Tag: products

Packing.

With just a couple of weeks left, packing is what the majority of my day consists of now! I cannot believe how much stuff we accrue over time. I swear I did not have this many boxes when I moved to California just a couple of years ago. This is why I have to stay away from Home Goods.

That used to be my living room…

There are a few things that we have developed during this packing/move experience that we did not previously think of – yep, surprisingly since we considered ourselves experts… I wanted to share with you all those few items that we have recently purchased that have been helping us as we gear up for the big move! These are outside of the normal bubble wrap, packing paper, styrofoam dish separators, boxes, and whatnot; the items below are things we did not think of before which are coming in handy this time around!

  1. Vacuum bags – Sounds silly if you’re only moving a couple of hours away or down the road, but when you have to scramble to pack a closet and don’t want all of those items crumpled up or damaged in boxes along with the 1/2 bottle of perfume or leave-in conditioner…these vacuum bags are amazing! I was able to pack 3-drawers and 2 shelves worth of sweaters into one bag which condensed down nicely and will stay until I can unpack them. As we get closer, I will pack a few of my clothes that I’ll need easy access to as well so they are safe!
  2. Mattress Cover Bags – We have two mattresses, not counting the box springs, that we don’t want stained or damaged, so we opted to purchase these mattress bags that are thick and with a little tape, essentially seal up the mattress entirely so it stays safe, dry, and dirt-free!
  3. Sofa Covers – Kind of like the mattress covers, we want to make sure our sofa (or couch for some) is protected! Because we have an oversized sectional, we bought two since the branches do come apart. Now I just have to find an everyday sofa cover that fits to protect from everyday wear-n-tear.
  4. A hand truck – I bet you are wondering why we bought a hand truck when we could just rent one from U-Haul, but this will actually come in handy for more than just moving! We have a lot of heavier furniture AND regularly shop at Costco, so making it easier for us to haul those items around is always a good choice. This one is great too because it’ll serve as a standard hand truck or lay flat for larger pallet items like cases of water.
  5. TOTES – Okay, so I hear you…where are you going to stick those after the move? Well, we have of fragile items we have acquired through the years and even with all the bubble-wrap in the world, I wouldn’t feel comfortable putting some of those priceless items in a cardboard box. So we opted to purchase a few heavy-duty totes that will be repurposed for off-season clothing and other items we do not use every day. These will be stored in one of the closets and we have a closet outside (but attached our apartment) that we can store items in as well. These will definitely be reused (house-ward bound in the near future) and will protect those precious items just a bit better.

Moving is tough. Moving in a short amount of time is even tougher! But every little trick or hack or tip that we can apply, the better!

So inquiring minds want to know…Do you have any moving tips that we should know about? What is the worst part of moving for you? What is the best part?

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Healthy Home

So one of the steps I have looked at for my health journey is looking at the products I use in my home. Is that air freshener really good for me? Is there a better alternative to clean my furniture? Could there be a better way to organize my pantry items? How can I feel safer in my home and protect my family? I live in an apartment – how could I make improvements to save money every month?

Below are some items and techniques that I added to my home the past few months, have tested, and could not live without! Some were investments, some were quick fixes, but overall they all took my place from an apartment to my home.

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. While this does not impact your experience or cost with the product, if you purchase through my link, I do receive a small percentage. This allows me to continue bringing you original content and testing out new products. Photos are stock from the retailer’s website – they are not mine.

The first place I wanted to look for a healthier alternative is in the laundry. We all know this is one of the areas we neglect – mostly because we never quite seem to get around to the folding part. But after finding out just how bad those dryer sheets are for the skin, and how they actually repel water (which is the opposite of what you want your towels to do), I made the switch to these wool dryer balls. I bought the six-pack for cost effectiveness but also to give me options. I say options because I get to use my essential oils and customize my laundry scent. For example, lavender for my sheets and tangerine for my towels! They remove static and help reduce drying time because they are wool. They are reusable so one order from a year ago is still going!

This one is a double benefit because it is environmentally friendly and a cost saver! I bought these toilet tank bags in 2018 when I wanted to find a good way to start saving water (we have to pay for water every month) because I know that every flush is an exorbitant amount of water wasted. You’re literally flushing money down the toilet. I bought these tank bags, filled them with water, and placed them in the tank. That day, the amount of water expelled was significant which has reduced our water bill every month. And the best part is that they are holding up great even in the hard water. They are filled with water so they are reusable and conveniently clip to the side of the tank – never obstructing anything inside!

