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: 🎋🎋🎋

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: 🎋🎋🎋🎋

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.


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) – 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. 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 extra 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. 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. Rating:🐷🐷🐷

DevaCurl Low Poo (regularly $44.00) – 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) – 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. 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. 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! 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!

First Impression…Very Impressed!

Normally when it comes to trying mascara, I am very hesitant because I have sensitive eyes and if the mascara flakes, my eyes will react very badly. However, I opted to give this one a real try because the L’Oreal brand has proven to be fairly reliable in the past. Well, when I first got it, the package did not do it justice because it looks like an old tube of mascara that just got re-packaged. Then I opened the tube and that brush looks like a medieval torture device especially if I was going to attempt my bottom lashes at all. Right out of the tube, the product was clumpy and did have a bit of a typical mascara smell but I still applied one coat to give it a fair chance.
As you can see by the photos below, the bottom shot (excuse my sleep deprived eyes) has no product and after ONE coat, my lashes look longer and fuller -even my bottom lashes! This product truly separated, curled, and added volume to my normally long but thin lash lines. You have to have a steady hand as the brush is not the most user-friendly. However, there was almost no fallout from the mascara even after 10 hours! It also removed easily without heavy makeup remover.
Overall, I would give this a very high 9 as I would like to give it a few more tries before making my final determination (especially to see what happens to the formula upon oxidation) but so far, as a first impression, this is amazing!image1

Nutrition Bar – Zone Perfect

On a journey to find something healthy, something quick, and something tasty, I have been started the daunting task of buying different nutrition/protein bars. Below is my review of Zone Perfect Nutrition Bar.

Let me first start off with information on the product as can be found on Amazon:

  • PROTEIN: ZonePerfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Nutrition Energy bars are packed with 10 grams of protein to keep you going through your day
  • VITAMINS: A good source of 18 vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants (Vitamins C, E, and Selenium) to help support your immune system
  • FLAVOR: Chunks of chocolate inside, drizzles of chocolate outside and the delicious doughy texture of cookie dough all throughout
  • INGREDIENTS: Our snack bars do not contain any artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols

Also, here is a list of their ingredients:

Brown Rice Syrup, Corn Syrup, Chocolate Drops (Sugar, Chocolate Liquor, Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla), Sodium Caseinate, Soy Protein Isolate, Sweet Cream Layer (Corn Syrup, Fructose, Palm Kernel Oil, Milk Protein Isolate, Natural Flavor, Salt, Soy Lecithin), Whey Protein Isolate, Brown Sugar, Pasteurized Whole Egg Powder, Fructose Syrup, Chocolate Flavored Coating (Sugar, Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil, Cocoa Powder [Processed with Alkali], Soy Lecithin, Nonfat Milk Powder, Vanilla), Glycerine, Less than 2% of the Following:, High Oleic Safflower Oil and/or High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Butter Powder (Butter [Cream, Salt], Nonfat Milk, Tocopherols, Ascorbyl Palmitate), Calcium Phosphate, Peanut Butter, Natural Flavor, Chocolate Powder (Natural Cocoa Powder, Sugar, Chocolate Liquor, Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla), Salt, Vitamin & Mineral Blend (Calcium Phosphate, Ascorbic Acid [Vit. C], Magnesium Oxide, dl-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate [Vit. E], Niacinamide [Vit. B3], Zinc Oxide, Calcium Pantothenate [Vit. B5], Ferrous Fumarate [Iron], Pyridoxine Hydrochloride [Vit. B6], Vitamin A Palmitate, Riboflavin [Vit. B2], Thiamine Mononitrate [Vit. B1], Folic Acid [Vit. B9], Chromium Chloride, Biotin [Vit. B7], Sodium Selenite, Sodium Molybdate, Cyanocobalamin [Vit. B12])

So now on to the actual review!

I bought these (thanks, Target) on a whim as I had heard of the Zone Diet and was intrigued that this came in several flavors including chocolate chip cookie dough and double dark chocolate. For those of you that do not know about the Zone Diet, you can click here for some information but essentially, like all diets, its mission is weight loss, its claim to fame is that you balance your hormone levels/blood sugar while staying “in the zone” and its process is complicated! I am definitely not advocating the Zone Diet, but I figured the bars were worth a try…

Now if you’ve ever had a meal replacement bar, a protein bar, or a “nutrition bar” you know those things can get hard like rocks, chewy like gum, or taste like chalk! Now, these bars actually taste good but my goodness are they sweet! Yes, I know I went for chocolate chip cookie dough but 18g of sugar in 1.58oz (45g) of a bar???? That’s 40% of the bar being nothing but sugar! How that adheres to the “zone diet” I have no idea because it must send your blood sugar levels through the roof! And yes, I know they say their bars “do not contain any artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols” which seems true. However, in the ingredients list is sugar and other sweet items like well, chocolate. Okay, let me say though that the bars do taste good overall and they are chewy without being rubbery!

