Experience Truth in Wellness

Living Shalom is a Biblically-based endeavor that exists to inspire and equip you to experience greater health and wellness. Wellness Advocate, Lisa Gautier, shares knowledge, resources, and her own experiences related to health and wellness, and invites you to join her on the journey toward more abundant life and health!

How to Make Soy Candles

How to Make Soy Candles

So, in my life as a Googler, I signed up for a class on how to make soy candles. It’s super easy, and super cheap. Even the gals running the class who make and sell candles said we should never buy candles again, but rather just make them!

I’m game!

Check out the steps below to see how easy it is to make your own soy candles!

First, gather all your materials. Soy wax is the easiest to work with (and least smokey when burning), thus the reason the instructors choose it over beeswax or paraffin candle wax. You can order the wax flakes on Amazon. You just need a double boiler or a candle pouring pitcher (which you put in hot water in a pot as if was a double boiler). You can get a candle making kit on Amazon for under $35 with the basics to get you started!

Needed Materials to Make Soy Candles:

  • Cotton wicks (instructors recommend over all other kinds)
  • Wick tabs (the little metal grommets at the bottom which will hold your wick in place)
  • Soy Candle Wax
  • Essential oils or fragrance oils
  • Mason jar or container of your choice (you can go to Goodwill and get creative with containers!)
  • Double boiler set up
  • Clothes pins
  • Wooden popsicle sticks

Now that you have all your materials, tie off a small knot (just one time will do) about 1 inch from the bottom of your string. Make sure your string (candle wick) is long enough to extend past the top of the jar when held up straight, including after you tie off an inch. (You’ll trim the wick down later – better to have it long enough than too short.)

Candle Making Materials

Candle Making Materials

Once you tie off the knot, thread the wick upwards through the metal wick tab, so the knot is underneath the grommet.

To set the knot, hold the wick straight up and pour enough wax in the bottom of the container to just slightly cover the wick tab. Just drape the wick over the side of the container while the wax “sets” (aka. dries) and leave it be.

Set the Candle Wick in a Wax Base

Set the Candle Wick in a Wax Base

Next you’ll want to choose your fragrance. Make sure your fragrance does not exceed 10% of the total volume of the wax you’ll be pouring into the candle. For example, for a 4 oz candle, you’ll use about 2 dropperfuls of fragrance oil to mix with the wax.

Now mix the fragrance in with the wax. Stir together. It’s good to do this in a plastic cup or something in which you can easily blend them together. You can use wooden popsicle sticks or similar to stir these two together. It’s important to stir for 4 minutes, to make sure that the fragrance is evenly distributed among the wax (which will help it evenly release its scent when burning).

Add Wax and Fragrance and Stir

Add Wax and Fragrance and Stir

After stirring for 4 minutes, pour mixed wax / fragrance mixture into the candle container. Straighten wick in the center of the candle. Use a clothes pin to clip the wick and hold it in place (lay clothespin horizontally over container to hold the wick firm).

Clip the Wick and Allow to Set

Clip the Wick and Allow to Set

Let wax set until firm.

Allow candle to “cure” for at least 2 days before burning.

That’s it!

When I asked how much each candle ends up costing like this, for the 4 oz ones, they said if you buy about $30 of materials, you should be able to make about 100 candles! That’s just 30 cents a candle!

They said “Now that you have learned how to make candles, you should never buy them again!”

I quite agree.

I’m glad to know now how to make my own soy candles!

Me at Google

Me at Google

As many of you know, I now work at Google.

Having worked at large, well-known companies in the past (and having less than exciting experiences), I was a bit wary of joining another large conglomerate again. Especially, when I loved my job at the time – at an exciting tech start-up.

But Google kept pursuing me and finally gave me an offer my husband and I felt we could not refuse.

So, I accepted.

I have since been in shock with all the amazing benefits they offer! They are the most truly wellness-oriented company of which I have ever been a part, and I am truly beyond grateful for the chance to be a part of the team there.

