Oo-la-la, Lovin’ this Coconut Oil Hair Mask

I was excited to received and try out First Botany Cosmeceuticals Coconut Oil Hair Mask for Damaged & Dry Hair as I recently highlighted and dyed portions of my hair which took a toll on my hair. I was concerned that this hair mask would be heavy on my hair or make it appear greasy. I applied it in the shower after shampooing, and left it in for about 5 minutes. After I dried my hair, I was very pleasantly surprised that my hair appeared much smoother and healthier. It was not weighed down or greasy.

The product itself smells amazing!! It has a very authentic coconut smell without being sicky, sweet like some coconut scented products. I loved that the coconut scent stayed in my hair and I could smell hints of it from my hair throughout the day after using this hair mask. It made my hair wonderfully soft!

It is recommended to use 1-2 times per week. I doubt it will last you for 3 years, but it does have a shelf life of about that. I have used it twice so far and it has made a noticeable difference in my hair in both appearance and texture. Overall, I love this product! I will definitely continue to use it. I would recommend it to friends or anyone who has dry or damaged hair. I think it would make a great replacement for conditioner and if you choose, you can also use it as a leave-in conditioner.

My only complaint with this product was that I would have never been able to open it on my own because the cap appeared to have been sealed to the inner foil/plastic foil lining. Luckily, I was able to get my husband to open it; he only struggled for a moment and then promptly kicked it up a notch and “he-man’d” it open.

Disclaimer: I received First Botany Cosmeceuticals Coconut Oil Hair Mask for Damaged & Dry Hair for free in exchange for my honest, and unbiased review. All opinions are my own. I was not compensated in any other way.


Progress and Challenges in Teaching Lately

I wasn’t sure at the outset, but yesterday turned out to be a great day! I think part of it was remembering to take everything in stride. Shortly after I woke up, my husband informed me that he was taking off with his dad to run a bunch of errands. Sometimes when that happens, and especially on short notice, I feel a bit abandoned and lonely. I was able to keep things in perspective at that time and realize that Steve was just awake and ready to go right off. There were a lot of things on his list of things he wanted to go do and get done and I just accepted it at that.

While he was gone, I stayed busy feeding the dogs, checking out some of the products I received recently, and writing reviews. I bought some jerky type dog treats recently; they were on sale for only $1 (score!). I’ve been using them to work with Gizmo to try to hold her attention and get her to listen and not bark when someone comes home and into the house. It has been working a bit, and certainly better than nothing. Although sometimes she still runs off and up the stairs but before she is started up the steps, I am usually able to get her to turn around.

I have also started to work with Gizmo on learning to “shake”. I am using shaping to try to teach her, which means for any approximation of the desired behavior, she gets a treat. Luckily the treats that I got are easy to break up into smaller pieces. At first she seemed really puzzled as to why I was grabbing her paw but she allowed it. Now she seems to be understanding that I want to wiggle her paw after I pick it up so she is relaxing the muscles in her leg when I pick up her paw, although she still doesn’t seem to quite understand what I am doing. I don’t think she really cares much at this point because she trusts me and I am feeding her treats every time.

I started working on getting Gizmo to “shake” because for this semester’s final project in psychology, I asked my students to address behavior change by applying one of the strategies related to conditioning. I thought that this would be slightly challenging but also easy and maybe even exciting at the same time. I asked that they develop a brief proposal simply explaining what behavior (their own, a child’s, sibling’s, pet’s, etc) that they would like to try to change and why. Then they would try to move forward with their plan and simply write a few brief journal entries about what they did and the progress that they made.

There are only 2 weeks left of class. I think that many of the students haven’t started their project yet, some haven’t chosen a topic for their proposal despite it being a required assignment with a deadline that has already past, and others are scrapping their idea and going back to the drawing board. I find that many of my students are so afraid of making mistakes or performing less than perfectly that they have a hard time getting started. This week, I tried to reassure them that it was not about perfection or whether or not the behavior actually changed but that they made the attempt each time and documented their method and results. I hope that that will be enough to help them along.