Final thoughts – Would I buy these again? No. It’s not that they did not taste good but I do not feel full or sustainable after eating these. Typically a bar with 10-12g of protein should leave you feeling a bit more full than these do. Also, I am not one for sweets (I totally prefer savory snacks) so the fact that these are so sweet are a bit of a turnoff for me. I have also tried these pre- and post- workout and again, I do not feel satisfied so I am prone to eat again which is counterintuitive.

Cost – $15.99/12 bars (Amazon) or $8.99/10 (Target)


Online Health Food Markets – What Saves You More

With summer quickly approaching -and by summer I mean actual beach weather, people are dieting like crazy to be swimsuit ready. These diets tend to consist of healthier food options but the problem is how that all affects the wallet! Even if you go to your local grocery store, you rarely see a sale on fresh produce but you will almost always see a sale and half down the chips and soda aisle.

So what options do we have when we need to eat healthier AND manage our crazy schedules? I have scouted 2 online retailers to compare their prices on a few items and see which one came out on top. The 2 online retailers are Thrive Market and Amazon. Ready?

Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil Mayo – 12 oz jar
Thrive Market – $7.45
Amazon – $14.28

Calbee Non-GMO Lightly Salted Snapea Crisps Snacks
Thrive Market – $1.45 (3.3 oz bag)
Amazon – $17.99 (6 x 3.3 oz = $2.99/bag)

Mavuno Harvest Organic Dried Jackfruit
Thrive Market – $6.95 (6 oz bag)
Amazon – $26.45 (6 x 2.0 oz = $13.23/bag)

Lundberg Farms Rice Chips – Fiesta Lime
Thrive Market – $2.45 (6 oz bag)
Amazon – $26.62 (24 x 1.5 oz = ~$4.44/bag)

Thrive Market – $8.95 (17.6 oz package)
Amazon – $15.95 (17.6 oz package)

Thrive Market – $2.25 (6 oz box)
Amazon – $36.34 (12 x 6 oz = ~$3.03/box)

Now keep in mind that Amazon’s prices do change frequently AND they offer 2-day shipping to Prime members so that is important to keep in mind. Also, Amazon is well known for their price-matching should the item you bought change in price within a couple of days.

Additionally, and this is key, Thrive Market does require a membership similar to Sam’s Club, BJ’s or Costco which needs to be paid annually. Also, your order has to be over $49 to qualify for free shipping so buying items one at a time is not cost effective. Lastly, Thrive Market DOES offer a free 30-day trial period and a free grocery item (mine was a jar of coconut oil).

End result? Thrive Market is the clear winner. I have purchased items from them previously and have been very happy with their selection, delivery, and packaging. One item I bought was in a glass jar so it was wrapped with bubble wrap, saran wrap, paper filling, and carefully sorted among the other items so it wouldn’t crack. This key to detail far surpasses other online retailers I have worked with in the past.

Lastly, I wanted to note that this is NOT a sponsored post and I am not in any way affiliated with Thrive Market other than having been a customer on my own journey to healthier food selections.

Sometimes you just need to smile

As you all know, my blog is not just about beauty products or hair care (though I’m sure you are just awaiting the arrival of that satin pillowcase), but also life. So today’s post is about dental care and treatment.

A few months ago, I wrote a post about my journey testing oil pulling and if there was any changes or developments with my teeth. Regrettably, that was an epic fail and actually caused more adverse effects than positive results. However this was just a brief detour from my oral health journey.

In March 2016, after getting a filling done and my impacted wisdom teeth pulled, I started Invisalign. Never having worn braces before (and not for a lack of needing it) and having only seen the 1 commercial with the teacher smiling like some robot and then going to her birthday dinner with the same shit faced smile, I did not know what to expect. How would two flimsy pieces of plastic fix my jacked up teeth, overbite, and bunching? Hesitant and pretty confident I just got swindled into paying a lot of money, I started my treatment. The process is certainly an uphill battle and caused a lot of pain, some blisters, and a few migraines, but I can now say that I am officially done and literally cried when I saw the results for myself.