So, as a quick summary of some of their jaw dropping wellness-focused benefits, here are just 5 amazing wellness-focused benefits of working at Google:

  1. Free food – (which I heard has been reported at one time to be 70% organic); they do offer many organic snacks and drinks, in addition to their option for as many as 3 full meals a day google-breakfast green-juice Google Lunch  img_8390
  2. On-site Doctors and Chiropractors (so helpful and time saving!!)
  3. On-site, subsidized massage therapists (and massage chairs!) massage-chair
  4. Google bikes to ride around campus, and bikes available to loan for commuting to and from work! google-bikes
  5. On-site fitness centers, physical therapy, and other wellness focused areas with related equipment (Remember my post on inversion tables from a while back?? They have them!)

inversion-tables danceplex

Of course, beyond this, the people have been amazing to work with, and the work interesting and exciting. I am truly thrilled to be a part of such an energetic, wellness-focused company full of such an amazing and diverse group of people! Quite a unique and special experience!

I have worked at places before where the company gave lip-service to wellness but really preferred the energy of the employee go only toward the company and not really toward self-care (especially in the workplace). So, it’s neat to finally be in a place where the top down approach is truly to be well and where employees are well cared for! You can see it in the happy faces of the workers at Google.

I like being in a wellness-centered workplace. 🙂

Walk in Wellness

Walk in Wellness

Walk in Wellness

Today marks a change in the season with Daylight Savings Time. The extra hour this morning gave me a nice chance for a quiet time which included journaling and Bible reading. I’ve decided to do another reading through the Psalms as my next Bible jaunt.

So, today was Psalm 1.

I’ve read this chapter many times, and it’s short – easy to fly by.

But today what struck me was the contrast here. The contrast between the righteous and the wicked. For this is what the Psalmist here compares.

Here’s a run down of what we observe in Psalm 1:

The Wicked

  • Are like chaff that the wind blows away (they don’t last, no matter how it looks!) – v. 4
  • They won’t stand in judgment or in the assembly of the righteous – v. 5
  • Their way leads to destruction – v. 6

The Righteous

  • Doesn’t walk, stand or sit in the ways of the above people; they choose a different path, and they are blessed for it – v. 1
  • Their delight is in the law of the LORD – v. 2
  • On that law they meditate day and night – v. 2
  • They are like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields fruit in season – v. 3
  • Their leaf does not wither, and whatever they do prospers – v. 3
  • The LORD watches over their way – v. 6

Well, you may be saying to me, “Well, duh, Lisa! You are just repeating the passage in a different way!”

Indeed, that is true. But that is part of good, thorough Bible study method: observation. You want to really look at what the text is saying. Comparison and contrast are excellent ways to break it down, as well, if you see that. And that is what struck me in this passage today – the contrast.

So, that’s the way I observed the passage today – the contrast between the righteous and the wicked.

And in the process, it really stood out to me what the promises are for the righteous, for the ones who choose not to follow the ways of the wicked, but rather to delight in God’s law and meditate on His Word.

What do they – the righteous – get as a result? What is the consequence in their lives?

They are like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields fruit…whatever they do prospers. The LORD watches over their way.

I don’t know about you, but this is what I want. What my heart desires, soul satisfaction as that of a green tree that has plenty of access to water, and thus flourishes…that whatever I do prospers.

Who doesn’t want to prosper in whatever they do?!?

Even more the message I felt the LORD speak to my heart was that He watches over my way.

He sees everything.

He sees every trial. Every pain. Every stress.

None of it escapes His notice.

He is watching me. He is watching over my way.

To make it straight.

Yessss!!! Now that is what I want! Straight paths! Prosperous paths!

This morning at church, the pastor preached on Galations 1: 10 – 12. The topic of these verses is finding favor with men versus God – another contrast.

Which will we choose? Will we spend our lives trying to please men? Or striving to please God?

