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Hair Care Regimen For Color-Treated Hair

Hair Care

I figured there isn’t a better time than now to start taking care of my hair! I want to have long, luscious locks for our wedding and thought 9 months prior would be a good time frame to begin prepping it. Luckily for me, my best friend and bridesmaid, Ashley Bowman, is also a top notch hair stylist and gives me the hook up on the best hair products on the market. I told her I needed her expert recommendations and she got me started on a phenomenal at-home hair care regimen.

I have blonde highlights with some brown low-lights and I am looking to go even blonder for the wedding. When you bleach your hair it can become brittle and fray at the ends, so good at-home haircare is a vital key to beautiful, healthy hair. I have started using Pureology’s Hydrate Shampoo and Conditioner for dry color-treated hair. These two product gently cleanse and moisturize my hair while protecting its color vibrancy. The conditioner has a minty, cooling sensation that I really enjoy when using it. One of the key ingredients in Hydrate is ZeroSulfate which is a color-preserving formula derived from coconut, corn and sugar. The ingredients are 100% vegan and very concentrated. The big bottles I have will last me forever!

The Pureology website has a hair consultation tool to help provide the correct products for your hair type and hair care concerns. You can visit it at http://www.pureology.com/consultation to see if Hydrate is the right collection for you. I have been using the shampoo and conditioner for about a month now and I have already noticed a difference in my hair. It feels softer to the touch, the ends are smoother without splits and my color is more vibrant and shiny.

Another product Ashley recommended to me was Redken’s pH-Bonder Post-Service Perfector. The pH-Bonder protects bonds, balances pH, and preserves fiber integrity. This product is perfect to use after getting your hair bleached or colored. You can use it once a week before shampooing your hair to help maintain your hair’s natural pH at home.  To use, apply the pH-Bonder on wet, towel-dried hair. It is best to massage it into your roots and ends and leave it on for around 10 minutes. I put a shower cap over my hair while the product is on to help it penetrate further.  Then you can rinse it out and continue to shampoo and condition your hair. This product retails for $16.00 and can be found at Ulta Beauty or other hair care retailers. It is an affordably priced product to help maintain your hair’s pH and helps keep your color longer.

The last product I use that I am in love with is Loreal Professional’s Inoa Care Masque. The masque smells absolutely amazing and does wonders for my hair. The protective formula both nourishes and protects my color-treated hair and leaves it feeling silky smooth. The argan oil and green tea extract are gentle ingredients that help care for my hair. I like to use this product once a week to help protect my color. I brush the masque into my dry hair with a paddle brush and then braid my hair so it is out of my face. I like to keep this product on for at least an hour and most of the time sleep in it overnight and wash it out in the morning when I wake up.

I tend to spend more time, energy and money on my skin care regimen than I do my hair care but both are vital aspects to looking flawless on my wedding day and every day for that matter!

xoo,

Nicole Christiana

The Best Face Mask on the Planet

Black Mask

With a wedding coming up in 281 days (whose counting), I want to get my skin prepped and in as perfect condition as it can be. I was born with oily skin and large pores so I do anything I can to combat those two skin conditions. Luckily for me I manage an amazing day spa with the best skincare products on the market. I receive monthly microdermabrasion facials and keep up with a great skin care regimen at home.

I told my esthetician who has been treating my skin for over 8 years that I needed a product to exfoliate my skin and help give it a smoother texture. She recommended Revision Skincare’s Black Mask. I started using this mask once a week for about a month now and it is my new Holy Grail. I am overly obsessed with the way my skin feels after this treatment. It is smooth to the touch and my pores are reduced in size right afterwards.

Revision Skincare’s Black Mask deep cleans my skin as well as purifies and smooths it out. It is the perfect mask for all skin types but works especially well on oily skin with larger pores. It contains unique properties of silt derived from European freshwater lakes that both purify and soothe the skin. It also has the highest quality earth clays to help unclog pores and absorb excess oil. This is the miracle product I have been looking all over for and it has literally been in front of my eyes for over 2 years! Boy do I wish I would have found this product sooner.

Revision Skincare recommends applying a generous amount to your face while avoiding the eye area. If you tend to be oilier in your T-zone, you can apply the mask in just those areas. You want to leave the mask on for 15-30 minutes. I usually put the mask on before I brush my teeth and relax in bed watching TV with my fiancé and cat. After 15-30 minutes you’ll want to remove the mask with warm water. It is suggested that you use cotton rounds to remove any excess as the clay in the Black Mask may stain towels, sheets or pillow cases.