Prior to Invisalign, I was able to take my entire thumb, sideways, and place it between my upper jaw and lower jaw when I closed my mouth…that’s how big my overbite was! Prior to Invisalign, my hygiene practices were subpar but now I floss daily, brush twice, gargle, and have whiter teeth than ever before. Prior to Invisalign, I would rarely be caught smiling with my teeth showing because I was so self conscious that I thought I never left elementary school and all my colleagues and peers still saw me as Bucktooth Daniela. Prior to Invisalign, I grinded my teeth to the point that TMJ issues are just the tip of the iceberg -no pun intended.

Now I am on my retainers and continuing the journey to fix what was wrong from my childhood days. Two crowns, a root canal, redone fillings, and customized retainers all mean that I am taking the time to take care of me and am reaping the rewards.

So you’re wondering what the heck is she talking about and why, right? Well, I know that there are a lot of people that are considering Invisalign but are hesitant because of the cost and are probably thinking similar thoughts as I did that there is no way those plastic toys will work. But I am telling you that they work AND force you to take better care of yourself than you ever did before. So start small and teach yourself that you do need to come first sometimes. And do not keep putting off what you know needs your attention today.

Curly Hair – Do’s & Don’ts


When you think of a beautiful woman, standing at the beach, staring into the sunset, and catching the ocean breeze billowing through her long tresses, what does that look like to you? For me, that is a caramel blonde with long, straight hair who looks photoshopped during the ocean breeze and photoshopped immediately after. For me, that is a straight up hysterical fantasy because these curls will never look like that effortless image.

So does that mean I hate my hair? Not at all! At least not anymore. I can’t say the same was believed by 5 or 13 year old me. But now I have been able to embrace my differences and one of them happens to be my hair. I have dark brown curls that tend to take on a personality completely of their own.

And this was after I cut off a bunch!

After decades of trying to tame my mane, I have decided it was time to embrace each curl, kink, wave, or whatever else my hair wants to do that day. So what do I do to keep myself from pulling a 2007 Britney Spears-esque style modification? I have developed multiple curly hair hacks that really work and really help keep my hair easy to maintain and looking effortless!

  1. Do not use cotton pillowcases or towels! Cotton is an abordbant material that wicks out the moisture that curly hair needs, especially the natural oils that your tips are already lacking.
    1. DO use satin/silk pillowcases and microfiber towels. Satin/silk pillowcases will allow your hair to maintain its moisture while also being slippery enough to reduce the number of late-night knotting. Microfiber towels will soak up the excess water while letting your hair keep its adequate level of moisture.
    2. Don’t have either and don’t want to shell out the cash just yet? I use a t-shirt when I travel that has the same priciple for my hair in that it does not tug, snag, or overdry my hair. I also have a satin sleeping cap that I got at the DOLLAR STORE which serves a simliar purpose to the pillowcase while keeping all of my hair out of my face and off my neck.
  2. Do NOT wash your hair every day. It’s been said before and I’ll say it again -everytime you use shampoo, you are stripping your hair of the pollutants, dust, product build-up, and other gunk but you are also stripping your hair of its natural oils which prevents frizz and maintains curl ringlets.
    1. DO wash your hair every 3 days or so. And try cowashing instead of your standard shampoo. Cowashing is a cleansing conditioner that cleans your hair withou the soapy suds so there is little to no moisture removal. You will need to detox your hair once a month with a solid cleansing shampoo that you’ll follow up with conditioner but the less you strip your hair, the healthier it becomes!
  3. Do NOT use a brush…ever. Brushing will go against your curl pattern and cause frizz and breakage.
    1. DO untangle your hair with your fingers or a wide-tooth comb only. Better yet? Do it while you’re in the shower and your hair is still sopping wet rather than dry and prone to breakage. I have also used a detangling brush after a particularly intense hair styling session but try to limit the use overall.
  4. Do NOT dry your hair with a standard hair dryer. No, I’m not telling you to spend $500 on a “new” hair dryer with fancy lights and buttons. However using a standard dryer will localize the heat and over dry your hair which can lead to burning and breakage.
    1. DO use a diffuser as you do not want to target heat on any strand of your hair -the more you can spread the heat around the faster you can dry without overdrying. If you want some volume, diffuse your hair upside down!
  5. Do NOT skip the leave-in conditioner. Curly hair has this knack of twisting and turning which means the natural oils from your scalp don’t tend to make it to your tips which leads to frizz and anger.
    1. DO use products meant for your curl type and make sure you use the right amount to fill in the gaps that nature missed! Depending on how thick and tight your curl is, you will may use different products than your neighboring curly-haired friend but please take prudence on how much product you use. If the directions say dime-size for shoulder length hair and your hair goes a bit farther, try a quarter size at most; over-saturating your hair will leave it flat and oily.
  6. Do NOT to straight to bed without some maintence. After a long day, your hair is just as tired as you are and needs some particular TLC.
    1. DO develop a nighttime routine just as you do for your face. Using a good oil on the tips of your hair will seal the dry cuticles and prevent knotting and frizz. And yes, I said oil so you can go and buy Moroccan Oil or use that coconut oil that you have laying around somewhere.
  7. Do NOT neglect your monthly hair duties.
    1. Curly hair needs to be pampered. Once a month, after detoxing your hair, follow up with a good hair masque. I personally use olive oil, coconut oil, and honey and let that sit for a couple of hours, or overnight if your hair is particularly thirsty, and rinse. This masque will reinvigorate your hair while adding luster and controling that dandruff issue you don’t want to talk about.
  8. Do NOT forget to cut those locks once in a while.
    1. Once you found a salon that you like, and in order to do so, call around and make sure they have stylists that work with curly hair if the salon is not exclusively for curly hair, make an appointment every 3-6 months depending on your length. Now I will tell you that I finally found a salon by me that is AMAZING with curly hair and specializes in just that. It took me years to find a place that did not tell me “Oh wow. You have a lot of hair.” If your stylist ever says that and looks like a deer in headlights -RUN!
  9. Do NOT use standard hair ties.
    1. Standard hair ties will tug and break your hair. It may be a little 1980’s but if you are putting your hair up for a gym workout or a lazy-day do (gotta love a top bun), then add some extra conditioner and use a scrunchy or non-elastic tie. I personally use a lot of bobby pins to achieve my updo’s!