He made an excellent point about the apostle Paul, the author of these words. This man had left a life of striving to please men as a former Pharisee, striving to keep every letter of the law, and chose instead to please God. And amidst the latter, in seeking to please God he had a tremendous influence, one that undoubtedly outweighed the influence he would have had while seeking to please men.

There was prosperity. There was that life like the tree planted by streams, the fruitful and prosperous life. And it came by following God and His plan rather than his own. By pleasing God rather than men. By choosing the way of righteousness rather than the way of the wicked.

So, which way will you choose?

There is a way that leads to life. And a way that leads to death.

A narrow way versus a broad way.

The path of pleasing men or the path of pleasing God.

The path of peace or the path of angst.

The path of the righteous versus the path of the wicked.

There is a way that seems right to man, but leads to death. Therefore, I encourage you, choose life, that you may live.

Give & Get

Learning Through Loss

Did you know that when you give you get?

Yup. That’s how it works.

In fact, the Bible says that (a) the one who GIVES is actually MORE BLESSED than the one who receives, and (b) that when you GIVE it will be given TO YOU – in such an abundant way that it’s like a cup “running over” for you!

Now, I don’t know about you, but I like the sound of THAT!

Give and YOU get the bigger blessing! Give and you will actually get more in return!

Now, clearly, I’m not promising you that it will be kind for kind. In other words, just because you give money doesn’t mean you will get more money back. Hah. No. That’s not it.

But what I’m simply telling you is the plain truth that God’s Word says: you give you get a greater blessing than the recipient. You give, you get blessings back.

That’s something, isn’t it? And, I’d say, that’s one more key to wellness – giving to others.

I’ve had to learn that the hard way.

For years, I could only think way too much about ME. My pain. My issues. My struggles. My lack.

Then guess what?

Amidst my own problems, God started convicting me to give. Even when I was like “Um, wait a minute…I don’t even have much TO give! I’m sick, tired, underemployed, and financially struggling!”

But, guess what I learned?

You don’t have to have a lot to be generous. You can be generous with a LITTLE.

After all, remember that woman that gave “all she had” by just giving ONE COIN in the temple?

Mark 12:44 says that “…she, out of her poverty, put in everything…”

Hmm. That changes the game a bit, doesn’t it?

So…I don’t have to be wealthy to give?

Nope. In fact, there were wealthy folk right there where the woman was giving, but who put in more? The wealthy or this poor woman?

Jesus said the poor woman actually put in more!

Why, that sounds absurd! How could she put in MORE than the rich people?

Aha…it says it right in verse 44. She gave “all she owned” (NASB).

You can have less and give more.

Yes, you heard me right. You can have less and yet be giving MORE than those who have more.

And that is what God started to show me.

Lessons for Life

I started to give – out of my poverty. Maybe I didn’t have much strength left; I gave the little I had away.

Sometimes I felt sorely criticized and condemned for it. It was as if I could hear some people’s minds judging me with “you should have given more.” But they did not know. They had a lot. I had very little, so what I gave felt HUGE.

But who cares? God knows. God knows when you give generously to others for Him. He knows when it’s on the “all you own” level – when it’s a huge sacrifice to you, even if it doesn’t look like it to others.

I mean, really – think about those rich dudes looking on at the woman who gave one coin. I’m pretty sure they were probably snickering, and arrogantly patting themselves on the back with words like “Look at that. She only gives a coin. That’s not enough for God. But, look at me – look at much I put in. I put in many coins! That is so much better!”

Yet, who got the praise here? The wealthy ones or the poor woman with ONE coin?

The answer is right in the text. I don’t need to tell you.

So, today that is my challenge to you. Consider how you can give generously, sacrificially out of what you have. Do it for God, not for others. Let it be your gift to Him.

He sees after all. He knows.