I hope that my students at least attempt the project and that I don’t have to give a zero to anyone. If not, I guess this is one more thing that I will have to do my best to “take in stride”. It is not my choice on whether or not to complete the project and I have done what I can to support and encourage all of my students, the rest is really up to them

I think my biggest fear is that some won’t do it, and then will be unhappy when they receive an appropriate grade, and then take it out on me in a course survey or online review site. I hope that that sort of thing gets easier to accept. I aim to move forward and make each semester’s course better than the previous one. I am very aware that I am still learning so much about teaching and it is difficult for me to accept that I am so far less than perfect as an instructor. Everything that seems so easy in theory and on paper with it, I am finding is much more difficult to apply. Simply capturing students’ attention and maintaining their focus can be so challenging, especially with the distraction of cell phones.

I guess I could look at it as, although things are not perfect, there has been progress.

Take Small Steps to Make Your Life a Little More Stress-Free

There have been a few times when the battery has run low on my phone and I don’t have time or the ability to be tied to a wall outlet (and sometimes I don’t have a charging cable which is the worse). When this happens, I feel anxious because my line of communication with my family isn’t available to me and the other way around, my husband isn’t able to contact me and his anxiety goes up. Not to mention the shame that I feel because I should have remembered to charge my phone earlier and I’m disappointed that (sometimes) this leads to a state of hyperarousal for us both. Other times, I am afraid that if something happens with my car like a breakdown or accident that I won’t be able to contact anyone without relying on a stranger which is not a good feeling, especially when I am already feeling afraid and vulnerable in those types of situations. Lately, I have been able to avoid this stress (Thank you so much 1 by One!!!) with the help of this 10,000 mAh Portable Charger with Dual USB Ports from 1 by One

Disclaimer: I received this 1 by One 10,000 mAH Portable Charger with Dual USB Ports for free in exchange for my honest, and unbiased review. All opinions are my own. I did not receive any other compensation.

I’ve been using this portable charger for nearly a week now and it is awesome! I love how it is helping me keep all of my devices charged when I’m on the go. It is also helping me and my husband to have peace of mind as well for those times when I’ve forgotten to charge my phone and I’m not able to have access (or convenient access) to a wall outlet. It is also really nice that it has 2 ports to charge 2 different devices simultaneously, not to mention a good amount of power to keep up!

This Compact External Battery Power Bank has an LCD Display which displays the power bank’s battery level. When you plug devices into the power bank, it also and tells you that power is going out so you’re aren’t left guessing on whether or not your device is charging (this can be helpful to know when you are charging a device such as a bluetooth headset that does not have an indicator light).

It is equipped with a power button. A quick press will turn the power bank on and light up the blue LCD screen. After a few seconds, the screen will dim. When you are ready to turn off the device just press and hold down the power button for a moment.

Here are some other great features and my experience with them:

Ultra-High Capacity – Charges an iPad Air almost once, an Galaxy S6 2.5 times, an iPhone 6 3.5 times and other smartphones multiple times.

–I was able to charge my iPad Mini, and my iPhone 6s twice and I still had some power left in this power bank!!

Dual USB Outputs – 2 USB ports support fast charging for 2 devices at the same time (5V / 2.1A and 5V / 1A), delivering the fastest possible charge up to 2.1 amps. Seriously fast! I charged my iPhone 6s from 1% to 100% in a little under 2 hours!

Compact & Portable – 5.71 x 2.83 x 0.57in, 0.51lb. Slim and sleek enough to hold in your hand and perfect for outdoors and on the go, keep your devices running whenever and wherever you are.

–It’s only slightly larger than my iPhone 6s. It could easily fit in your purse, or pocket. It would be great to bring to the beach, boat, bbq, and other outdoor events! I’m sure this one will get even more use this summer when we are spending more and more time enjoying the beautiful weather outside.

Stylish Design – Classic Pattern makes the power bank a personalized and perfect complement to your smartphones, and the LCD display ensures easy check and accurate battery capacity.

–I chose black, but this power bank is also available in white.

