A Little More Air

As part of my objectives for improving my health, and not to be mistaken as a New Year’s resolution, I wanted to find ways to improve the quality of my breath. Sounds crazy, right? Breathing is an innate function – you do it without thinking and when you really need a little extra oomph, you yawn. What I mean is that I need to take more time to be cognizant of the breath I take and the quality of that breath. Am I anxious? Am I frustrated? Am I sleepy? Am I calm? Was that a sigh of relief or of frustration?

In order to get started, I needed to make sure that I started to look inwards to improve my health. Now, I can certainly say I am doing fine and all of the issues that plague me are environmental, but that would just be a lie. A lot of my motivation and my feeling of self were unaligned. Therefore, I started mediation. No, I wasn’t sitting on a yoga mat, burning incense and listening to monk chants (not that there is anything wrong with that but let me start small)… I downloaded an app called “Calm” from the iOS App Store. The app leads you through guided meditation, most sessions not being more than 10 minutes long. It guides you through deep breathing and through becoming aware of one’s self. I have completed the 7-day introductory package and am moving on to the 21-day course.

In addition to dedicating 10 minutes each evening before bed, and yes the husband is fully supportive and even makes sure our little puppies don’t intrude, I wanted to improve the quality of my breath in one my most stressful times -commuting. Sitting in traffic on the way to work, when you have an 8am meeting and it is already 7:50 with at least another 10 minute drive ahead of you…well that is nerve racking and even a 10-minute guided session could not help relax the nerves. So I opted for a more holistic approach coupled with one of the strongest senses a person has – I started to diffuse essential oils in my car with my diffuser every day. I also purchased a charcoal air purifier.

The diffuser I purchased was not super expensive as this was more of a trial with high hopes. I ordered it from Amazon for $12.99 with prime shipping (free 2-day delivery). It comes with an extra cotton wick and very easy instructions. You need to use distilled or filtered water and whatever essential oil of your choice, but it should be water soluble. Then you plug it in, turn it on, and just like that I had a clean scent that filled my car and some added clean humidity to help relieve that cough from dry air and pollution. Rating: πŸŽ‹πŸŽ‹πŸŽ‹

Then there was the charcoal-based air purifier that the car needed badly. With two adults and two Boxers sharing a small car, the car ends up smelling like a locker room over time. No Febreeze clip-in, spray, rolling down of windows, or those weird tree-shaped scents would help mask the odors. So instead of masking, I wanted to find something that would absorb and neutralize the scent, leaving it fresh and ready for my essential oils. I wanted something healthy that would support my healthier journey and would not deteriorate because of changes in temperature or sun. After some research, I found the Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag that contains 200mg of natural bamboo charcoal. After the first hour of having this inside the car, the car already smelled like it had recently been vacuumed! And this was only $9.95 with prime shipping. It does not have any fragrance or chemicals so it does not interfere with the essentials oils nor is it harmful to the puppies, my husband, or myself. Rating: πŸŽ‹πŸŽ‹πŸŽ‹πŸŽ‹

I have been using all three of these techniques for the past week and I have to say that while the effects are subtle, I have noticed that especially during those AM commutes, I am not as easily agitated (even though my coffee is still waiting to be consumed). I noticed that I do not have the sniffles in the car as much and that the scent of the diffuser is subtle enough to make it smell like lavender and the ocean but does not overpower the vehicle or evaporate by exposure.

One day at a time and one deep breath in through the nose and exhale through the mouth… That is one step closer to improved health and better quality breaths.

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Ulta Mini Haul

When you have curly hair and are running low on products, have a birthday coupon and a sale running all at the same time combined with a day off…well, you have the recipe of an Ulta mini haul.

It might not look like a lot but trust me that the receipt says differently! After coupons, sales tax, and me going a little overboard (c’mon who doesn’t from time to time), my grand total was $233.22. Honestly, this will last me and my husband for a couple of months so I do not feel that it is too bad of a deal!