Though new to the house, this is something that I am not quite sure how I lived without! This is the Mealthy CrispLid for pressure cookers (like my instant pot). This is essentially an air fryer but without the need of buying an additional gadget. This allows us to enjoy our not so healthy foods in a much healthier way. We have already made “fried” chicken, french fries, tater tots, and a few other items! If you have an Instant Pot, or a pressure cooker of any kind, I highly recommend getting this!

I have these in BOTH of my crisper drawers and I am so glad I took the plunge to test these out. These are OXO Good Grips GreenSaver Standing Crisper Drawer Insert (2 Pack) and they are amazing little gadgets! So what are these? They are pyramid shaped containers that house enhanced carbon filters which absorb ethylene gas to keep produce fresh longer. And they really work! They will not keep the cucumber crisp for weeks but definitely a lot longer than without. In fact, I was able to get my lettuce to last 4 days longer having this than without them. And they are reusable so I have the filters auto-delivered every couple of months so I can keep my produce longer!

Back to that laundry conversation from earlier… If you ever do laundry at home and don’t want to throw that expensive sweater in the dryer or those jeans because if they shrink one more fraction of an inch, it’ll be WWIII when you try to put them on again…then you need this foldable laundry drying rack by Amazon Basics. It keeps my clothes from getting damaged in the dryer, reducing drying time, and folds up for easy storage!

I have two of these air purifiers by aer -one in each bedroom. They are compact, relatively noiseless and powerful. I even have the filters on auto-ship from Target because of the amount of dust and airborne particles. They have three speeds with the lowest being almost impossible to hear. The filters are easily replaceable and there is a date setting at the top to remind you when you changed and when you need to change the filters. These are great for small rooms, like a bedroom or office.

This compact steamer has been a staple in my home since late 2018 and is used often! I was honestly hesitant to get this because it is plastic but I needed to find an alternative for my husbands’ dress shirts as ironing was not cutting it. I also needed something to help me refresh garments that weren’t quite laundry mat material but not quite fresh either. So I took the plunge and bought this steamer for $25 and am so glad I did! This heats up quickly (within a minute) and the aluminum interior keeps the water hot the entire time you’re using it; the plastic exterior is easy to hold and doesn’t get hot. It even comes with a carrying case so you can take it with you when you travel because you know all those clothes are getting wrinkled in that suitcase!

Each of these products have helped us directly, or indirectly, start making our home a healthier place to live. I really am grateful that I had the opportunity to integrate these pieces into my home and have already purchased some of these several times over for gifts!

Inquiring minds want to know if you have found any household items that you simply cannot live without and how has it helped you? Comment down below!

Amazon Favorites – May

Halfway through the month and I’m just posting about May’s favorites! Well…at least it is better than last month…

As always, I will link the item I am speaking about, or at least the closet item to it!

Disclaimer: The photos used are stock from Amazon. The links provided are monetized. I would receive a percentage if you purchased through my affiliate link. Please note that the price does not change from mainstream Amazon.

I have to start off with an amazing new addition to my curly regimen! When I got my hair cut recently at Maggie’s Salon in Davie, Florida, my stylist Chanel was using something similar and with some trips coming up soon, I knew I had to try this. For only $14.99, this collapsible diffuser helps me get my hair dried faster than air drying or with the DevaCurl hand diffuser (which is amazing for roots). Click here to order one for yourself!

If you know me, for the past couple of years I have used a wallet case for my iPhone. I loved the fact that I didn’t have to bring a purse with me but could go with just my phone. Yet I finally reverted back and broke out the purse, so I needed a new case. Cue in this gem. For only $13.99, this case has protected my phone and is so thin, you barely realize it is on! Even my husband got one!

In order to sleep soundly at night, I need two things – 1) a cold room but warm bed and 2) lavender. This plug in is amazing! The Mediterranean lavender is not as sweet as the regular scent but provides almost a musk like concoction. And for $12.97 for a one-time purchase, why have you not yet tried it? You will really enjoy this scent combo! Click here to try it.