Once you use this Black Mask you too will be a believer! I would recommend this product to anyone and everyone. It retails for $39.00 but will last you at least 4-5 months if you are only using it once a week. To thank you for reading this blog I would love to send the first 10 people to like or comment on this post a free sample in the mail! Once you use it definitely leave feedback in the “comments” section. You will NOT be disappointed!

xoo,

Nicole Christiana

Diary-Free Challenge

So Delicious

After my juice cleanse I thought it would be a good idea to restrict my diet a little bit and ended up going dairy-free for a full month. This was a very hard challenge for me as I am a lover of cheese, cheese and more cheese. Yet, as I get older I have realized that dairy has affected my body in different ways. My throat would feel clogged after having sour cream or coffee creamers. My stomach would feel fuller and bloated after indulging on cheeses. I also felt like dairy made me a bit moody, stagnant and unmotivated. How could something I love so much affect me in such negative ways? It was time to live without it and boy was it a hard month.

You don’t realize how much you use something until it is taken away from you. I would consume dairy on a daily basis and sometimes without even knowing. I could no longer use my Natural Bliss Vanilla Flavored creamer from Coffee-mate. I couldn’t add a splash of milk to my eggs before I scrambled them or sprinkle grated cheese on the top of them. I couldn’t have salads with ranch, thousand island or Caesar dressing. I noticed when going out to eat at Mexican, American, Italian and even Japanese restaurants I had to customize my order.

When I told friends and family that I was going dairy-free a lot of people recommended using Almond Milk as a substitute. Unfortunately for me I am not a huge fan of almond milk or almond butter. I didn’t know what I was going to do if I suddenly had a craving for ice cream or couldn’t drink my coffee black and then I stumbled upon the brand So Delicious (. The name says it all! I used a lot of their coconut milk products as well as their cashew milk ice cream. I don’t think I will ever go back to normal ice cream again!

So Delicious’ website shows all of the products they offer and they have a tab for Dairy-Free recipes. It was a very helpful tool when I was struggling trying to figure out what I was going to make for breakfast, lunch or dinner (http://sodeliciousdairyfree.com/thrive/recipes/ ). The website also had a tab for coupons and I would print them out to save on my favorite products. I am a total bargain shopper and love getting all the deals I can.

The first week going dairy-free was by far the hardest. When going out to eat I would have to customize my order or ask if they had a dairy substitute. I did have a salad with ranch in the beginning and completely forgot that ranch was dairy. It took some getting used to and was quite a challenge. During the second and third week I noticed I had more energy and making healthier food choices were coming easier to me. I didn’t crave cheese as much and was beginning to drink my coffee black or with coconut milk French vanilla creamer. By the last month I had the dairy-free life down.

I ended up losing 2 pounds which I will contribute to cutting out dairy. I have since kept the weight off from my juice cleanse and my dairy-free month! I now have 14 pounds that I want to lose before the wedding and have begun to workout with my friend and bridesmaid, Ashley Bowman. If you have a recommendation for a challenge you would like me to try please send it my way! I am up for a new challenge and love trying out new things.

xoo,

Nicole Christiana

Bikram Hot Yoga

Yoga

This year I made a promise to myself to live outside of my comfort zone, try new things and begin doing more activities and hobbies that make me happy. Too often I find myself stuck in my regular routine because, well, I’m comfortable. That word; comfortable, is something that scares me. I don’t want to live a comfortable life, I want an AMAZING life. What better way to live an amazing life than to test myself mentally, physically and emotionally!

My first adventure was to try a month of Hot Yoga. Luckily for me, my girlfriend, Kayla wanted to join me. We found a Groupon deal for Bikram Yoga in Livermore, CA and decided to try it out. I’m also on a mission to lose 16 pounds before my wedding date, January 5th 2018. I figured testing out new and fun workout routines would be a great place to start. Getting a workout in a room that is kept anywhere from 90 – 104 degrees and 40% humidity would be a good place to begin my weight loss journey.

To be perfectly honest I was a bit hesitant to begin this journey. I’ve taken about 15-20 yoga classes in my lifetime so I would definitely consider myself a beginner. I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I walked into my first Bikram Hot Yoga class and boy was I in for a surprise. The women at the front desk who greeted Kayla and I was very friendly. She asked if I have taken Bikram Hot Yoga before and let me know to go at my own pace and to try to stay in the room no matter how hard or hot it may get.