I have used all of these products now, some more than others, so I wanted to do a little break down of the products, cost, and especially for my curly girls, the benefits. Each product photo will link to the Ulta website if the product is available and will have a rating -this week will be little piglets since I am a smidge obsessed!


Dose of Color (regularly $18.00) – This is a nice liquid lipstick in a dark salmon, burnt Siena color that does not feel very dry. It does not last all day but especially when you’re an avid coffee drinker like myself, it is almost impossible to find that perfect product. It goes on smoothly and fades evenly. It does not have a strong odor. It was my first DOC product and I am happy with the purchase but probably won’t run to buy another. I have found other products that are more pigmented and with a better-staying power. Rating: 🐷 < strong>Tarte Shape Tape Concealer (regularly $27.00) – There is no comparison for this product on the market that I have been able to find. This concealer, though limited by its shades especially for olive and darker skin tones, is a stay-all-day, no crease, non-oily, non-drying concealer. A little goes a long way so this is worth the splurge. I have even spoken with Sephora employees that flock to this product time and time again. With a little setting powder, you can get a full day out of the product. It is intense coverage without being heavy so it doesn’t clog my pores or affect my sensitive skin. This is a rebuy and I will continue to flock to this product. Rating: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷DevaCurl Melt Into Moisture Mask (regularly $36.00) –Β When you live in a climate that has very little humidity, some colder temperatures and work in an office with what seems like recirculated air, your hair starts to suffer. When you have those issues and have curly hair? Well, that’s just asking for trouble! I never had the need to deep condition as much as I do now and finding a product that was good to my hair (meaning free of parabens, sulfates, and other harmful chemicals), while still affordable and doesn’t leave my hair greasy enough to coat a frying pan…well, that was a challenge. However, I bought the sample size of this mask and both my husband and I used it several times now and I am so grateful for having this. It has a strong but mild scent that is very enjoyable -almost matcha green tea like. You do need to use a good helping depending on the length of your hair, but I find that if I make my hair just a tad damp, this product goes a bit farther. You can leave this on overnight (I’ve done that when my hair was super dry), leave it on for 20 minutes, use a heat cap, or leave your hair in a messy bun for however long you want and yes, I have tried all of these methods -my favorite is with a heated cap or a messy bun for a couple of hours.Β Rating: 🐷🐷🐷🐷

DevaCurl Super Cream (regularly $28.00) – This product was a bonus for me because my Ulta was selling liter bottles, with a free Super Cream, during a recent sale. So I definitely scored with this one because this is a great product. This is a coconut oil infused cream that does not weigh down your curl unless you want to stretch them out (it is all about application and styling). This helps control my frizz and actually gives my curls a little extraΒ oomph to be just a little bit tighter. My hair is soft, has movement and body and is really great for refresh days after I spray a little water on my hair.Β Rating:🐷🐷🐷🐷 DevaCurl One Conditioner (regularly $44.00) – With long curly hair, and a husband with tight curls, the liter size products are the only way to go! This is a daily conditioner that is packed with essentials oils and has a beautiful lemongrass scent; don’t worry though, the scent does not stay in the hair forever so you won’t get sick of it! It is a very thick conditioner with a lot of slip and contains olive oil to help strengthen and revive the shine in my curls.Β Rating:🐷🐷🐷

DevaCurl Low Poo (regularly $44.00) –Β Though this is technically marketed to “wavy” hair, I use this product versus the “No Poo” because I need a real cleanser. With the amount of deep conditioning, masks, and treatments that I do, along with the products that I use to keep my curls intact, I prefer a cleanser that will remove the build-up without damaging my hair. The “No Poo” is great and I have that too, but I needed something a little stronger on the cleansing side versus the conditioning. This scent is amazing and has a light lotus flower/citrus scent that wakes up the senses. It is a very mild lather that is gentle yet thorough. It does have rice protein so if you are protein-sensitive, this may not be the best option for you. Rating:🐷🐷🐷