Ultra-Safe Protection – Sophisticated protection ICs effectively prevent overcharge, overcurrent and short circuits, ensuring complete reliability.

–Obviously, this is super important because we want to keep our devices running well for a long time to come! This feature is much appreciated!!

The only downside that I found was that it didn’t come in a twin pack; Steve is already asking he is going to get one. I would highly recommend this product to anyone who uses most any electronic device that needs to be charged. I think this would also be especially helpful for people who spend a lot of time on the road or outdoors for work or play. I also think this would make a great purchase or gift for people with anxiety, PTSD, or other medical concerns to provide peace of mind as many really rely on technology, especially smartphones to help stay connected for care and support.

Remembering to Laugh and Play

With the warmer weather, I am starting to see a drop in attendance in some of my classes. For some, I suspect that “senioritis” is kicking in. I also encountered an instance of copied assignments which was really disappointing. I spent thursday night addressing that during class which wasn’t fun. Nor was I thrilled with the unexpected and a bit tense visit by a frustrated parent who wanted to get more information on the story from me which I had to respectfully decline to disclose any information (those types of situations are never fun). I wonder if the copying issue bothers other instructors as much as it bothers me… Needless to say, I am thankful that I have vacation next week, before we enter the homestretch of the spring semester.

This weekend we will be celebrating my niece’s birthday, so yesterday my husband and I spent some time in the toy aisles at Walmart. After carefully reviewing all of the toys that we thought Samantha would like, we decided on FurReal Friends Jumpin’ J.J., a super cute, feisty, little, semi-realistic toy pug. Samantha is turning 5 and she loves to hold and sit with my in-laws’ pappillon much of the time when she visits. Autumn is very good and lays on the futon as Samantha piles her high with blankets and pillows. Samantha then proceeds to draw the dog, all the while insisting that Autumn doesn’t move. I think J.J. will give Samantha another option and give Autumn a break.

I love being an Aunt and spending time with my nieces and nephews. And I really love buying them a new toy and seeing their reactions. Seeing such joy on a child’s face fills my happiness bucket. We got FurReal Friends Bouncy, my happy to see me puppy, for Renee one year. It was a big hit and has held up well over time. We usually get one of the favorite toys for my niece Renee, and that always feels good to know that she really loves what we thoughtfully chose for her. I hope that J.J. is just as loved.


The other thing that I love about getting such cutesy toys is that my husband will usually carry them to the cash register. Steve is such a gentleman and takes pride in taking care of his wife and doing certain things like carrying the bags after checking out at the store (or cleaning my car off in the winter, doing all of the shoveling, carrying the groceries in when I get home from the store, etc.) The funny thing is Steve is a big guy, a Marine Corps Veteran with about 13 tattoos so his image doesn’t exactly project “cutesy toy-lover”. And here he is carrying this little pug (set off by motion) yipping, jumping, burping and farting the whole way across Walmart to the checkout. It makes me giggle lots!

After we got home, I decided to see what our pups would think about J.J. They were both very curious.

Gizmo sniffed very hard LoL She gently gripped his front paw with her little front teeth almost as if to question “what is this exactly?” Gizmo is such a peculiar dog sometimes.

I think it’s safe to say that Steve is really enjoying spending time with the kiddos too and picking up some toys to play with them too. After we spent some time looking at all of the different Nerf and similar options, we picked up several Nerf Guns and extra foam ammo to play with. Of course, after we got home, unpackaging commenced and we had to put them through a test run. Steve and I had a blast popping each other with Nerf darts. My Nerf gun was very accurate and put a little oomph behind the foam. It’s been awhile since I laughed that much! It was great!

Yesterday, Owen came over for his visit and the 3 of us played outside running around with some Nerf Guns for awhile. At 8, Owen has experienced more sadness and trauma than any young kid should have to, so it was nice to see him be able to just focus on being an 8 year old kid for those moments. There were only signs of joy on his face.

In those moments, Steve really enjoyed playing with the Nerf Guns too and he was already talking about which kind we should get more of or if we should get another kind that we didn’t have yet. (I suppose, Nerf Guns are far cheaper than real ones, right?!) All of the fun and laughs that were had were definitely worth it!!!

