Travel Vlogs: Save the Frogs Costa Rica EcoTour 2017

In July I went on the Save the Frogs Costa Rica EcoTour after my time in Chile, and it was one of the best experiences that I’ve ever had! This entire summer has been filled with wonderful experiences, and I wanted to be able to share moments from them with you.

I took footage on a number of our excursions, and will be editing them and uploading vlogs every Saturday about my travels and other aspects of my life. I have had so much fun exploring the creative opportunities of video through my YouTube channel, and it has added so much to my blogging journey!

Below is the first vlog that I edited, with footage from our first full day in Tortuguero. It was one of those days that I know I will remember for the rest of my life. Not included in the vlog footage is watching a mother sea turtle lay her eggs and return to the tides under red light (the only light that does not significantly harm the turtles). This was one of the moments in which I wanted to be completely present with the wonders of the world, and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to be fully emerged in something that few people get to experience. If you are interested in learning more about the dangers that sea turtles are facing in our world today, you can visit the Sea Turtle Conservancy website. It is a wonderful organization protecting animals that have graced the earth with their beautiful presence.

The second vlog is from our boat tour through the jungle, looking at the wide variety of species that live in close proximity to one another and that inhabit the small section of jungle that we went through (there were many more species than I thought possible!). This was another experience in which I felt as though it couldn’t be real–exploring the jungle via boat and being surrounded by natural beauty in all forms.

I hope you enjoy these vlogs as much as I enjoyed filming them! I am so excited to share these moments with you, and hope that you can experience some of the same magic. If you are interested in going on an EcoTour with Save the Frogs (which I highly recommend!), you can learn more about the trip options here!

If you want to learn more about what I took with me and how I stayed healthy while traveling this summer, you can read all of my posts here! 🙂

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

 

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Home.

Home. A place of refuge and warmth. Familiar and welcoming. Withstanding the test of time.

 

Home. A place of community, laughter, and memories that last a lifetime.

 

 

 

Home. A place of peace and calm among unfamiliar surroundings.

 

Home. A place that resonates with your soul, and brings back memories of a past long gone.

Home. A place with furry tails and frosted faces that remind you of the unconditional love you have been given for eight years.

 

Home. A place of true connection, despite its physical location.

 

Home. A place of adventure with others who share life visions.

Home. A place you will always have in your heart, no matter where you are.

Home.

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

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New Adventures and Travel Skincare Routine

Time has a way of flying by lately, and it is already time for me to say goodbye to this beautiful country. In many ways I feel as though I just got here, and in others I feel as though I have been here for much longer. Lately the years have felt like that, both flying by and standing still. Each day is full of moments and memories, and before I know it a new day, week, month, and year has begun.

I started this adventure on the first day of June, and now it is almost the middle of July. I have spent time in different communities, being welcomed and feeling as though I was truly part of every place that I went. I learned new words, and facts about places, and I learned about myself.

As I set off on new adventures, I know that the memories that I have made here will last a lifetime. As my first solo trip, there was a lot that I had to learn. But I am excited to continue the adventure of life, and I know that I will be returning here in the future.

So where am I off to? Costa Rica! I am super excited to have the opportunity to join the EcoTour being held by Save the Frogs! I hope to share with you what I learn about the importance of amphibian and environmental conservation, and to show you the beautiful landscapes that make up Costa Rica!

But with going on new adventures comes travel, and with travel comes long days, potential stress, and changes in climate. My skin is quite sensitive to these changes, so the night before a long travel day (in my case, 26 hours) I like to give it a little more attention than usual. As I was going through this routine, I thought it would be something you might be interested in if you will be traveling soon! (This is not sponsored in any way).

Those of you who know me quite well will know that a few of the things that I like to invest in are good food and skincare products. I like to take care of my body, both inside and out. Eating a nourishing plant-based diet helps my skin to shine, but sometimes it needs a bit more help.

I start by washing my face with the Stone Crop Gel Wash by Éminence Organic Skincare, and gently pat dry. I then take a few taps of the Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant and add a spritz (I love that word!) of water. This turns the powder into a liquid exfoliant, which is perfect for getting rid of any skin woes! I rinse and pat dry once again, with my skin feeling super clean!

