and your tummy feel much better as well. And all with just a few simple lifestyle changes! Not in a month or two, but now! Now is the time for that change, now is the time to feel better;do this for yourself and be grateful for it!
Clean eating is a challenge, given the amount of processed foods you can find on the market. It sounds harder than it actually is, and once you get started and taste real, clean food and get to testify to its benefits later on, there’s nothing stopping you.
Every single food we buy at the supermarket has at least one additive to preserve it better, to make it look better, or to taste better. But luckily in the last few years, you can see that many people have stopped eating whatever, whenever and began to become more interested in where their food comes from, how it is being produced, what it contains, and what health benefits it has. This has led to a movement that is trending more and more called clean eating.

Are you tired of complicated recipes with hard-to-find ingredients? Are you looking for delicious and easy recipes with only a few simple ingredients? 60+ EASY RECIPES IN 5 INGREDIENTS OR LESS!

This SIMPLE and DELICIOUS cookbook has step-by-step recipes that are easy to follow and simply prepared. All of the recipes only require 5 ingredients or less! No more looking for hard-to-find ingredients that you'll only use once.

The purpose of “DIY Protein Bars at Home: 30 Easy Homemade Recipes” is to provide you with recipes that don't break the bank, and ingredients that are easy to find, and are commonly used.
We find that most recipe books have recipes with a number of ingredients that you rarely use. This book will guide you through exactly what you need, and how to prepare.
We have a section of simple directions and customizable protein bars, to suit all consumers.
These protein bars are great. Depending on your experience, the recipes can take only 10 to 15 minutes to prepare.

Reading this book you will find that going gluten-free is not as difficult as you might have once thought. Not only are there plenty of gluten-free food options available, but there are also plenty of gluten-free ingredients to choose from that make it easy for you to continue to enjoy your favorite treats.

You might not be able to pick up a box of cookies at your local bakery, but you can make some delicious gluten-free Christmas treats right in your own home.

In this book you will find a collection of gluten-free recipes for mouthwatering sweets including
  • Chocolate Brownie
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Blueberry Muffins
  • Chocolate Marshmallow Blondies
  • Lemon Squares
And many more... You definitely won’t be disappointed.

Can you ever have too many healthy, fun and flavorful snack ideas? Snackable is a delicious compilation of original recipes that appeal to adults and kids alike. Sample recipes include: Everyone Loves Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pops, Trail Mix Truffles, Cuppa-ccino Muffin for One, Spicy Vegetable Ranch Salad, Thai Quinoa Bites, Crispy Creamy Cheesy Polenta Fries, Chips & Queso, Bananas Foster Shake, and Nourishing Spiced Mylk. 

As an added bonus, every recipe in Snackable is suitable for dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, peanut-free and vegan diets, and all but two of the recipes address tree nut-free needs, too.


Whether you want to learn great recipes for you or your whole family this book will help!!!

Here Is A Preview Of What You'll Learn...

  • Fruit Pies Recipes
  • Chocolate Pies
  • Pies for Any Occasion
  • Regional Pies
  • Much, Much, More!
Hurry! For a limited time you can download “Pie Recipes - 50 Delicious Pie Recipes For You And The Whole Family" for a special discounted price. 

Enjoy! And if you find any free e-books on Amazon (or other sites) feel free to share in the comments!


Copyright 2016 Haley Mathiot. All reviews are 100% honest and unbiased. One or more items featured in the blog post may have been free or discounted. Receiving free or discounted product does not affect review. For more please see my disclaimer page.