DevaCurl Hairspray (regularly $25.00) –Β Sometimes you want that extra hold but gel won’t cut it. Sometimes you want to help speed up the drying process (yep, a little trade secret) because you don’t have 4 hours to wait for your hair to air dry. Sometimes you want to slick back those baby-hairs without locking them down when you rock an updo. This is a flexible hairspray so my hair is not crunchy but also not flying around everywhere. It again has protein so you should be careful if you are sensitive. It is lavender scented and the scent does linger so if you are sensitive to smells, this may not be ideal. The best part is that because it is a DevaCurl product, it is always sulfate, paraben and silicone free.Β Rating:🐷🐷🐷🐷

Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels (regularly $15.00) – This was a first time buy for me but this will not be the last! With my sensitive skin, finding products that help without hurting is tough. But my eyes were looking a little tired and puffy regardless of how much water I drank or sleep I got, so I needed to try something to help. These patches are cool to the touch so they almost immediately reduced the swelling. The peptides and botanical oils help improve blood flow making the dark circles look less visible. These, like most of my products, are paraben, sulfate, phthalate, petroleum, and mineral oil free.Β Rating:🐷🐷🐷 Mario Badescu Drying Lotion (regularly $17.00) – I want to think I have flawless skin, but being realistic, my skin has a break out here and there -especially during that monthly visit! So when I start to notice a little pimple popping up, I apply this drying lotion at night and wake up with a visibly reduced break-out. This is a repurchase for me and I will continue to use this product! This is a spot treatment with salicylic acid, calamine, and other drying ingredients. Don’t shake the bottle though! Just use a cotton swab and dip it in the product to apply to a certain spot, or two. Bonus: when you get a mosquito bite, applying this will help the itchiness and dry up the bubble very quickly!Β Rating: 🐷🐷🐷🐷


I hope this helps you on your next stop at Ulta! I will keep you updated on any future hauls and if any of the products are kicked from the top for something new!

Winter Product Flop

After moving to central California after living in southern Florida for a few years, my skin was responding well. My normally oily and sensitive skin was dry, flaky, sensitive and dull. The humidity is Florida is nothing to joke about but it was certainly good for my skin!

Well, fast forward to month 4 in the new climate and while I found some products that helped revive my skin, it was still not at its normal state. It was no longer dry but it wasn’t oily either -I guess my new normal was combination? Anyway, I wanted to find something to help slough off the dead skin cells and bring back that healthy glow. That’s when I had the bright idea to use my birthday coupon and gift card to Sephora to try another product from Peter Thomas Roth -whose masks and creams are amazing.

This toner is notated for all skin types and is meant to help reduce wrinkles, improve radiance and boost smoothness. It was recommended to use daily. But just because there are some directions on the box, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know your own body well enough to create your own regimen.

Because I knew my skin has always been sensitive, I started trying this out with one day yes and one day no. I had used Alpha Hydroxy Acids (or AHA’s) in the past and I knew I could tolerate it but this was a new product so I wanted to start slow. Day 1 was fine but I felt a little tingle -that’s normal when you apply a light acid topically, but no negative side effects. Day 2 (which technically was day 3 but you get the idea), I did the same thing -wash with my Clarisonic brush, apply toner, apply eye cream, apply moisturizer and hit the sack. The next morning my skin started to break out a bit but I though “hey, maybe it’s stress” so I went for day 3 of the product application… Well, after a week of every-other-day, I didn’t seem to have a bad reaction, so I thought, and bumped up my regimen to daily. Big mistake.

This was the result of back-to-back applications and please excuse the lack of makeup but I wanted to show the full effect:

That’s when I knew it was time to discontinue use immediately and try to fix the damage.

Thankfully I still had my Sephora receipt and their return policy is amazing. I walked in to my local store and was able to show the clerk what happened to my skin and without any further explanation, the product was returned and she said that it was probably too strong for my skin. Boy was she right!

I am now trying to mend the breakouts and rash with my tried and true products before trying anything new. I also am refraining from any makeup which makes me glad it’s a 3-day weekend and I don’t have to go back to the office till Tuesday!

In the end, I still love the Peter Thomas Roth line but I have to say that this product was a flop.

Until next time!