I then take two drops of the Clear Skin Willow Bark Booster-Serum (seriously love this stuff, plus it has Willow in it 🙂 ) and smooth it over my face. I wait about one minute to let it absorb into the skin, before continuing on to the next step.

I then take a pea-sized drop of the Stone Crop Whip Moisturizer (a little goes a long way!) and gently dab it into my face and smooth out any excess. For my eyes, I use the Tarte Maracuja-C Eye Treatment and smooth it gently over my eyelid and under my eye to moisturize and protect.

The final step involves smoothing a small amount of the Clear Skin Probiotic Masque over any problem areas, like acne spots or redness. This has a cooling feeling to it, and is perfect for getting rid of skin problems before they worsen!

And that’s it! In the morning I will use just the regular gel wash and moisturizer as well as a mineral tinted sunscreen (another one of my must-haves) and be good to go! What is your travel skincare routine? Let me know in the comments!

If you want to see where I have been for the past few days, check out the video I filmed about Iquique below! And make sure to follow my Instagram and Twitter to stay up-to-date on my journey! 🙂

© 2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

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6 Minimalist (and green!) Travel Tech Essentials

This post has not been sponsored. There are affiliate links within this post, which means that I get a percentage of a purchase you make when you click on them. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Wise Willow possible! (Also, as always, everything I promote I personally love! 🙂 )

I have been traveling abroad for one month and two days now, and I have learned a lot about what I use on a daily basis. As a minimalist traveler, I had to choose carefully what I packed with me on this trip. After one full month I have realized that I keep reaching for the same six items over and over–so I wanted to share them with you!

1. RFID Blocking Passport Holder

I knew that I was going to be traveling through airports and streets, and was aware of having my passport physically taken or lost. However, I was not aware of digital data that can be taken from passports as you travel. I decided to get the Travelambo RFID Blocking Passport Holder, and store my passport with all of my important IDs in it. Not only does this make it easier for me to keep track of my passport (I got it in purple, my favorite color and one that is easy to see in my bag), but it gives me peace of mind during my extended travel. It also makes it easier to go through security!

2. PowerAdd Portable Charger

I have definitely been in one of those travel situations where my phone is running low on battery and there are no charging stations available. This adds extra stress, especially if you are traveling somewhere you have never been before. I bought the PowerAdd Slim Portable Charger to use for my phone, and I can tell you that I have reached for it quite a few times after long travel days. Each full charge will give me an extra 8 hours of full phone use, which has saved me from many a stressful situation. On my second weekend we had a massive storm that cut the power where I was staying for a full day. I had charged up my portable battery in preparation, and am so glad that I did! I was able to let everyone know that I was safe, and to keep updated on conditions and use my phone flashlight.

3. Eagle Creek Undercover Money Belt

Many of you know that I own what I call my “keychain of life” aka a lanyard that has the most anyone has probably tried to put on a lanyard… and I knew that this would not be the ideal wallet to use while abroad. It had many items I did not need (cards for local stores, etc.), and was bulky to carry around. I knew that I would be carrying three bags on my own, and have only one free hand. I decided to use this Eagle Creek Money Belt to store my cash and credit/debit cards under my clothes. This made it discreet, but also allowed me to easily access money without being worried about holding on to lots of items. It is also very comfortable for walking long distances or wearing for long periods of time (I have definitely tested this out), and sometimes I forget that I’m wearing it!

4. Reusable Water Bottle

I decided to leave my Nalgene water bottle at home for my travels, because one liter is simply too big to carry around consistently and with ease. However, sustainability and health are two of my primary concerns when it comes to minimalist travel so a reusable water bottle was a must. I opted for one that was easy to distinguish, and that holds half a liter of water. It is easy to clean, and has saved me lots of money at airports when I can pass on buying $6 disposable plastic water bottles. As someone who recognizes the importance of hydration as well, it has ensured that I stay healthy and minimize dehydration risks from long travel days and changing climates.

