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The Shower As Therapy: ESSIO Essential Oil Kit (and giveaway)

I admit that I use my shower as therapy. A long, hot shower works for me when I have a nasty cold (or allergies this Fall) and am all stuffed up and congested. For me, that usually means I also have a headache.  I’m also known to take a long, hot shower to relax before bed or to “wash off” a bad day.  I figure it’s cheaper than a therapist’s appointment and I can stay in the comfort of my own home.  ESSIO must know me pretty well, because they sent me one of their essential oil shower kits to try out and it includes several organic oil blends: Breathe (which decongests and opens) and Unwind (which releases stress and helps calm the mind).  Passion is also included which sounds like fun, but I haven’t tried it yet.

ESSIO Essential Oil Shower Kit

So what is ESSIO? It’s an ingenious system that diffuses organic essential oils into your shower, creating a relaxing (or invigorating) spa in your own home.  It comes with an arm that literally clips onto your shower. (No tools or tricky installation – YAY!) You then insert the pod of your choice onto the arm and it hangs over into your shower spray. Voila – you are done.  When you have finished your shower, you unclip the pod, cap it, and put it back on the holding tray.

essio installed

I’ll admit that when I first heard the idea, I had a few concerns:

Oil in the shower? Sounds like a slipping hazard!!  I’m not exactly known for being graceful, so creating an oil slick in the bathtub could have proved fatal for me. But no worries, the oils do not create an oil slick on your tub (or on your skin or hair if you were worried about that). The amount that comes out is very small, so not worries.

I hate strong smells in my cosmetics.  Being prone to migraines, strong artificial smells can be a trigger for me. These are perfect for me because 1) the aroma is just enough without being overpowering and 2) it’s an all natural essential oil, so no artificial smelling scents here!

I’m going to be replacing the pod every single shower.  With my hay fever being at an all time high right now, I have been using the Breathe pod almost exclusively this week. I’ve had it on for five whole showers (you can turn it off by tipping the pod up if you have had enough) and there is still quite a bit left in the pod.

My only little, tiny pet peeve is that I can’t refill the pods with my own essential oils.  ESSIO explained that each oil has its own drip rate, so it would be hard to know how other oils would perform in their pods, and that does make sense!  Luckily they have 6 fabulous blends to choose from and I am looking forward to trying out every one!

Want to try an ESSIO system yourself?  They are giving one away RIGHT NOW so hurry over and enter!!

essio enter here

Permanent Hair Removal at Home with the Silk’n Flash&Go #SilknProducts

Silkn Go Hair Removal System

My morning routine is probably a little out of control.  Between showering, shampooing, conditioning, putting on make-up, blow drying, and either straightening or curling, it takes me forever to get myself out the door in the morning. Add shaving to the routine and you have to tack on even more time.  But with light skin and dark hair, skipping that step isn’t really an option for me.

Or at least it wasn’t until I found an at home permanent hair removal system that really works.

permanent at home hair removal

A few years back, I splurged and went to my local medi-spa to have laser hair removal done on my armpits. Every time I shaved them, I would wind up with ingrown hairs, a rash, and putting on deodorant stung like the dickens. (Also a step I’m not willing to skip!) It took about 3 or 4 treatments and I was thrilled with the results – hair free and no more shaving!  I would have loved to have kept going and done other body parts as well – especially my legs!  The cost was prohibitive though, so I gave up the idea.

When I was at a Home and Housewares show last year, I saw a system that you could use at home. Rather than using lasers (which could be dangerous), it uses light.  I was intrigued and  thought it might be the solution I had been hoping for – if it worked.  When I was recently offered a unit to try myself, I couldn’t say yes fast enough.

The Silk’n Flash&Go uses HPL technology which has been used since 2009 and is FDA cleared for permanent hair removal/reduction for the entire body. It is easy and safe to use with very little discomfort. The head of the device provides a nice large treatment area so that it takes less time to treat larger areas. You can even upgrade to the “lux” cartridge for a lifetime worth of flashes which means you’ll never have to purchase another hair removal item – ever.

silkn flash go hair removal device

Now, unfortunately, the Silk’n Flash&Go is not perfect for everyone.  Those with darker skin, tattoos, eczema, psoriasis, lesions, open wounds, or light/white hair are not encouraged to use it. While having light skin and dark hair usually feels like a curse, it is actually preferred when using this type of hair removal as it makes it easier for the light to “find” the hair follicle. Because of this, I may have experienced faster results than you would, depending on your particular characteristics.