Are you spending your money on organic produce when you grocery shop? Do you hate the amount of plastic you end up throwing away when you put all your items away? We really are becoming more conscientious of our produce and of the items we put into our body so when I thought about how much money I spent on organic items but then stuffed it into a plastic bag with chemicals and coloring, I realized how I was flushing my money down the toilet. I bought these and my goodness they are great and a LOT larger than you would expect. There is no extra charge and each comes with a tare tag so the cashier can balance out for the correct produce weight (no up-charge)! These can be washed too so I’m not afraid to use it for potatoes or other items! I definitely recommend purchasing at least one set for $13.99 (currently with a 5% discount coupon)!

Have you ever walked out of the house and realized you forgot a bunch of items or forgot what it was you needed to buy at the store even though you knew you weren’t going to forget? With a lot of chaos going on right now, I needed that little extra reminder and as much as I like technology, I prefer writing it down – trust me that it really works better for memory that way! I bought this for my front door which is metal so that I, or my husband, can leave little reminder notes. It has helped a lot especially when it comes to groceries that need to be picked up that day for a special recipe. It was only $13.99 and came with the pen set which does not leave behind residue. You can purchase one too for the fridge, locker, or front door!

This is my new beauty secret! For months I have gone back and forth, debating if I was going to get this, but after having a cryofacial and realizing my skin has been a little dramatic lately, I wanted to introduce something new. This quartz roller is lightweight but firm which also helps press in my oils to seep into my skin better. I use the stone (Guasha scraping tool) for nights and the roller (which I keep in the freezer) for mornings. The instant depuffing is great while helping promote collagen production! Bonus was the mask brush so there is less waste every time I get to sneak in a little me-time. For $17.99, it is one of the best I have found on Amazon for its price and effectiveness. I highly recommend at least trying the roller! You can click here to take a look!

So what have you tried lately or splurged on? Any questions about the items above? Want to see the roller in action? Comment below!

Curly Hair 102 – Dangers Lurking in our Products

It seems that in the past couple of years, being natural and embracing ones curls has become the “in” trend. I happen to think that us curly girls were just too darn tired to keep straightening our hair and too broke to keep paying someone else to do it. I know I personally haven’t straightened my hair, personally or professionally, in 7 years.

On top of embracing ones natural state, it seems that being conscientious of the types of products we use is also a part of everyday vocabulary now. We went from using whatever was on sale at the grocery store, to selectively “canceling” brands because of their chemical components.

Recently, I have come to learn that even in our most treasured and talked about lines, there are chemicals lurking that we need to know more about and stay away from if possible. Now, before you go on that soap box and tell me about how some of these chemical compounds already exist naturally and we consume them in other ways, I have to say while you are right, if I can avoid even 1% more of that formaldehyde or other carcinogen, I will.

So without further ado, lets cover the top 8 chemicals that you should avoid when purchasing your next leave-in conditioner, hair gel, or styling cream…