5. Mable Bamboo Toothbrush

Sustainability is something that I am very passionate about, and bamboo products are one of the best ways to manage your environmental impact while traveling. MABLE bamboo toothbrushes are self-standing and gentle on the gums, which makes them perfect for my sensitive teeth. They also have removable bristles so that you can reuse the handle for sustainable projects! (I think I am going to use mine as a label for an herb garden). For $10 they are more than worth the investment! You can read more about their initiative and goals here!

6. Dollar Shave Club Razor

Last–but not least–is a Dollar Shave Club razor. I joined back in May when I realized that I was paying way too much for a razor. As someone with dark hair, I shave quite often. I was intrigued by the idea of a razor subscription service, and decided to give it a go! Now I am someone who uses blades for longer than they probably should, but the Dollar Shave Club lets you change how often you receive replacements. As someone who cares about the environment but who knew that a safety razor would be hard to take traveling, this made perfect sense. The handle is durable and well-made, with detachable razor blade cartridges. It cost a grand total of $5 for me to get a razor and five blades, and I still have four of them left. I used to pay $10 for a good disposable razor that would last me a few months, but would have to throw the entire thing away and repurchase). Not only did I spend a lot of money, but I created a lot of trash. Now I have reduced my costs and my environmental impact! If you are interested in joining, click here!

These are the six items that I find myself using almost every day, and ones that I know I will continue to use as I travel through Costa Rica and Serbia for the rest of the year. What are your minimalist travel tech essentials?

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

 

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6 Tips for Staying Fit and Healthy Abroad

This post has not been sponsored. There are affiliate links within this post, which means that I get a percentage of a purchase you make when you click on them. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Wise Willow possible! (Also, as always, everything I promote I personally love! 🙂 )

When it comes to traveling abroad, there are many things to consider. Location, clothing, emergency planning, work, and sightseeing. But maintaining a healthy lifestyle is something that most people forget to consider prior to going abroad.

As you all know, I observe a vegan lifestyle. I also love to travel. My declaration of this combo is often met by many with “good luck” and “you will probably end up reverting back to a ‘regular’ diet,” but I am here to tell you that maintaining your current lifestyle abroad is both possible and important.

Seeing as I am currently abroad, I wanted to give you a list of things to consider in order to stay healthy while abroad.

Know your Limits

Regardless of what lifestyle you observe, nobody knows your health better than you do. You know how much you can change without upsetting your body’s natural rhythm, and that should be your first consideration.

For me, I know that I must avoid consuming meat and dairy products to avoid major imbalances. But, I can generally change the time of day that I eat without experiencing problems (I attribute that to my very varied college schedule! 😛 ).

Research and Prepare

Many people forget to think about what resources their destination will have prior to arriving. As a vegan, this was something that I wanted to research ahead of time. Arriving hungry and without viable options is definitely something that you want to avoid! I learned that Chile’s agriculture laws prevent anyone from bringing in food items to the country, and am so glad I knew this ahead of time.

I was able to eat at the airport before my long flight, and make sure I wasn’t brining any items that could have caused me problems upon my arrival with customs.

I had also informed as many people as possible about my dietary restrictions and health preferences ahead of time. Something that I considered after I arrived (and was adjusting to the food) is remembering to eat foods as similar to my diet back in college as possible. I didn’t do this for the first week or so (lots and lots of rice and bread, which I have to admit I love). The result was that I felt very drowsy and unbalanced all week long, and I am still trying to regain the balance that I had during the semester. It takes a lot of self control to reach for more fruit after a long day (I really want to treat myself to bread sometimes!) but if I am feeling a bit unbalanced already I know that eating these other foods will be better in the long run.

Be prepared to politely decline offered food

As a vegan (and someone that has a sensitivity to dairy), declining offered food is something I do many times per day. This can be quite difficult at times, as you don’t want to seem ungracious. However, it’s important to maintain your diet in all situations (especially if you have it for sensitivity reasons).