Living It Out

Because this is on my heart a lot right now, I’m going to also give you the opportunity to give right now. If you want a way to be a blessing to someone in need, you can do so here. It’s a story about a woman I know who is in need. God put her on my heart to try to help her get a car to help her keep getting to work. If He so leads you, you are welcome to have the chance to be a blessing to her through giving.

Regardless of where or when you decide to give, it’s something we need to be doing and be doing with both cheerfulness and generosity!

So, start looking for ways you can give and give generously, remembering that it is not the AMOUNT but it’s what is sacrificial for you and your situation.

Enjoy giving and then reaping the intrinsic fruit that comes as a blessing in return!


Grapefruit Seed Extract for Viruses

Grapefruit Seed Extract for Viruses

I recently learned about this neat remedy from a very wellness-minded friend out here in CA: grapefruit seed extract.

You can buy this in liquid or capsule form in Whole Foods (Whole Body section). The brand is Nutribiotic.

My gal friend said her friends who got viruses seemed to heal a lot faster using this stuff.

I picked this grapefruit seed extract up recently, but it was already at the tail end of my stint with a virus, so I only got to use it the last few days. So, I didn’t get a good test with it. However, the next time I get a virus, I’d like to jump in with it right away and see if it shortens the length of the sickness.

Instructions for use are on the bottle.

It’s best mixed into something like orange juice, where you can’t taste it. If you just mix it into water to drink down, it’s not the best tasting. So, go with a juice as a carrier past your taste buds.

Anyone else used grapefruit seed extract before for viruses?

I’m curious to give this a true trial the next time I start fighting a virus!

Boiron Basket

Boiron Basket

So, my favorite health and beauty store for naturally-based products is a store they have here in California called Pharmaca. It is pretty great. Think Whole Body (at Whole Foods) – but BETTER. Bigger selection of items, better products, more product choices within each brand, and the top of the line natural beauty / skin care items…it’s just, frankly, great.

My entire facial skin care line comes from there, but that is another post for another day.

Anyway, I love their store and it’s always fun to just browse and find new brands and items I had never heard of. One of my favorite parts is their clearance section, where you can find amazing natural-based brands for up to 75% off! That’s a good deal when you are trying to purchase all-natural products. But, I digress.

Today’s post is about the interesting, super practical gift basket I just won at their Mother’s Day Weekend raffle. Frankly, I’m a bit disappointed it was something that requires being “sick” to use…. (I mean, when you get a gift basket, wouldn’t you want to dive in and take advantage of it right away?!?) On the upside, however, it’s a very full basket of homeopathic goodies (which are right up my alley) and worth probably $100 estimated retail value. Not to shabby, even if you do have to be sick to use this stuff.

The brand is Boiron. (Though at first I was a bit tempted to think the basket was “boring” due to the less-exciting nature of its contents. After all, facial products or spa goodies or even mani/pedi items would have been pretty darn exciting from one of my favorite stores ever!!) But nope. It was not any of those. No beauty products. It was Boiron.


Seemed a bit at first…but I did a little bit of extra research online and Amazon reviewers are giving these products 4.5 to 5 out of 5 stars. Not too shabby. Usually Amazon reviews are a pretty solid way to get a read on product quality.

While I don’t exactly want to get sick to be able to test these (thus the “boring” nature of the Boiron basket), I am quite curious to put these homeopathic meds to the test!

What about you? Do you know anything about Boiron? Would love to hear your comments below!

Evan Healy Lip Butter

Evan Healy Lip Butter

I’m a chapstick girl.

Have been for a long time.

For some reason, cold weather and/or dry weather take a big toll on my skin – and that includes my lips!

I hate dry, cracked lips. And, as someone who has dealt too much with such, I have tried a variety of conventional and more “all-natural” types of chapstick.

Today, I’m here to tell you my newfound favorite. It feels silky smooth, moisturizes deeply, and stays on long. It is the Evan Healy brand Whipped Shea Butter chapstick. I get mine at a local healthy and beauty store that mixes conventional and herbal types of skin care, medicines, and remedies. But Whole Foods also sells this brand; and I’m sure you could find it online.