The class was about to begin and I realized I stuck out like a sore thumb. I was dressed in long, black Lululemon yoga pants, a sports bra and t-shirt while everyone else around me was in shorts and a sports bra. I didn’t realize at the time that the less clothes you were wearing the better. The room was filled with men and women of all ages and ethnicities. I laid down my yoga mat and towel and began to do some stretching before the instructor walked in. She had a great body and a voice that could collect the entire room’s attention. She was very vocal and asked if anyone was taking the class for the first time. I instantly raised my hand to show I was a “virgin” to Bikram Hot Yoga and noticed my hand was the only one up in the room. She asked for my name and I knew then she was going to be keeping an eye on me during the class.

To get started you do a breathing exercise to open up your lungs and fill them with oxygen. Everyone is the class knew what they were doing besides me. You are supposed to grip your fingers together under your chin and begin lifting your arms while inhaling. Then as you exhale you push your head back and push out all the oxygen you had just sucked in. At this point the room is already very hot and I was beginning to sweat after the very first pose. The other people participating in the class knew the positions before the instructor would tell us what to do and then I realized that Bikram Yoga has the same structure and there are the same series of 26 poses in each 90 minute class.

We went through poses like Half Moon, Eagle, Standing Bow and Triangle. I watched the other people in awe as they bended, flexed and moved through each pose so effortlessly. The flexibility in that classroom was outstanding and made me realize why I was putting myself in this position in the first place. It was a chance to test myself and try out something new. I knew I wasn’t going to get the hang of it after just one class but I knew I had to try. I was trying my hardest to remain in each pose and give this first class my undivided attention. The instructor was very loud and demanding, quite different from any other yoga class I have been to. She walked around the room and spoke with such power. If she told you to go deeper, you were going to go deeper into that pose. “Let it go, let it flow” is what she said throughout the class. I considered that my mantra for the night!

We moved through all the poses quite fast and my heart was beating out of the chest. I was dripping in sweat and dying for water. The class is supposed to move as a whole and break together for water at the same time. I tried my hardest to keep my composure and not pass out even though I felt like I was going to about 3-4 times different times in class. I continued to remind myself to breath and that I was going to make it through. That class was like nothing I have ever experienced before but was very refreshing. We ended with another breathing exercise and then I laid on my yoga mat thinking I was dying. The employees brought in cold, Eucalyptus towels and I put it over my face and began coming back to life. I walked out of that class with an experience that I will never forget. Once I walked outside and had the wind hit my body I had a surge of energy run through my body. I left with a sense of accomplishment and ended the night on a great, positive note!

#bikram #hotyoga #newexperiences #challenges #workout

Pressed Juicery Cleanse

Pressed Juicery

I am the type of person that is an all or nothing kind of girl. Lately I have been eating and drinking whatever I please. I wasn’t worried about calories, sugar, sodium or anything for that matter. Some of my days included doughnuts, In-N-Out Burger, steak and fries. I ate whatever I wanted and didn’t think twice about it. I fell off the healthy bandwagon and boy did I fall hard.

I recently went on a vacation down to LA to visit my sister and attend the Twenty One Pilots concert. In typical Nicole fashion I planned my entire vacation around the food I would be eating. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day so I made sure to eat at a ton of my favorite places. My mom, sister and I went to Café Cup in Huntington Beach and I ordered a veggie omelette and freshly baked cinnamon roll. My sister ordered the Huevos Rancheros and I helped her with a bite or two or three. The next morning we ate at Nat’s Early Bite Coffee Shop in Sherman Oaks and I splurged on a Ribeye steak and eggs breakfast with coffee cake and about 4 refills of freshly brewed coffee. My last day visiting we went to Nick’s Manhattan Beach for their phenomenal chicken and waffles breakfast with bacon crumbles and gravy on the side.

I completely indulged during my vacation so it was no surprise when I got home I was feeling very sluggish and extra fluffy. I did the thing I’ve been dreading to do and stepped on the scale! To my dismay I saw a weight that was the heaviest I have been in over 9 years and realized I needed to make a change. I needed to get back on that healthy bandwagon and do it fast. My first thought was that I should cleanse my body of all the toxins, fats and sugars I had been putting into it for the past 3 months straight. I did some research and found a juice cleanse in my area that was running a special, Pressed Juicery.

I decided that Pressed Juicery was going to be the first juice cleanse that I participated in and I was going to do the Cleanse 1: For the First Timer. This cleanse is the one that is recommended if you are new to juice cleansing, like myself. I decided on doing the juice cleanse for a full 3 days to hopefully notice a difference. This juice cleanse includes 6 juices a day that are to be drank every 2 hours from the time you wake up and have your first juice. Pressed Juicery has 3 different cleanse options they consider beginner, intermediate and advanced.