In as many circumstances as possible, I quickly explain the reason for my declaration and assure them not to worry about it at all (as I have often eaten beforehand). I love to offer to buy ingredients and cook meals, as cooking is one of my hobbies and it makes me feel as though I am contributing instead of creating special circumstances for meals. 🙂

Think about how to realistically commit to an exercise regimen

This is one of the most difficult aspects, especially if you are traveling to multiple places or never in one consistent location. For me, I am staying for at least one month in most places and have the opportunity to create a schedule for exercise. However, I have learned that walking is one of the best modes of exercise that you can engage in everywhere. I walk as many places as possible, loving the combination of the fresh air and the exercise. 🙂 If you have access to internet, Blogilates and Yoga with Adriene are amazing resources for staying fit in a small space! Definitely check them out!

As I mentioned in my most recent travel post, it’s important to also be open to spontaneous opportunities! For example, I went to a zumba lesson on my first full day here and had a blast! I met so many new people and it was an amazing workout!

Be prepared with snacks throughout the day

Regardless of your dietary preferences, being prepared with snacks throughout the day is super important for keeping balance and for fighting off low blood sugar moments! As a vegan, this can be a challenge. However, GoMacro bars are both delicious and portable! They have a lot of flavors (cashew caramel is one of my favorites, and if you know me you know I’m a bit obsessed with cashews…). These bars are available on many different sites, including Amazon and ThriveMarket! (If you want to get a subscription to Thrive, it’s very easy and much like an online version of Costco with wellness items!).

Fresh fruits and veggies are also great options, and the possibilities are endless! Having snacks available is a great way to be able to eat while at gatherings or during work breaks.

Bring remedies and other natural products

In the past two weeks that I have been abroad, I have learned that it is a good idea to have remedies and medicines with you in order to recover as quickly as possible from inevitable ‘under the weather’ days. I have had a few recently, but have been able to get back on track with a few remedies and by eating more fresh fruits and veggies.

I hope that you enjoyed this post about staying healthy and fit while abroad! It is something that not many people think about ahead of time, but it’s so important for wellbeing and enjoying your experience!

What have you learned about staying healthy and fit while abroad or while traveling? I would love to know what you recommend!

© The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

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Mi Primer Día en Chile (2 Junio 2017)

Quiero escribir sobre mis experiencias durante este verano cuando ocurrieron porque viajes a cualquier lugar tiene ajustes y momentos que va a recordar por su vida.

Mi vuelo a Santiago de Chile empezó a las nueve de la noche ayer. Cuando encontré a mi asiento dentro del avión y puse mi maleta en su propio lugar, sonreí a la mujer que sienta al otro lado (¡no había alguien en el asiento del centro!). Ella sonrió también, y dice “habla español?” a que respondí “¡Si”. “Eres Chilano?” ella preguntó, y la conversación empezaba con mi respuesta de donde vengo. Hablo español por la duración del vuelo, y era un viaje cómodo.

Dormí por cuatro de las nueve horas, y cuando levanta esta mañana la gente tiene sus ventanas abiertas para ver a las montañas y el océano. Hablaba con esta mujer por el resto del vuelo, y ella era la persona más simpática que siento con en un avión en todo mi vida. Ella dice “¡Mira! A este lado (la izquierda) hay montañas grandes, y a este lado (la derecha) hay el océano. Chile es tan largo (ella muestra con sus manos) pero muy ancho!” . Lo que dijo era verdad, la naturaleza del país es diferente a algo que veo en el pasado. Cuando terminó el vuelo, ella dice “¡Quiero darte un beso! ¡Espero que viajes bien y que disfruta a esta país magnífica!”.

Tomé un bus por tres horas hasta el sur del país, y era una experiencia interesante para alguien que está viajando por primera vez en un lugar. Pero, hablo con la gente durante el viaje y miraba al película “The Martian” en español que fue presentando en el bus. Tomaba más café porque definitivamente estaba cansada, y finalmente conocer a la familia que estoy quedando con durante mi tiempo aquí.

Con esto, estaba en Chile. Es mi primer tiempo viajar sola por el mundo, y mentira si digo que no tiene miedo. Para viajar es algo que cambia a personas. Hay experiencias diferentes y muchas personas que conocerá durante sus viajes. Es mi primer día, y si en algunos aspectos hay mucho cambio. Casa, idioma, personas, países, tiempos de comer, horarios, y todo eso. Pero, pienso que viajar es uno de las cosas que cambian a la manera en que ve al mundo. He estudiado español hasta que tenía once años, y siento que fue tiempo para viajar y conectar con las culturas y personas que hablan sobre durante mis estudios.