Definitely give this amazing chapstick a try if you have dry lips! It is the best chapstick ever IMHO.

Ingredients: Sunflower Seed Oil, Beeswax, Coconut Oil, Castor Oil, Olive Fruit Oil, Vanilla Oil, Shea Butter, Red Raspberry Seed Oil, Argan Kernel Oil, Almond Oil, Avocado Oil, Cocoa Butter, Tocopherols (non-GMO)

Did you know you can implement birth control without any hormonal pills? Alternatively, did you know that you can figure out (on your own) when you are fertile and thus able to conceive?

I, for one, prefer to avoid medicines whenever possible. And, in particular, am not comfortable with many birth control methods for a variety of reasons. But now that I have been using an app to track my cycle, I have – through additional reading and personal education – learned that if you know how your cycle works you can know when you ovulate and thus know when to try to get pregnant (if you are trying) or when to avoid sex (or otherwise use a barrier method at the appropriate time) if you do not want to become pregnant. No drugs required!

Why didn’t anyone teach us this a long time ago?!?!

Could it be because pharmaceutical companies would rather have your money than tell you how to accomplish the same goals without their drugs?

It’s pretty exciting stuff, actually, the concept of tracking your cycle. You learn so much more about how the female body works! And using a free app, like Kindara, makes it both fun and simple!

Trying to get pregnant? Wanting to avoid pregnancy? Either way, this app is for you!

Read more about this concept and how it works in this insightful article here. As the article explains, this app is like the FitBit for your period!

Any apps you like to use for fertility tracking?

From the Inside Out

“The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in.

“The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums.

“The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment.

“The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.”

– Ezra Taft Benson

Who are you allowing to work in your life?

Is the transformation you are seeking from the outside in or the inside out?

There is only one Way through which true wellness can come.

Thoughts to ponder as we experience this Easter season.

He has risen! He has risen, indeed. Hallelujah!

Evolve Pilates

Pilates Reformer Machines

Pilates Reformer Machines

Today I want to share about my newest fitness felicity: pilates!

Living and working near this Classical Pilates studio called Evolve, I have been able to attend classes regularly for the past 6 weeks and to begin taking semi-privates with my husband as well.

Pilates Mats & Equipment

Pilates Mats & Equipment

We both love it! There are classes that use the pilates reformers (machines shown in first photo above) and classes that use the mats (photo immediately above). Additionally, there is even more equipment that fills the studio for pilates training (see below)!

More Pilates Equipment

More Pilates Equipment

Pilates is a great exercise for dancers, as it especially strengthens your core muscles. Part of why I love it so much is because it helps me both stretch and strengthen in a low-impact manner. I don’t know about you, but high-impact workouts can be stressful to both mind and body! This exercise, however, is wonderful refreshing and renewing. I wish I had tried this many years ago!

It’s also wonderful for people with injuries and I believe can help with back problems (that is what my professional dancer husband says, anyway!)

Evolve Pilates Studio

Evolve Pilates Studio

The staff at Evolve are wonderful and very knowledgable with their technique as well, which makes me feel like every time I go I am getting a truly valuable workout.

Inside Evolve Pilates

Inside Evolve Pilates

The next thing my hubby and I plan to start incorporating into our fitness routine is the gyrotonics (picture of the gyrotonic machine below). This appears to also be a great exercise for core training and we feel it could really help us as dancers as well. Hopefully we will be able to start that in the near future!

Gyrotonic Machines

Gyrotonic Machines

I’d love to hear your stores with pilates or gyrotonics if you have any to share! If you live in the Silicon Valley area of the San Francisco Bay, definitely check out Evolve Pilates. It’s a wonderful studio…and I truly am loving it so much that I am finding pilates to be an exercise I could do every day!

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