Cleanse 1: The first juice you have is a Vanilla Almond drink that helps you start your day with protein. It has almonds, dates, vanilla bean and sea salt and is 420 calories. It tasted fairly good; pretty basic but a nice simple flavor to begin your morning with. The second juice is Greens 2 and is filled with a bunk of leafy greens and vitamins. It has kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, cucumber, celery, apple and lemon and is 140 calories. I really liked the taste of this drink and thought it was the perfect blend to have around 9:30 am – 10:00 am time frame. The third juice is Roots 2 and is a nutritious boost to help you continue throughout your day. It has carrot, kale, romaine, spinach, parsley, apple, lemon and ginger and is 160 calories. This juice definitely has a kick to it and is the one I drank around lunch time. The forth juice is Citrus 2 and my all-time favorite one. It has pineapple, apple, lemon and mint and is 240 calories. Pressed Juicery says this is a refreshing juice loaded with antioxidants and wake you from your afternoon slump. I could not agree more! It is the perfect taste to wake you up right when you need it the most. The fifth juice is Greens 3 and is similar to Greens 2 with ginger added. Greens 2 has kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, cucumber, celery, apple, lemon and ginger and is 140 calories. The last and final juice is Chocolate Almond and is a good way to end the night with a sweeter taste. The juice has almonds, dates, cacao and sea salt and is 420 calories.

I was feeling very determined on my first day of the cleanse and woke up ready to begin! I had a pretty low key work week and no outings planned once I got off of work. I made it through my work day without any problems. Around 5:00 pm I started to feel pretty tired. I decided to take a nap when I got home from work and slept for about two hours. Once I woke up I was ready for my last juice of the day. I had a little headache on Day 1 and think it was due to cutting out coffee. I typically drink two cups of coffee a day.  I drank Aloe water right before bed and also added a supplement called Cleanse and Lean that I took at night. On Day 2 I woke up hungry and ready for my first juice. I decided to weight myself and noticed I was down 3 pounds after just one day. It definitely got my motivated to continue the cleanse. I had a busier day at work with meetings and the day flew by. By the time I got home I was exhausted and quite hungry. I took another 2 hour nap and once I woke up I drank the last juice of the day while watching a movie. I woke up on Day 3 and instantly ran to the bathroom to weight myself… I was down another 3 pounds. I had lost 6 pounds in 2 days and was over the moon. Day 3 was the hardest for me. I was used to drinking nothing but juice but was so excited to wake up the next day and have real food. After work on Day 3 I did a 90 minute Bikram Hot Yoga class for the first time in my life. That was not the smartest idea considering I’ve only had juices and water for the last 3 days but wanted to finish off my cleanse with a bang!

Honestly, I woke up the next morning feeling like a thousand bucks! I felt well rested and my body felt energized. The Pressed Juicery Cleanse definitely gave my body the kick start it needed to start eating healthy again. I lost a total of 8 pounds in the three days of cleansing. Pressed Juicery claims that the juice cleanse will reset your taste-buds and I could not agree more. I was craving fruits and vegetables and actually wanted to have another juice for breakfast. It was a nice fresh start for my body and my mind and I would highly recommend giving this cleanse a try! They have the 3-day cleanse available for $129 at Pressed Juicery Cleanse.

#pressedjuicery #coldpressed #cleanse #cleanse1 #letstalkjuice

New Beginnings

I have always been interested in beginning a blog but I let the fear of the unknown get the best of me. Would it do well? Would people read it? Who would want to know what I am up to? Then I woke up one day and decided to take the risk! Why not try to do something I am passionate about and might help positively influence others. I try my best to have a positive outlook and to spread that positivity to the people I am surrounded by. Life is a beautiful thing and it shouldn’t be taken for granted.

I considered my outlook on life and all things for that matter to be very black or white, cut and dry, and no room for grey. I am the type of person who is an ALL or NOTHING kind of girl and thought that this will be the year to change all of that. I do not have to live life from one extreme to the next. I want a life of consistency, happiness, fulfillment and meaning.

 

I have found myself over the past year and a half and have had so many blessings flow in. I received a promotion at my work and become the spa manager. I got engaged to the love of my life after dating for 9 years. I was able to pay off some very stressful credit card debt. I formed tighter bonds with my friends and I made new friendships along the way.

 

I think in your late twenties you begin to question who you are and what you are doing with your life. So I have decided to take charge of my life and begin doing the things that make me the happiest as well as doing the things that may scare me and get me out of my comfort zone. It is never too late to begin something new, find a new hobby and experience all life has to offer.

 

This is my new beginning and I cannot wait to share my experiences with all of you!