Empieza mi tiempo ayudar en la escuela lunes, entonces tengo el fin de semana para disfrutar y ajustar.

Quiero terminar todos mis reflexiones con una lista de todo que estoy agradecida por durante mi tiempo aquí, porque si hay obstáculos y cosas difíciles pero lo que importa es las cosas que traigan comunidad y memorias.

Lo que estoy agradecida por hasta este punto en mis viajes: 

  • La mujer simpática en el vuelo, nunca voy a olvidar a ella
  • Las personas que me ayudan cuando estaba tomando los dos buses
  • Que tengo todo mi equipaje (no fue perdido durante el viaje)
  • Que puedo encontrar comida vegana sin problema aquí para mantener esta parte de mi vida
  • El apoyo de mis conexiones aquí en Chile, y de la familia que estoy quedando con
  • La oportunidad para ver al mundo, y la apoyo que tengo por mi misma para lo que siento

¡A próximo! 🙂

____________________________________________________

I want to write about my experiences as they occur, because trips like these have adjustments and moments that you will remember for the rest of your life.

My flight to Santiago, Chile boarded at 9pm last night. When I boarded the plane and put my luggage in the overhead bin above my seat, I sat and smiled at the woman sitting on the other end (there wasn’t anyone in the middle, which gave us both extra room!). She smiled back and asked if I spoke Spanish, I responded with yes and she proceeded to ask if I was Chilean. Our conversation flowed from there, and after dinner I was able to sleep for four of the nine hours.

When I woke up in the morning, everyone had their windows open and was looking at the landscape. She looked over at me and said “Look! Out this side (the left) there are mountains, and out that side (right) there’s the ocean! While Chile is very long, it’s very skinny!”. What she said was true, it is by far one of the most unique landscapes that I have ever seen! When the flight landed, she turned to me and said “Let me give you a kiss! I hope you have great travels and that you enjoy your stay in this magnificent country!”

After I left the airport, I took two buses. The last bus ride was three hours long, and took me to Talca where I met my wonderful host family. During the bus ride, I talked with many people (and tried to keep up with their fast-paced Spanish!) and watched the movie “The Martian” that was playing on all of the screens.

With that, I was in Chile. It is my first time traveling the world alone, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared at all. But traveling is something that changes people. It is my first day, and yes there are a lot of things that have changed. House, language, people, meal times, schedules, and more. But I think that traveling is something that changes the way that you see the world around you. I have been studying the Spanish language since I was eleven years old, and I felt like it was time to immerse myself in the places that I have learned so much about.

I start helping at the local school on Monday, so I have the weekend to relax and adjust. I want to end all of my posts with a list of all that I am grateful for, because although there might be obstacles and challenges, what matters most is remembering what brings us joy and happiness.

What I am grateful for at this point in my travels: 

  • The kind woman who sat near me on the plane and wanted to talk about my travels and wish me well, I will never forget her
  • The people who helped me navigate the airport and bus systems, and who wished me well in my travels
  • That all of my luggage arrived with me (none of it was lost in the journey)
  • That I can continue with my vegan diet here easily
  • The support of my connections here in Chile, and the host family that I am staying with
  • The opportunity to travel the world, and the support that I give to myself when I am feeling uncertain or overwhelmed

Until next time! 🙂

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

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The Art of Abandoning Your Comfort Zone

I will soon be leaving for what is the biggest adventure of my life to date, and I have been meaning to do a public reflection on what it means to me. As I have talked about before on this blog, leaving my comfort zone is something that 17 year old Alyssa would have done reluctantly. I enjoyed having a routine and a predictable life, but 20 year old me feels like it’s time to move on.

Back in spring of 2016 I took a huge leap and did a solo trip sponsored by my college to shadow an alum in Virginia. This was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, landing and staying with complete strangers on a whim and having an unpredictable life pattern for an entire week. It was invigorating, exhilarating, and left me feeling as though I could never go back to living a life of routine.