I started using the Silk’n Flash&Go at the beginning of July. As suggested, I have used it every two weeks and saw a reduction in both the amount of hair that did grow back and its coarseness after just two treatments. In other words – the hair grew back sparsely and the hair that did grow back was significantly finer. After the third treatment, I am seeing large “bald spots” where hair has stopped growing back already.  I feel virtually no discomfort from using the device. Some people have described a sensation similar to having a rubber band snapped against their skin, which I did experience with the laser hair removal at the medi-spa. I also did not experience any post treatment burning or redness, despite having what I consider fairly sensitive skin.

I have not yet seen enough reduction of hair to completely skip shaving or to bare it all, but hope to be there by next summer.  If you can’t tell from my review so far, I am a HUGE fan of the Silk’n Flash&Go and would not hesitate to recommend it to my family and friends.  My recommendation would be to grab one now and start using it so that you can be hair-free by bikini season next summer. Starting at under $200, the device costs roughly what one or two laser hair removal sessions would cost and you would be left still needing more.


Cost – far less than what you would pay for hair removal at a medi-spa.

Privacy – you can do it yourself in the privacy of your own home.  Especially nice when treating your bikini area!

Convenience – no need to let hair grow out between treatments. You are instructed to shave before you treat, so no hairy in-between times like with waxing.

Painless – especially when compared to waxing. Ouchie!!

Versatile – you can use Silk’n Flash&Go on your whole body.

Save even more by using  coupon code EXTRATWENTY for an additional 20% off until September 30th, 2014!

Vist the Silk’n website!

Like the Silk’n Facebook page!

Follow Silk’n on Twitter!

Check out the Silk’n Pinterest page!

TONI&GUY® Hair Products at Walgreens

When I was younger, I had stick straight hair.  I could basically get out of the shower, comb out my tangles, let my hair air dry and it would be perfect. (Of course, I wanted nothing more than the head of tight curls my cousins were born with. Figures, right?)   Then I got pregnant with LJ and something changed.  At first it was great – with those prenatal vitamins my hair was thicker and stronger than it had ever been.  After LJ came along, I went through the usual hair loss which was actually pretty minor compared with what I was expecting.  But when LJ was around one, I noticed something odd.

My hair was no longer straight.  No, I didn’t suddenly have the head of curls I had always wanted.  It was more like my hair had bends in it.  It was straight on top and then did a half-hearted attempt at a wave around ear level and then just flipped whichever way it felt like it at the ends.  It looked like a mess.  And so began my need to do something to my hair everyday – either use a curling iron to try and make the most out of those lame curls or a straightening iron to smoosh them into submission.

Over the years, I’ve tried all kinds of products to make this whole process easier and (hopefully) less damaging.  Some of the products worked wonderfully but cost me a small fortune.  Some did not work at all, but still cost me a small fortune.  You can bet that when I finally found products I liked, I stuck with them!  I’ve found that TONI&GUY® products not only work well with my hair, when I buy them at Walgreens, they don’t cost me a small fortune!

Find out where you can get TONI&GUY® products at a Walgreens near you…

If I am going to be straightening my hair, TONI&GUY® Prep Heat Protection Mist helps me get the smooth and frizz-free look I am trying for without frying my hair.  I usually spray it on my hair while it is damp and use an iron designed to dry and straighten hair at the same time to make things go a little more quickly.toni & guy heat

If I’m in a curling mood, I’ve found that the TONI&GUY® Casual Forming Spray Gel gives the right amount of hold without making my hair stiff or sticky.

toni & guy spray gel


Walgreens carries the whole TONI&GUY® Casual line which gives you the freedom to create the exact look you want. 

This post was made possible thanks to a sponsored partnership with Global Influence.

Is an Eye Exam Up Part of Your Back to School Routine? #AOA #MC


I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central for the American Optometric Association. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

I got my first pair of glasses at age 5.  My eyes were bad enough that I could see a significant difference once I put them on.  Who knows how long I had been in need of corrective lenses – one doctor joked that I was probably born nearsighted. As I grew, my eyes continued to change and I spent a lot of time in the optometrist’s chair. At one point, my eyes were changing fast enough to need adjustments every six months.  Luckily, they slowed down eventually and now I am in maintenance mode, monitoring any changes and counting down until I will need reading glasses.


