Essential oils are all the rage these days and so also are essential oil diffusers. You can find them everywhere these days. Not just at the natural grocery stores but also at the mainstream stores, even at the random little hip boutique clothing/home store on the corner. But want to know a secret? You don't need a plug-in diffuser.
Diffusers can be great, but they're also unnecessary. They're a plug in an outlet that you don't need. And you have to clean them. And if you want to use diluted oils (if you like scents like rose or frankincense, which I do, you're pretty much only going to be able to buy diluted oils), forget it--they'll hopelessly clog your diffuser in the blink of an eye. There are other options, like the little bowls with candles underneath. But then you have to replace the candles--and make sure to blow out the candles when the water empties, otherwise you might crack the bowl with the heat.
So while you might still want to use a diffuser to get instant and strong, well, diffusing in certain instances, like when you're sick, for the most part I'd recommend just pouring your essential oils straight onto an object. You can sometimes find them in stores if you're looking out (the gift shop at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix had them recently), but if you want to buy them easily online, Mountain Rose Herbs sells these great terra cotta diffuser pendants. They're inexpensive and pretty. I suppose you could also make your own.
Or there are two more super easy, inexpensive, purchasable options. Just use a brown sugar bear (or other shape, but the bear is the one I see most often). Most kitchen stores sell them; so does Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Or use a terra cotta pot saucer. Super easy and you don't have to worry about hiding a bear around (because, frankly, a bear probably doesn't go with most people's decor).
Put them anywhere and put out as many as you like. Since they cost less, you can put one in each room, a different one in your closet, another in your car, whatever you want. I keep the pendant in my car, usually with frankincense oil. The bear is by my bed, with rose and lavender oil. And the saucer is in the living room with whatever scents I'm into at the moment.
For fall, I like using cinnamon, clove, and orange. About two drops of each. After Thanksgiving, I'll switch out the orange and clove for peppermint. I find either peppermint or cinnamon too strong on their own, but they work well together. In January, I'll take away the peppermint again and bring back the orange.
Since essential oils can be expensive (making blending even more expensive because you have to buy each element separately), don't shy away from pre-blended oils if you find one that has what you want. NOW makes some nice blends (NOW is one of the most common brands you'll find because they're the lesser-priced, decent quality brand--don't buy the cheap oils they sell at stores like Wal-Mart). Or if you're okay with spending a little more, Snow Lotus is great, too. Their Sinus Clear blend does wonders for stopping a runny nose.
And I know I'm talking about diffusers here, but don't be shy to buy an empty rollerball for a dollar or two, either. Just put a carrier oil in there with whatever essential oils you need or want and you're set. If you want to make a perfume or a blend for stress or what have you, it's so easy.
What are your favorite oils right now?