Let me know if you have tried any of these hair hacks & tips and if they worked for you! Got any more hacks or tips to share – c’mon curly-heads…lets share the wealth!

Weight Loss & Adding Protein – Fad or Fab?

As I am starting to turn over a new leaf and get myself ready for summer, I am investigating methods and programs to help turn flab to fab. Yet my schedule seem to keep getting busier and my drive to hit that gym or pop in that workout DVD is getting lower. So what can I do? Well, step 1) turn to the internet and TV and our friends for advise on any health fads to help us shed the pounds with the least amount of investment and step 2) investigate if they work!

One way that has taken mainstream media by storm is the introduction of protein. Now by protein I don’t mean in terms of fish or eggs or meat or diary. The protein I’m referring to comes in the form of a powder or a pre-mixed drink! And gross, I don’t mean blending your eggs and fish into a smoothie with kale (a topic for another day), I mean protein enhanced drinks and powders that promise a world of a difference with one gulp at a time.

How many different types of protein am I really referring to? Lets list them, shall we?

1) Whey Protein – this is originally derived from milk and is the leading type of protein that is used in supplemental shakes. It is often sold in a powder form and is believed to enhance the immune system. It is also the least expensive type of protein powder and is often enhanced to have better taste by the introduction of flavorings like chocolate or coffee or vanilla. Whey protein also comes in two varieties:

  • a) Whey Concentrate
  • b) Whey Isolate

Yep, so you get twice as confused when you head over to your nutrition store or order online. The main difference between the two? Whey concentrate, like the name states, is concentrated so it is less expensive and has a lower dose of lactose.On the other hand, Whey Isolate has almost no fat and typically has little to no lactose.

2) Casein or Milk Protein – Yep, so this is not to be confused with whey protein which is also a milk derivative. Whey and Casein actually make up whole milk on a 20 to 80 ratio. Casein, unlike Whey, is slowly absorbed by the body releasing amino acids more steadily. This form of protein has been noted by researchers to be the better option for those that are active while Whey is more aligned with stimulating protein synthesis during periods of rest.

3) Egg White Protein – So the name gives it away, but this protein is the old time go-to for protein supplement. Though the taste is horrid in comparison to the flavor-enhanced whey and casein proteins, egg white protein has the same low levels of fat and carbs. So perhaps this is an option if you must stay away from dairy.

4) Plant Protein – Instead of listing out each one, this cumulative “plant protein” concept includes protein from plants like soy, rice, or pea. Vegetarian or Vegan? This is the option that is selected most by people that cannot have dairy or are staying away from animal products. They provide the same amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants as their competitors. However, these also provide their plant-benefits so for example, soy protein also has isoflavones which provides added antioxidants and has heart benefits.

5) Beef Protein – Saved for last as it is most commonly used by bodybuilders, as is beef in general. Beef protein, as the name suggests, is derived from beef but is also sorted down to remove high levels of fat and cholesterol while also introducing a flavoring like chocolate or vanilla. In addition to the protein benefit, this protein also offers creatine (which is an organic acid that provides energy to the cells of the body, specifically muscle).