Knowing my history, we’ve had LJ see an optometrist every year since he was 4.  So far, he seems to have inherited Jay’s peepers rather than mine (thank goodness!!) but we know how important it is to keep an eye on him (pun intended) as a gradual change can be hard for a child to notice. With technology use by children on the rise, children may be experiencing side effects such as burning eyes, headaches, blurry vision, as well as head and neck pain.

Download the PDF file .

83% of children from ages 10 to 17 estimate that they use electronic devices for three or more hours each day. Optometrists are  growing increasingly concerned about the kinds of light everyday electronic devices give off – high-energy, short-wavelength blue light – and how those rays might affect and even age the eyes. When it comes to protecting eyes and vision from digital eye strain, optometrists recommend taking frequent visual breaks.  Children should make sure they practice the 20-20-20 rule: when using technology or doing near work, take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away.

To help prevent or reduce eye and vision problems associated with digital eye strain and exposure to blue light, the AOA recommends:

Checking the height and position of the device. Computer screens should be four to five inches below eye level and 20 to 28 inches away from the eyes. Digital devices should be held a safe distance away from eyes and slightly below eye level.

Checking for glare on the screen. Windows or other light sources should not be directly visible when sitting in front of a computer monitor. If this happens, turn the desk or computer to prevent glare on the screen. Also consider adjusting the brightness of the screen on your digital device or changing its background color.

Reducing the amount of lighting in the room to match the computer screen. A lower-wattage light can be substituted for a bright overhead light or a dimmer switch may be installed to give flexible control of room lighting.

Adjusting font size. Increase the size of text on the screen of the device to make it easier on your eyes when reading.

Keep blinking. Frequent blinking reduces the chances for developing dry eye by keeping the
front surface of the eye moist.

An eye exam by a professional eye doctor such as an optometrist or ophthalmologist is the best way to detect any eye issues in your child.  Back to school time is the perfect tie to schedule a check up and have your child evaluated.

For more information, check out these sites:

AOA website:
AOA Twitter:
AOA Facebook:

Protect Your Eyes from Long Term Damage #MC

I wrote this review while participating in an Influencer campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. and received a promotional item from Mom Central to thank me for participating.

Protect Your Eyes From UV Damage

I’ve been in corrective lenses of one type or another since I was 5 years old.  With all of the time I had spent in the eye doctor’s office, I thought I knew quite a bit about eyes and eye health.  Then, I spent a summer working with my sister-in-law at a local eyeglasses store and realized how much I still didn’t know.

Part of my job was to help customers pick out frames, glasses lenses, and contact lenses that met their individualized needs. In order to do a good job, I started learning as much as I could about the different lenses and options we offered.  I was particularly interested in the information we had about the damage UV rays can do to your eyes.

I think most people are aware of the damage that UV rays can do to your skin, but very few are aware of what harm they can cause your eyes.  Here are a few things you need to know:

UV eye damage is cumulative

Basically, this means that even if you are just being exposed to a little bit of UV radiation each day, the effects can build up and result in eye damage later in life.  Since there really isn’t any way to know how much is too much exposure, minimizing it every day is your best bet.

UV eye damage is irreversible

While the effects of continued UV exposure may not be apparent for years, once the damage is done – it’s done.  There’s no going back.

Children are at particularly high risk of damage.

Because children have larger pupil, typically have clearer lenses, and often go without eye protection, they can be exposed to a significant amount of UV radiation by the age of 18.

Damage can occur even without exposure to direct light.

UV rays reflected off of surfaces such as  snow, water, and even grass and soil can cause damage as can UV rays that sneak through light cloud cover.

Sunglasses alone may not provide enough protection.

UV rays can sneak around the edges of most sunglasses as the sides, top, and bottom may not fully shield eyes.  Hats offer no protectionfrom rays bouncing up from the ground.

Some contact lenses offer UV protection.

Not all contact lenses offer UV protection, and, of those that do, not all provide similar absorption levels. ACUVUE® is the only major brand of contact lenses which blocks approximately 97%of UV-B and 81% of UV-A rays as standard across the entire range of its products.  Now, UV contact lenses are not a replacement for other precautions, but another layer of protection that can be added to precaustions a person is already taking, like sunglasses.

For more information on the effects of UV rays on the eyes and what can be done to protect yourself, check out Fast Facts for Your Health: The Sun & Your Eyes: What You Need to Know” on the ACUVUE® Brand website.