In the summer of 2017 I lived on my own for the first time, managing a 45 hour per week job and all of the maintenance that comes with being an ‘adult’. I grew leaps and bounds that summer, managing my finances, groceries, and building connections. I also got to spend the entire summer with my best friend which was absolutely amazing! 🙂

This past spring I did another solo travel trip, this time to Kansas, and had a great experience yet again. This gave me the confidence to apply for a study abroad term and to further pursue the adventures that I am about to have.

In high school my desire to travel the world grew as I followed travel bloggers and vloggers on their adventures. I never knew that one day that would be me.

As I set off on new adventures I can’t help but feel full of joy and excitement. I am following my dreams and my passions, and living in the present moment as I have learned to do over the past year.

I feel enriched and full of live, like I am truly living.

I can’t wait to bring you along with me as I embark on these adventures! I will be posting here on my blog, as well as on Twitter and Instagram. I will also be making more videos (hopefully), so feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel! 🙂

I would love to hear about how your recent journeys have brought you into alignment with your true self. <3

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

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Clothes: Minimal Packing to go Abroad

Since I will be leaving on my travels soon, I decided to film a video today of how I have been preparing! I will be abroad for two months this summer, and will be taking one bag of clothes, one bag of wellness items, and one carry-on!

In this first video, I explain all of the clothes that I am bringing with me (most of them are thrift store purchases!) and how I fit them all into one bag!

I have a few more days until my journey begins, and I wanted to update you on the process and how I have been preparing for the past week or so. I hope that you enjoy this post and video, and if you know of anyone preparing to travel soon feel free to send it their way! 🙂

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

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Being a Bawse

This post has not been sponsored. There are affiliate links within this post, which means that I get a percentage of a purchase you make when you click on them. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Wise Willow possible! (Also, as always, everything I promote I personally love! 🙂 )

I started watching Lilly Singh (aka Superwoman)’s YouTube videos way back in high school, during my homework breaks. I found her to be an inspiration, someone who was able to make me laugh and relate to her experiences. I followed her progression as a creator over the years, noticing how she grew as a person but always stayed true to the vision she had started with.

At that point in time, I had never thought of myself as a creator. In fact, if there was a project in high school that was described as a creative endeavor I would inwardly panic, thinking I had no creative ability whatsoever. I had always known that my drawing/painting/anything art related skills were far and few, not recognizing that there were other ways to be creative. I had boxed in a definition of creativity, and dismissed myself because I happened to fall outside of those characteristics.

I always love hearing how other creatives started their blogs, channels, and other media because these stories usually have something in common: whether they thought of themselves as creative or not, they recognized this ability and what they can share with the world. As I have said before, I had a lightbulb moment of recognition when I saw a Pinterest post about starting a blog written by the lovely Morgan Timm. It was as if I was seeing myself in a new light, suddenly remembering how much I used to love writing when I was younger. All of the journals, diaries, and short stories that would escape my imagination and leave imprints on the pages of my childhood. How I dreamed of becoming an author one day. All of these feelings came back in a rush, for they had been buried for so long.

I have seen a similar progression in my own creative endeavors from when I started until now. In August I will have been blogging for two years, and I find it difficult to put all that I have learned into words.

When I saw that Lilly had written a book (something I have always dreamed of doing!), I knew that I had to get a copy. I was fortunate enough to stumble across a signed copy, and could barely wait for it to arrive. It came to my campus mailbox this past Monday, and was one of the best ways to start the week. I started reading it with no preconceived notions of what to expect.

Words cannot even describe how I felt as I turned each page. It was almost as if I was hearing the echoes of my own heart. Each vivid page brought my own dream to life, and more than that it made me feel like I wasn’t alone.

To give you some background, I try to put my all into everything that I do and am quite busy as a result. I enjoy putting my best foot forward, but it hasn’t always been an easy journey.

In high school I was quite stressed. Beyond that, my life was void of the creative energy that fills every gap in my life today. I was trapped in the box that I had drawn around myself, committed to living a scholarly life that never tested my creative ability. Lilly describes her own struggle with feeling as though she wasn’t pursuing her passions, and just living a life she thought she was meant to live. Though she experienced this after college, I resonated with the idea completely. I was stuck in my own idea of what my best life was, restricting my own growth.