The Power of Psychology and Therapy can help ANYONE

Although I’ve spent a lot of time studying psychology, and working in human services and mental health, I still find it difficult working on certain things and asking for help. For years, I encouraged parents and grandparents to seek help for their own sake and most of all for their children. I felt that then as an advocate and now as a teacher, I should be able to have everything together as if knowledge is enough power.

I don’t feel that anyone should feel ashamed for attending therapy or asking for help, but sometimes, I don’t always see myself in that category for some reason. I tend to downplay some of the things that I have experienced in life; some of which are almost too scary to talk about online for fear of being judged (read: or perhaps too scary to talk about right now). I think it may be about time to reread that book “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown…

At any rate, I teach psychology and yes, I also attend therapy in the form of family therapy/marriage counseling and I recently started attending a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy group with the veterans. The CBT group comes with a binder and homework. This week’s homework was on Identifying Automatic Thoughts. This means learning to identify that those thoughts really are automatic for us by separating the situations, moods, and thoughts involved so that we can learn to be more in control of our moods.

There are 3 levels of Cognitions. Automatic thoughts, intermediate beliefs, and core beliefs.

Some examples of Automatic Thoughts:

I can’t do anything right.

I’ll probably get fired.

I’ll never be successful.

Intermediate Beliefs (Internalized rules, messages or expectations in attempt to make sense of the world. The “rules of the road” about self and others.)

Heh, you saw some of mine above right?! It’s great, and I am supportive of others seeking help, but I’m not sure that it is okay for me to identify as someone who also needs help at times…

Core Beliefs: Very entrenched and rigid beliefs about oneself, absolute truths about how the world works, these are “internalized messages”.

ie: I’m incompetent


I’ve found that identifying these parts and separating them out helps me to find the flaws in these automatic thoughts as I often worry about getting in trouble, or whether or not I’ll be successful. Truth is, I know I’m not incompetent but it doesn’t always stop some of these automatic thoughts from flowing.

I tend to also have a lot of automatic thoughts around the house (My husband and I are temporarily living with my in-laws. I am finding that it can be extremely challenging living with another family and experiencing their ways of family life, habits, behaviors, etc that are far different than the way that I grew up.)

Another example that was given in our homework showed how there can be differing reactions to the same event:

Activating Event = Co-Worker walks by (in this case I’m thinking of my in-laws) without saying “Hi” or even acknowledging you


“How dare he ignore me!!!” – Annoyed

“I wonder why he doesn’t like me anymore?” – Depressed

“I wonder what did I do?” – Anxious

“Hmmm… what’s that all about?” – Puzzled

“What a space cadet!” – Amused

With this type of scenario, I tend to experience the depressed and anxious reactions, separately or together. I am also finding that some of these things are a bit deeper having experienced certain things in the past that these events trigger and take me back to. I hope that doing some of this work will help me to practice and find more ways to get rid of or manage some of these automatic thoughts better and ultimately help me to be more present and successful. Some of my goals are to be gain greater mental clarity and presence so that I can be a more caring, courageous, and compassionate caregiver, wife, and family member. I also hope to grow my confidence in myself and in teaching. (Yes, I have lofty goals!)

Armored Protection

It feels good to feel safe (although that seems obvious right?). I’ve learned over the years that those that don’t feel safe and are scared often do scary things. The same goes for animals too. Although, people and animals that do feel safe are able to relax, have fun, and enjoy life more. This idea takes me to two rather different subjects on armor – cell phones and armadillos.

Cell Phones: I was able to review an armored style ESR iPhone 6/6s case from the Hero Alliance Series. It comes in several color options; I chose Ninja_Everlasting Black. My husband really liked the design of the case so he is now using it on his iPhone 6s (I had a feeling he would love it since the design is reminiscent of Batman.)

Disclaimer: I received this ESR iPhone 6/6s case from the Hero Alliance Series for free for my honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own. I was not compensated in any other way.