So that’s the list but what does it mean and do you need added protein in your diet? Since most of us are not athletes or body building, please keep in mind that I am speaking to and for average consumers. That means that the following are reasons why the average person is suggested to consume that protein concoction:

  1. You’re not done growing – You are a teenager whose body needs protein as fuel for your muscles to continue to grow.
  2. You’re not done growing – You are an adult that is looking to grow more muscle mass.
  3. You’re not done growing – You have decided that running on the treadmill is not enough and you want to participate in a marathon. Amped up workouts, or workouts that are beyond one’s normal regimen, would require additional fuel in the form of protein.
  4. You’re done growing but you got hurt – Protein feeds your muscles and helps them heal so if you’re in recovery, protein helps the healing process.
  5. You’re vegan – Nothing wrong with this lifestyle, but there are certain minerals and vitamins that are not readily obtainable if you gave up all meant and animal products,so you need to supplement your diet.

So back to the original question… Do you need protein? Yes. Do you need protein to lose weight? Not really. Do you need to shell out big bucks or jump on various company bandwagons to get protein? Nope.

Again, protein is for your muscles and even lean muscle needs fuel, but if you are looking to tone or drop a few pounds, you could probably get away with just introducing some more fish or nuts to your diet. Now, if you are trying to increase muscle mass or have changed up your routine altogether, or heck, if you are in the NBA or NFL, then yes, please invest in the right protein supplement for you.

 Shaw, G. (n.d.). Protein Powder: What You Should Know. Retrieved January 11, 2016, fromhttp://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/protein-powder

Taylor, M. G. (n.d.). Choosing a Protein Powder – Nutrition Express Articles. Retrieved January 11, 2016, fromhttp://www.nutritionexpress.com:9080/article+index/authors/mark+g+taylor+ms/showarticle.aspx?articleid=896

Volek, J. S. (n.d.). Whey vs Casein: Which one best maintains muscle mass? Retrieved January 11, 2016, fromhttp://www.nutritionexpress.com:9080/article+index/authors/jeff+s+volek+phd+rd/showarticle.aspx?articleid=1082

Waist trainers – Worthwhile or a waste?

We have been hearing about these devices for the past few months, even years, like it is a new concept and has miraculous results. So…even though the Kardashians, and other actresses, swear by it, is a waist trainer worthwhile or just a waste?

For those of you that are not 100% sure what a waist trainer is, please just take 2 minutes, go to Google.com and search the term. I’ll wait. Got it? Okay, so now that we are on the same page to what this is I will confirm your first suspicion -yes, it looks like a torture device and yes, this is exactly what you remember Shakespearean actors being tied up in back in the day.

So that leads to me next point – these waist trainers are essentially corsets and bustiers that are on steroids. The concept of these waist trainers are exactly what their predecessors were made for -cinch the waist, enhance the cleavage, and make the woman appear like an anatomical fluke. The waist trainers of today claim that by wearing these for extended period of time, your body will actually morph -not through any exercise, diet, or surgery but only by wearing this contraption, into an hourglass shape that will be permanent.

So…this post is to scour the research and confirm if any of these claims are true or if these devices are just fads.

Waist trainers are meant to only be worn for a couple of hours a day and not during vigorous exercise. Why? Physicians and health care professionals are going on blast stating that cinching your waist beyond healthy parameters is actually putting pressure on organs which can cause long term damage. Dr. Caroline Apovian, of Boston University School of Medicine, reported to Health.com that “there’s no evidence” that these devices even do anything once you take off the super tight bandage. Additionally, these are hazardous to your health as it causes discomfort when it is too tight which can disrupt breathing or lead to heartburn if the stomach is pushed up beyond the diaphragm (MacMillan, 2015). Less severe that putting pressure on the rib cage, lungs, stomach, and diaphragm would be the damage that these kind of devices cause to your skin. Think of it like this – if you were to wrap your stomach with an bandage to enhance sweating and drop a couple of inches of water weight repeatedly, your skin would suffer and eventually cause a rash, acne, or other irritations that could get infected. Lastly, these trainers are meant to cinch the waist and give an hourglass figure but if you workout in these, real trainers and health care providers have stated that the core is actually weakened as it is not used properly which can also damage the spine (MacMillian, 2015; Ross, 2015).

So…waist trainer… Does it give you a temporary new figure? Yep. Should you wear it if you need that extra boost of confidence for a photo shoot or even a special occasion? Perhaps. However, wearing these long term can cause a lot of irritation and problematic health conditions. So is it really worth the look or should you invest a little extra time at the gym? In my opinion, this is a fad that needs to be put to rest. Our ancestors from the 1500s were not fans and neither am I. Cut the latex and spandex for a little more effort.