When I started my blog, I started to erase the box and draw lines in new directions. I journeyed into the unknown, guided by the creative voice that I had subdued for so long. Instead of critiquing all of my creative choices, I embraced them. I made mistakes, I learned, and most of all I loved. The color started to seep back into my world, and I could feel my creativity growing with each day.

Lilly took on creativity as a full-time job, and does an amazing job of balancing it all despite the criticisms that she receives. As a student blogger, it’s common for me to have my motivations questioned. My day is scheduled nearly hour by hour, and I am always reading, writing, working, and creating. There are many who don’t understand why I choose to spend this much time on creativity, but for me it can only be explained by passion. It never feels like work for me, and as I sit here right now typing in the early hours of the morning I feel surrounded by joy and positive energy.

Blogging has allowed me to embrace my true self, and erase the rigid lines I had thought were permanent. There were many creators who inspired me to take this leap, and I can only hope that I inspire others to do the same.

If you haven’t read How to Be a BawseI highly recommend that you grab a copy! I read it in one day, and haven’t stopped thinking about it. How have you embraced your creative self?

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

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My Journey in Essential Oils

This is not a sponsored or promoted post, all thoughts are my own. 🙂 

Exactly one week ago I received my premium essential oil kit from Young Living Essential Oils, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. As you know, I have been embarking on a number of new journeys and experiences this year and improving my wellness has been one of my main goals.

When adjusting to any new situation, or even to a subtle amount of change, keeping up with a wellness regimen can be very difficult. In my schedule, I find that sometimes it’s hard to momentarily pause and reflect because I’m often rushing from place to place.

I had been researching the benefits of essential oils for quite some time, not really sure if they would fit into my lifestyle or help me to achieve more of my wellness goals. Staying healthy in college is one of the most important aspects of student life, but it is also one of the most difficult.

At around this time of year, it seems as though stress and business all contribute to illnesses around campus. I’m always looking for ways to decrease my stress and remain more focused on each moment, and decided to take the plunge and invest in these essential oils. I couldn’t be happier!

It’s only been one week, but even in this week I have experienced quite a bit of stress surrounding class assignments and other due dates. When I first opened up my kit I was shocked at how much was in it! It inspired me to organize a space in my room for the diffuser and all of the oils, which is right at the foot of my bed on my mini fridge. 🙂

That first night I diffused Stress Away, and I woke up feeling very refreshed and rejuvenated! In the mornings (especially when I have earlier classes) I have been diffusing a mixture of lemon and peppermint oils as a refreshing and focus-centered combination. It has worked wonders for my productivity (sending emails, etc.) in the mornings, and I feel much more awake when on my way to class.

The day that I used the kit the most was this past Sunday, when I woke up with a horrendous migraine. I have used essential oil rollers in the past for my headaches, but never diffused oils to try to relieve the symptoms. I diffused a combination of oils throughout the day, focusing on the peppermint and R.C. (Eucalyptus) oils that usually help to relieve headache pain. I also applied Panaway topically with a carrier oil (coconut oil) to relieve the muscle tension and I was able to be productive for the second half of my day which was a huge game-changer!

As I write this, I am currently diffusing Lavender as a way to relax after a very long day. In times of stress due to deadlines and requirements, I have been reaching for Peace and Calming and Stress Away, and words cannot describe how these have changed my wellness routine. I have also been pairing essential oil diffusing with my meditation practice lately.

I’m so excited to keep updating you on my journey in essential oils, as it has far exceeded my expectations! I have a new Instagram dedicated to this wellness journey, as well as a new Facebook group! What have your experiences with essential oils been? Are you looking to integrate them into your own wellness routine? Feel free to leave a comment below or email me (thewisewillowblog@gmail.com) if you are interested in these oils, I’ve learned so much about them and would love to get you started on your journey! 🙂

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

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Alyssa DeBella

Hi there! Welcome to my blog! I'm a third-year college student passionate about writing, minimalism, vegan living, and coffee. I would love for you to join my online family!
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