Here is what I found:

  • This Heavy Duty Case offers a Dual layer design with all around protection. It also comes with a nice tempered glass screen protector.
  •   The removable front cover frame is held on with 8 clips so your phone will stay in and be well-protected by the case when you accidentally drop it. It also has a thoughtful, special slanted designed cutout for the home button to easily enable you to use touch ID with this case one. (No hassle or issues!)
  • The Dual Layer Design offers rugged protection through an impact buffering soft internal layer and a shock absorbent metal flex layer as well as a protective hard back shell. I really like how the hard shell has some cutouts to show off the shiny metal layer too. This adds a little bulk in the back, but if you are looking for extra protection, you can appreciate that.
  • Compatibility: Fits 4.7 inches iPhone 6 (2014) & iPhone 6s (2015); Precise cutouts enable easy access to all ports (much better than other more expensive cases I’ve used in the past which were difficult to close after you used them). The cutout out for the headphone jack is enlarged to fit larger headphones like Beats; I appreciate this thoughtful design as I had another case that I had to buy a special adapter to be able to use it with headphones.


Armadillos: They also have layers of protection to keep them safe from predators. I’ve been thinking I need to start a YouTube channel, and I should share some of those pretty sweet videos that I’ve taken of our family’s pets. So here it is, one of my first ever YouTube videos: The Running of the Armadillos, (by the way this is probably one of the coolest things I’ve seen over the years.) Feel free to subscribe if you’d like, I plan to make more random videos in the future. I’d like to eventually get ahold of a GoPro or something that may take better videos… or maybe I just need more practice and light.. anyways, the little one is Amy a 3-banded-armadillo, and Archie is the big one.

It’s funny I visited my dad recently and he met me at the edge of a door-frame with a stuffed Antelope mount that he had bought at an auction. In most homes, no one would question if it was real (LoL) but I just automatically blurted out “WHOAH!” And then about a half second later I realized my dad was standing behind it laughing…


Spring Means More Playing Outside

I was going through some of the files on my computer and I came across this lovely video of my pups. Gizmo our Chow was just a little fluffball then! Gremlin was younger too of course and they were just getting to know and love each other.

Earlier today, I spent some time outside playing with the dogs and some tennis balls. I’m so glad it has stopped raining and the ground has dried up enough so we can play without getting muddy. The lawn is starting to get green too! I can’t wait for summer! I’m looking forward to having bbqs, playing cornhole, and having fires!

There’s about another month of classes left for this semester. I won’t be teaching any courses this summer as there are limited offerings in the summer, and I don’t have enough seniority to get a spot yet. It looks like there are a lot of options for the fall though and I have some decisions to make on that…

My husband and father-in-law have put some meat in the smoker for today – pork and brisket. I hope it comes out good! It seems they put a lot of love in it, so it should. Apple wood, garlic cloves, a couple of special rubs, and homemade bbq sauce.

Colorful Lion iPhone 6/6s TPUBumper Case; Cell Phone Accessories as an Extension of Self

When I was completing coursework towards my Master’s Degree in Media Psychology, I had to complete a project analyzing mobile technology and media use by several individuals. Internet use and mobile sites were rather limited then. It’s kind of crazy to think about how much mobile technologies have advanced and how integrated they have become in our lives. Everyone seems to carry at least one cell phone now, even kids. They have also become an extension of our expression of self – our personality and style. I have been trying out different accessories for my iPhone and recently, I got a new TPUBumperCase for the iPhone 6/6s.


Disclaimer: I received this iPhone 6 Case free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own. I was not compensated in any other way.

I love the image design of this case! I was surprised that when I got it, it was actually even prettier than the image that is captured online due to the light blue metallic overlay.


The colorful lion really pops! It fits my iPhone 6s exactly. Right now, my phone feels a little naked but beautifully bedazzled because I am used to having full coverage of a multi-layered armored case. I think the feel of this one will take a little getting used to for me. This would be a nice case for someone who really likes a minimalist feel and who really wants to feel their phone but also have some protection. It also pairs well with a tempered glass type of screen protector. I think this would be a nice case to collect all of the designs too, as there are a number of attractive options.