  1. Silicone – This is pretty obvious and I am sure you are tired of hearing about it but just to cover the basics, silicones are found in a lot of different forms. This is a form of plastic and yes, you have heard of silicone breast implants, so why would you put this in your hair? It has some benefits like producing shine and slip (translates to easy to comb through) but it also weighs down your hair and produces a film that prevents other products from helping your hair including water and oxygen.
    Types of silicones: When reading a label, look for a compound that typically ends in “-cone” like dimethicone, methicone, cyclomethicone or sometimes a combo item like: phenyl trimethicone or dimethicone copolyol
  2. Sulfates: So if you have used a silicone, and as I just mentioned, silicones prevent water from penetrating, then you need some even more abrasive -enter sulfates. This is the chemical that is used often in shampoos and creates that lathering and bubbly effect. It works by lifting the cuticle of the hair and stripping it of any product or natural oils which results in long-term dryness, brittleness, and even scalp irritation. You know where else you find sulfates? In your laundry detergent or dishwashing soap. Would you wash your hair with a Tide pod or Dawn?
    Then skip a shampoo that has any variation of sulfates including, but not limited to: sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), sodium lauryl sulfoacetate, sodium cocoyl isoethionate, or
    disodium laureth sulfosuccinate. In other words, look for an ingredient that ends in “-ate”.
  3. Alcohol: I have to say that not all alcohols are bad, but think about the last time that you had a few too many drinks. How did you feel later on that night or the next day? Think beyond the headache to the dehydration. The same thing happens with your hair! Alcohols in hair products will help evaporate the natural oils in your hair leaving it dry and brittle overtime.
    Look for ingredients that end in “-ol” such as: ethanol alcohol, ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, isopropanol alcohol. Even if the the “alcohol” word is not there, the base of the chemical is still an alcohol compound.
  4. Parabens: This is another hot discussion item but what exactly is a paraben? Parabens are chemicals that are added to extend the shelf life of a product. These are often also linked to cancer and serve as a harmful carcinogen.
    Look for ingredients that end in “-yl” like: methyl, propyl, butyl, or ethyl. These are also often overlooked or regarded as an alcohol.
  5. Urea: I know some of you read that as a bodily secretion of sorts but really it is another form of preservatives, like parabens, that extend the product’s shelf life. These types of chemicals are linked to skin irritation, flakiness, and even dermatitis. Worse yet is when this is aggravated through heat. When these types of chemicals are exposed to heat, which could be as little as your hair dryer when you diffuse, they break down to even more harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde.
    These are often easy to spot on an ingredients list: diazoldinyl urea or imidazolidinyl urea.
  6. Formaldehyde: I know when I first learned that some of my curly hair products had the same thing that is used when a person dies to embalm the body, I knew this was something I had to avoid. Formaldehyde is used for the same purpose as when it is used for a body – preservation. Yet another cheap ingredient like parabens or urea, this chemical has been known to cause cancer, heart palpitations, infections, and many other health conditions.
    You can find this on your ingredient list in many different ways including: formalin, formic aldehyde, methanediol, methanal, or methyl aldehyde.
  7. Mineral Oil: If you are Curly Girl Method (CGM) or even if you have followed me on IG or in earlier posts, you know that oil + curly hair = a great equation! BUT there are some oils that are actually damaging to your hair such as mineral oil. This is an inexpensive form of oil that does not live up to its name – it is not moisturizing and is often too heavy for hair and weighs the hair down so it is lifeless and greasy. It also causes a lot of build-up on the scalp. It may feel nice because it has a lot of slip but it will have a negative impact in the long run.
    While you will see “mineral oil” as its own ingredient, you may also see its sister compounds like lanolin or petroleum (yep, just like Vaseline).
  8. Perfume: We all want to smell good and usually are persuaded to buy products simply because it may remind us of homemade cookies, our tropical vacation, or what we project romance to smell like. However, putting on products that are full of perfumes is actually damaging to your hair for a few reasons. First off, many bases to perfumes is an alcohol, which as we already discussed, dries out the hair. Secondly, perfumes are often compounded to be concentrated in that 10oz container and if you have any skin sensitivity, you could experience scalp irritation, itchy/watery eyes, rash, dandruff, or other side effects very quickly.
    Typically the ingredient list will simply state “perfume” or “fragrance” in the list so if you can find something with natural scents, you are definitely better off.

So, that’s a long list but what prompted me to start researching and posting this is what I found in one product that I specifically used almost daily – DevaCurl Styling Cream

DevaCurl SUPERCREAM® Coconut Curl Styler

Ingredients:
Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Glycerin, Hydroxpropyl Starch Phosphate, Cetrimonium Chloride, Behentrimonium Chloride, PPG-3 Benzyl Ether Myristate, Ethyl Macadamiate, Laureth-4, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Protein, Panthenol, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Extract, Humulus Lupulus (Hops) Extract, Melissa Officinalis Extract, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Extract, Achillea Millefolium Extract, Lauryldimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Lauryldimonium Hydroxypropyl Wheat Starch, Propylene Glycol, Ceteareth-20, Disodium EDTA, Aminomethyl Propanol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Fragrance.

While I enjoyed the fragrance component (it reminded me of sitting on the beach in the Caribbean), I need to be careful with my sensitive skin. However worst yet is the urea, especially since I often diffuse my hair with the hair dryer. Knowing that this breaks down into formaldehyde and knowing that this could cause unwanted health defects, I have stopped using this altogether and have decided to no longer purchase DevaCurl products personally. Why? It doesn’t stop at the styling cream. The shampoos and conditioners also have harmful ingredients like the No-Poo Original Zero Lather Conditioning Cleanser has diazolidinyl urea and iodopropynyl butylcarbamate.

So moral of the story is that I am moving beyond DevaCurl for other brands that may have more organic and safe ingredients. And while I know I cannot avoid everything all of the time, if I can make one swap, and even save some money in the process, I will because my health is more important to me than perfect hair.

Have you heard about these ingredients before? Do you read the label of your hair care products before purchasing? Did it surprise you that DevaCurl had some less than ideal ingredients? Comment below and lets continue the conversation!